A turtle walks into a bar, but the owner grabs it and throws it out. It came back five months later and yells, “Get your hands off me!”
The phrase hands off implies the establishing of boundaries. It is behavior characterized by non-intervention and non-interference.
My word for this year is Freedom. I am working through what that looks like for me. My freedom means not caring what others say or think about me. If I am doing what God wants me to do, then if it is none of my purpose, it is none of my business. I just need to keep my hands off and let God take care of it. Once again, I come back to, don’t speak, trust God.
My job it to let it go and trust God. We all need to put the (fill in your blank here) down and slowly back away. Mine is put the need to control down and slowly back away. And that is very freeing for me. I don’t need to concern myself with dealing with the nasty things other people may say or do to me. God will take care of it and me.
“Dear friends, never avenge yourselves. Leave that to God, for he has said he will repay those who deserve it.” (Rom. 12:19 [TLB])
Here’s where it was originally said. “I will take my revenge; I will pay the back. In due time their feet will slip. Their day of disaster will arrive, and their destiny will overtake them.” (Deut. 32:32 [NLT])
In other words, God is telling us not to take the law into our own hands. I don’t need to live handing out vigilante justice like I live in the Wild West. I have the freedom to choose to ignore it.
I had a client who needed me to catch up their accounting for a whole year. I got an initial deposit, and proceed to do just that. When I presented him with the balance of the invoice, (which was well under what I had told him) he was furious. He proceed to blow up my phone with text messages. I asked him to stop and call me so we could discuss it. Didn’t happen. More hateful texts. Then his girlfriend got involved and started sending me nasty texts too. I was unsuccessful in texting calm explanations regarding the scope of work I did, as I think they just wanted to argue. So I printed all the text messages, deleted them from my phone, and sent their bill to a collection agency.
I knew when they received the letter from the agency, because my phone blew up again with more mean-spirited texts. I prayed and turned it over to God, asking Him to take care of it for me. I did not respond to any of the texts, deleted them, and proceeded to go about my day in joy. Three days later, they finally got the message and the nasty texts stopped.
Then about a month later, a good friend called me and said the girlfriend was bad mouthing me on Facebook. She wanted to know if she should get on there and defend me. I told her, thanks, but no need, God will take care of them. And if she did defend me, she would then be barraged with garbage from this couple, and did she really want or need that? She agreed she did not, and let it go.
Six months later, as I was driving into town, I looked over to where this couple had their business, and it was gone! They were no longer even in town.
My theory is, if I treat everyone the way I want to be treated, and do my best to fulfill God’s purpose in my life, that will speak volumes to those I deal with. If I blow up people’s phones with nasty text messages and talk about them behind their backs, that too will speak volumes to those I deal with. Word of mouth speaks volumes, as do the words from out of our mouths. I want to be the person who can sleep at night knowing I’ve done my best, living with integrity.
I need to not judge others, then I won’t be judged. For I will be treated as I treat others. The standard I use in judging is the standard by which I will be judged, by God. (See Matt. 7:1-2 [NLT])
I need to “hate what is wrong, and hold tightly to what is good.” (Rom.12:9 [NLT] In other words, hate the sin, but love the sinner. I “don’t want to let evil get the upper hand but conquer evil by doing good.” (Rom. 12:21 [TLB])
Here’s where I find the fine line comes in. Just like the turtle, I need to tell them to keep their hands off of me. I don’t need to be a doormat for them to wipe their muck and filth onto, just so they feel better about themselves.
“If anyone is causing divisions among you, he should be given a first and second warning, After that have nothing more to do with him, for such a person has a wrong sense of values. He is sinning and he knows it.” (Titus 3:10-11 [TLB]) The NIV says he is self-condemned.
This frees me from having to participate in their negativity. This allows me to forgive—to give up resentment against them, and to rid myself of any bitterness that I have allowed to build up in my soul. I am free to ignore it and walk away. I don’t have to get sucked into their drama. Their anger and drama is just that. Its theirs. I don’t need to make it mine.
“Get out! Get out and leave your captivity, where everything you touch is unclean. For the LORD will go ahead of you; yes, God will protect you from behind.” (Isa. 52:11, 12b [NLT])
“Therefore, come out from among unbelievers, and separate yourselves from them, says the LORD. Don’t touch their filthy things, and I will welcome you.” (2 Cor. 6:17 [NLT])
Because if you’ve ever been on the receiving end of negative, it feels like you need to shower afterwards, just to wash off the nasty filth they threw at you. When that feeling of being covered in their unkindness comes over me, I wash myself clean by asking Holy Spirit to purge me of those emotions, so I don’t get angry, wallow in self-pity, or desire to get even.
I picture it something like this. I walk up to a box on a table. Curious, I peer inside and see it is full of writhing snakes, who’d like nothing better to bite me. I slowly back away and put my hands up, thinking, whoa, I don’t want to have any part of that! My body language clearly shows, hands off!
Since my hands are already in the air, I might as well lift them higher in surrender to God and to praise Him for dealing with my enemies. I do this because I am grateful that it is not my burden to carry. I can surrender it to God, because the battle is the Lord’s. Which is incredibly freeing. I can be at peace, because God is my vindicator.
If it is none of my purpose, then it is none of my business, and also none of my problem to deal with. Because I need to aspire to lead a quiet life, mind my own business, and do my own work, so that I may be an example to those who are not believers. (Based on 1 Thess. 4:11-12)
“Your life is not your own. Keep your hands off.”
Arthur Conan Doyle (author of Sherlock Holmes)
© 2021 Fluffy Puppy Publishing All Rights Reserved