Huh? Did I say that? By Pastor David Investigate my life, O God, find ou…

Huh? Did I say that?
By Pastor David

Investigate my life, O God,
find out everything about me;
Cross-examine and test me,
get a clear picture of what I’m about;
See for yourself whether I’ve done anything wrong—
then guide me on the right path
Psalm 139:23-24 The Message

It is not too late, but I am dozing off on the couch. So I figure it is time to go to bed. I decided to check my email on my phone one last time. Scanning through the bolded unread messages, one got my attention real fast.

Clicking on it and reading, my heart immediately stopped. It pertained to a conversation I had with someone earlier that day — someone that I had unknowingly offended.

Wait, what? How did they get that from the conversation? That’s not what I said! … Is it? Well I know it’s not what I meant!

Emotions running over. Blood pressure rising. I thought I needed to fix this now! So, I immediately start to type a defensive response. I was going to “fix” this before the night was over. My finger hovered over the send button, but I could not push it down.

Perhaps we all have experienced the kind of misunderstanding I’m referring to. It feels like something out of left field. I had not intended any harm and did not realize what I said was heard the way it was.

You’re having one of those average days. Then Whoop! There it is! It hits you like a freight train: the call, the text, the voicemail, the email or (worse!) in-person confrontation that you offend someone. Someone’s feelings were hurt, and your integrity and motives have been questioned.

In those situations, I often feel the need to spring into overdrive immediately. The need to “fix” is overwhelming. I’m trying to listen to the other person as I formulate my defense, but doing both at the same time is not really possible. I’m running over the words of the email, already stringing together the words of my response as I sense the pressure in the moment. I need to fix this right away!


Sometimes God wants us to pray before we respond. Taking a moment to listen for discernment and guidance, and allowing God to help cleanse us and remove that urge to respond defensively is not such a bad thing. God knows our hearts and our intentions.

I think of Psalm 139:23-24 when I’m so tempted to react in the moment. “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

During those moments following a misunderstanding where we want to fix the situation quickly, perhaps composing a hasty email or spouting off defensive words can add fuel to an already-smoldering fire.

God is our perfect peacemaker. Reach out and wait with God. God is able to help us approach conflict with grace. When we get those defensive feelings, allow God to see us through and return to the situation with understanding.

Perhaps in that particular exchange, you were right. Or, maybe you weren’t? And quite possibly there is no right or wrong. It was just a misunderstanding plain and simple.

Feelings are often situated in a gray area. While unpleasant, it’s okay to sit in a place of discomfort for a while because it’s the only way we are going to grow in empathy and understanding. Sometimes the best way to “fix it” is not to react in the moment. Embrace that discomfort. Lift a prayer and allow time for a little space and peace.

We are all imperfect people who are going to miss the mark from time to time. We will get things wrong and hurt others unintentionally. Whether we take five minutes, overnight, or even longer to pray over the situation, we are sure to respond with a clearer head and better understanding of our own heart and not respond right away.

God help my heart! Give me a discerning spirit. Give me insight into myself. Give me space. Let me respond with your peace. Amen.

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