Friday, July 9, 2010

"If" by Rudyard Kipling (Part 6)

I love the poem "If" by Rudyard Kipling . . . thirty-two lines of wisdom that provide possibly the best instruction in manliness (why not womanliness, too?) written by a father to his son. The father concludes that if  his son will assimilate this good advice into his conduct, then

"Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!"
Let's look now at the next four lines of the poem.
"If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:"

We've already discussed how it feels to be lied about. Now let's talk about how we feel when the truth we've spoken is twisted by evil persons to trip up fools. Let's unpack these two very condensed lines.

Suppose someone comes to you with a problem and you give the very best counsel you know to give. You try your best to speak the truth in love, maybe even go out on a limb--exposing yourself in the process--all in an effort to be of help. You believe your words and your intent have been understood. You believe you left on good terms and you have no regrets.
Later others berate you for the hurtful counsel you gave this person. As they relate the grievance to you, the story bears no resemblance to the truth. You believe your words, your truth, has been twisted in order to sour others (fools?) against you. Fools? Well, a wise person would get your side of the story before berating you.
End result: your words have been twisted to your detriment.
Maybe you've given your life to helping others in order that God may be glorified in your good works. Maybe your reputation and future ministry suffer loss as a result of this "knave's" duplicity.

Do you respond in anger? Do you rise up and fight for yourself and for your reputation? Do you take vengeance? Or do you stoop down and begin the work of rebuilding your reputation one step at a time--though your heart be broken and your spirit wounded.

If you can do this, if you can turn the matter over to God and let Him take appropriate action, while you rebuild your life with worn-out tools, then  . . .
"Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!"
If you have been hurt in this way, why not stop and turn the matter over to God right now.

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