Summary: When when you want to see better days and you don’t know what to do, follow the advice of Palms 34:14, which is God’s three step approach on how to deal with life’s difficult situations when you are angry, hurt, scared, tired or confused.
God’s Three-Step Approach to Handling Life
When when you want to see better days and you don’t know what to do, follow the advice of Palms 34:14, which is God’s three step approach on how to deal with life’s difficult situations when you are angry, hurt, scared, tired or confused:
“Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.”
1. A person must start with rejecting what is evil and bad, and doing something good and positive. Note, that this verse means more than not being bad, instead do something good. Peace is more than the absence of conflict. It is the presence of all components of a meaningful life. The Hebrew word here is "shalom", which means: peace, harmony, completeness, soundness, safety, goodwill and well-being.
2. The beauty of this verse is not it theological profundity, but in its practical help in difficult, stressful or confusing times. It is so simple that people of all ages or faiths (even those without belief in God) can apply it to their benefit and the good of their neighbors. Yet, it is also so difficult for it goes against our human nature to fight or flee when faced with a difficulty. Yet, God can help us overcome our anger or fear to find goodwill and peace, especially in a personal relationship with Jesus, his Son. As Proverbs 11:27 states, "He who seeks good finds goodwill, but evil comes to him who searches for it."
3. Psalm 34:14 gives us a three step approach in dealing with life’s surprising turns:
First, turn from evil (repent can means to turn around). When you don’t know what to do, do not do something evil, bad, immoral, hateful, wicked, dishonest, unethical, unfair, rotten, dangerous, self-centered, etc.
Second, do something good, positive, helpful, nice, great, fair, safe, right, acceptable, honest, decent, respectable, pleasing, etc. (Note: Sometimes not doing anything wrong and doing something good and acceptable still doesn’t bring about agreement or a right relationship. Then you can seek peace and pursue it.).
Third, seek peace and pursue it. Work together so both of you come up with a winnowing solution to your problem. This takes a lot of work and courage. Yet, if I win and you lose, that’s not good ("I want my way"). Then if I lose and you win, that’s not good either ("Well, have your way with me. It doesn’t matter for I don’t count"). Ultimately, what peace and harmony there may be will break down. The only solution that brings long term peace is a winnowing solution. Peace in the biblical sense is doing what is in the best interest, safety and welfare of both parties. The approach is as follows (this comes from Dr. Steven R. Covey), yet only in Jesus Christ can we have God’s peace, which surpasses human comprehension:
1. State something like, “I see we have a we have a problem here. Lets work together in coming up with a solution whereby we both win. Is that agreeable to you?"
2. State further, "I want to understand how you see our problem and feel about this dilemma first. Is that okay? Then I can share how I view and feel about the situation. I trust you and I can understand each other and come up with a solution where we can both agree in our best interest." Most people want to talk first so give them the first opportunity.
3. Listen deeply, trying to understand, so they know, you know, how they feel and what they think about your concern. Give your partner a lot of feedback, by summarizing and paraphrasing, so they know you have heard them. Then you will have earned the right to be heard. Remember James 1:19-21, "My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you."
4. Then say, “In light of how we both see and feel about this issue, what solutions could we come up with where both us win?"
5. Then courageously pray and work toward a solution which satisfies everyone, promotes harmony, and brings glory to God. A handy tool for coming up with an acceptable solution is S.O.D.A.S.:
S-ituation (Define or agree on what the problem is that you will work on in a gentle and respectful manner).
O-ptions (Brainstorm together or come up with as many solutions as possible, for you never know what may work).
D-isadvantages (List the disadvantage for each possible solution).
A-dvantages (List the advantages for each possible solution).
S-olution (Choose the best solution, then make a commitment to making it work. Ask for God’s help in making the solution work, reevaluate it from time to time, and make any necessary adjustments).