Years ago while I was trudging along the sidewalk in crummy weather (melted snow, lots of standing water along the roads), a truck went sailing past me and completely doused me, head to toe, with cold, muddy water.
I remember that very helpless, cold, wet feeling. And I’m afraid at the moment I didn’t see the humor of it. Just imagine if it had been captured on film. We all would laugh! But I didn’t at the time.
But I did learn something that applies to the whole windshield wiper metaphor which someone brought up in a comment. What do we do when someone else covers our windshield with goop? I have a couple of ideas.
One is to move out of range. If I had kept my eye on that truck, I would have jumped the fence, anything to avoid getting soaked. I didn’t see it coming. Now here’s how you can apply this. Keep your eyes peeled. If someone is bitter and wants to pour out all her bitterness, you had better stay out of range. If you are too sympathetic, you may get infected with her bitterness. Pray for protection as she vents. Even if you are giving her good counsel and telling her to confess her own bitterness, you can still get some of it on you if you aren’t careful. Bitterness defiles many.
Another way we get gooped up is when someone feels sorry for you. This is deadly so get your guard up. It goes something like this:
“You’re pregnant again? You poor thing!”
“You’re not having company again?”
“Why don’t you ever get to take a vacation?”
You get the idea. These are snares and set-ups for trouble. Get your head down and be thankful! Don’t let other people’s (well-intentioned) remarks be a stumbling block. You may have been rejoicing in your hospitality until someone’s remark got you side tracked. Get back on track as quickly as you can.
Sometimes we willfully join in the party. Let’s say someone is bitter and sloshing around in the ditch in the mud (so to speak) and they keep slinging it at us. Rather than keeping our wits about us, we jump down with them. Now that is just plain idiotic. If someone wrongs us, we have plenty of directions from Scripture on what to do. And returning evil for evil is not one of the suggested guidelines.
If you get covered with gunk, get a nice, hot bath by means of confession. You can bet that I didn’t waste time getting home and getting out of those sopping wet clothes. I even had mud on my face! I couldn’t get in the shower fast enough. That’s how quickly we should confess our sins.