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In solitude, we turn our face toward God who so loves this world.

The tears welled up in my eyes as the conversation continued. I felt angry, sad, and hurt. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t want to cause conflict or hurt relationships, but at the same time I had more to say. My husband caught my eye from behind the sofa where the other people sat. He smiled kindly at me and nodded toward the door. I understood. It would be best if I left the room because I was getting upset. I didn’t want to lash out in anger or say things I’d regret.

This occurred at a weekend with our small group from church many years ago. They were talking negatively about some people I knew. I’d initially tried to speak up for them but did not feel heard. As I stood outside in the dark on the cabin’s balcony, I cried in frustration.

We each face situations like this in which we feel caught between a rock and a hard place. When we care deeply about people or issues or circumstances, we struggle because we want so desperately for others to understand and share our viewpoint. But because speaking the truth in love can be so challenging (Eph. 4:15), we tend to either speak truth with harshness or say nothing in so-called “love.” My experience that night long ago planted within me a desire to explain important things calmly and clearly when I believe God is directing me to speak up.

Stepping Back

Over the years I’ve learned that becoming a person who stands up for people and issues wisely and effectively begins with stepping back. Without times of reflection in which we interact with God in quietness, contemplation, and solitude, we may unconsciously attack people. But by taking time and finding space to be with God, we can process volcanic thoughts and emotions and begin …

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