When You’re Upset Over How Things Played Out

A wise woman once told me that when you’re gnashing at the bit to confront someone, you’re probably not the one to give the message. But if you dread the thought of delivering it, and the pressure to speak won’t relent, you’re probably the one to speak.

No one likes rejection, especially from a friend. But God warns us to not shrink back in giving a warning, even if the hearer rejects the message—and you.

Ezekiel’s Warning

When I bring an army against a country, the people of that land choose one of their own to be a watchman. When the watchman sees the enemy coming, he sounds the alarm to warn the people. Then if those who hear the alarm refuse to take action, it is their own fault if they die. They heard the alarm but ignored it, so the responsibility is theirs. If they had listened to the warning, they could have saved their lives. But if the watchman sees the enemy coming and doesn’t sound the alarm to warn the people, he is responsible for their captivity. They will die in their sins, but I will hold the watchman responsible for their deaths” (Ez. 33:2-6 NLT).

Reluctant Obedience

I picked up clues from different friends that concerned me. If my assessments were right I knew eventual harm awaited them if they continued down their chosen paths.

When praying for them and asking questions didn’t alter my friends’ lanes, my concern forced me to speak.

Both times they responded in anger. One vented to her friend who helped her see the genuine care behind my words. God opened her eyes, and she changed tracks. Our friendship remained secure.

The other stayed her course and experienced what I’d feared. She rejected me and my concern.

When things don’t turn out as I like I tend to replay them in my mind. How could I have done it better? The story of Jonah comforted me.

Jonah’s Story

God gave Jonah a strong message for Israel’s enemies. But Jonah rejected God’s assignment for Nineveh and boarded a ship headed the other way.

A terrible storm caused the sailors to draw lots to find the one responsible for their danger. The lot fell on Jonah. Jonah said he was running away from the Lord of the earth and the sea. Terrified, the sailors tried to row to land.

That didn’t work. So, per Jonah’s request, they threw him into the sea. The storm calmed.

A big fish swallowed Jonah providing him time for reflection. He vowed to obey God’s assignment, and God commanded the fish to spit him onto dry land.

Jonah’s eight-word warning, “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overthrown” brought national revival (Jonah 3:4 NIV).

When God saw how they turned from their evil ways, He did not bring destruction on them. Shouldn’t a prophet be elated over this?

“But to Jonah this seemed very wrong, and he became angry” (Jonah 4:1 NIV).

Undesired Results

I’d expressed my concerns because I wanted to spare my friends from harm, but one didn’t listen.

Jonah gave God’s warning hoping Israel’s wicked enemy wouldn’t listen. He wanted God to destroy them. But they listened, and God showed mercy.

Jonah reminded me God uses our obedience, even when it is imperfect, to accomplish His will. Like Jonah, I may not like the outcome, but I can trust God knows best.

What has God asked you to do that you’re afraid won’t turn out like you want? When we know God is leading us we can trust Him with the outcome.

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Like Jonah, I may not agree with how things turn out, but I can trust God knows best. #Devotional, #Jonah Click To Tweet

Blessings,

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Blog photo by Justin Veenema on Unsplash

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10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Ann Musico

    Wow Debbie this was timely for me. I have been praying about how to speak to someone I love about a situation I think could bring harm in the future. For months each time I was with them I felt God saying – not now. So I didn’t say anything. The last time I was there, recently, He graciously opened the way for a very honest conversation and I was able to share my concerns. While they were graciously and openly received I had to release the results (whether they would make the changes or not) to God and trust that I was obedient to what He wanted me to do. It is never easy but as I explained to this person, I didn’t not want her to come to me down the road and say – you knew this and didn’t tell me? She agreed she probably would do just that.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Ann, what a great thought and motivation. How terrible we’d feel if they came back and said why didn’t you warn me. May God use your love and courage to make a difference. Thanks so much for sharing your story!

  2. Stacey Pardoe

    I really love this, Debbie. Thanks for intertwining the truth of Scripture with very applicable practical suggestions! I enjoyed visiting today and will be back!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Stacey. Don’t you love how God uses these stories to speak to us today?

  3. Emily | To Unearth

    I’ve had to confront a friend who was traveling down a dangerous path. I learned that it’s important to say with love what the Spirit is prompting me to say, but it’s not my responsibility how that person will respond. Thankfully, God moved in her heart and, after months and months of prayers and advice-giving, she finally moved away from the danger. Praise God!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Emily, that is wonderful that you loved your friend enough to put yourselves in uncomfortable situations for her eternal good. It sounds like you carried out James 5:19-20. I’m very thankful she responded well! Thanks for sharing.

  4. Susan Arico

    Great connection to Jonah here!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thanks, Susan.

  5. Carol Graham

    Many instances came to mind after reading this but they were not regarding addressing a situation of confrontation. They were those times when stepping out of my comfort zone after God said “go pray for that person” and I put the brakes on in fear. But after taking the first step, it gets easier. That is how I related to your statement:

    “But if you dread the thought of delivering it, and the pressure to speak won’t leave, you probably are the one to give it.”

    Thank you for sharing that.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Carol, that’s a wonderful application. Thank you for sharing it.

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