Two Sundays ago, Pastor Johnny started a new sermon series called DTR (Define the Relationship). At the start of the series, I was so excited to learn that we would be delving into Ruth. It is one of my favorites. I love the story of Ruth...of her devotion to Naomi... of the love story between her and Boaz... and of God's amazing provision. Last Sunday, we really started getting into the story and Johnny talked about the three DTR Principles listed below:
#1 Your relationship with God affects ALL of your other relationships.
#2 You must try to see things from the other person's perspective.
#3 You must speak with love, even when you hurt.
All of these principles are profound and true, but the third one really struck a cord with me. Johnny used the example of Naomi telling her old friends to call her Mara because she was bitter and left with nothing. She forgot so quickly that she had a devoted daughter-in-law in Ruth and that Ruth was truly a stranger in a strange land. How her words of sorrow and despair must have hurt Ruth, who had also lost much. It reminded me of the priest in Romeo and Juliet asking Romeo over and over "There, art thou happy?" when Romeo was weeping to him over what he would lose due to being banished. I wonder how often God feels like asking us the same thing?
Always before, when reading the book of Ruth, I have identified with Ruth's devotion and courage and hoped that I could be a woman like that. This time I reflected on times in my life when I have felt how Ruth must have when Naomi wailed and moaned to her friends. I also pondered how many times my words, spoken in haste, have made someone else feel as Ruth must have felt.
Thank you for this sermon series. I am so excited to get to dive into Ruth. Please, continue to reveal new principles and meanings to me in this story that I love so well. Guard my tongue, Lord, that I might speak carefully and with love. You know that I often speak the first words that come to mind without regard for how they may affect others. Help me to be slower to speak and quick to apologize when I do speak without love. And, Lord, let me always remember that even in the lowest of times I am blessed because I have a hope that can never be extinguished.