“I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” – Ephesians 4: 1-3
“I’m going to ride this elephant like a wild bucking stallion.” The image of my response gave me some humorous courage to receive (what felt like) an invitation to a very awkward confrontation. The situation I was about to walk into was a slurry of all that makes me uncomfortable: confrontation, anger, lies, unresolved offences and throw into it, my deep desire to make peace. Yes, it would be a wild ride and I was sure I would walk away wounded (if not completely broken) as well as embarrassed to have tried to tame such a beast. Elephants in a room are unpredictable.
We’ve all heard the expression, ‘an elephant in the room.’ It’s an expression that tells of an obvious problem that is not being addressed. I hate those types of situations. If someone would just speak up and be honest, those elephants wouldn’t have the right to throw their weighty and suffocating privilege around.
Being wronged can disrupt our view of our identity in Christ depending on how we react to the perceived offense.
The intimidation of an elephant can overwhelm our sense of reality. The reality being, a trunk (or words) of someone could potentially cause harm and wound us. Not to mention the sheer size and weight of an elephant – these awkward and intimidating situations seem larger than life and stronger than we can manage. What happens if the elephant lets loose and manifests its power?
We’ve all been in rooms with elephants, how we choose to respond with them can either diffuse or empower their strength. I played out every scenario in my head as to how I would handle this elephant. The easiest thing to do would be to throw the invitation out and not show up! Often times the easy thing to do isn’t what God is asking of you. “Would you rather be right or have relationship?” was Father’s soft and convicting words to me . . . choosing relationship would be a vulnerable act of trusting Father’s lead. In a situation that had the potential to be another encounter of hurtful actions – I would choose to be vulnerable and allow Father to work through me.
Being vulnerable empowers Christ’ humility through us, it relieves the burden of offences. Offences are heavy to hold. They weigh down our ability to love and be kind. Offences give elephants the strength needed to create walls of judgment, gossip and division. When we choose to not correspond with an elephant, we’re freed from the burden of its weight.
Walk worthy of your calling as a follower of Jesus.
Walk as though Jesus is walking beside you with the fellowship of His suffering mixed with humility; His gentleness and His patience. If we chose to lean into the uncomfortable, be encouraged that the moment is temporary with lasting effects. Our uncomfortable moments; the tears while we speak, the anger spewed while we listen . . . they are temporary.
Walking worthy can look like this:
*Being humble and praying, “Expose any wicked thing in me, Father.”
*Praying about the elephant situation and asking Father to reveal His heart in the matter.
*Asking Father to give you opportunity to speak and show love.
*Letting go of offences.
Elephants need not be something we cower to or allow to invade our peace. They simply need a humble hand to reach across the offence with an action of love.
If you struggle with an elephant in the room, perhaps a coworker who bullies, a family member who needs to hear truth or that situation that reeks of grudges . . . walk worthy in humility and patience. If we empower the elephant, we weaken Christs’ identity in us. When we feel week, awkward or inferior in a room among many – speak gentle words of truth. Be kind in an environment of hostility, be love when another wants to be spiteful. Lastly, trust that He who leads you is also working through you.