Lessons from a Coffee Pot
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9 NIV
I was wounded. I had been nursing the caustic unkind words for days. I retreated further into my cracked shell, licking my wounds to attempt to avoid further pain. It wasn’t the first time this happened. I bore plenty of old scars to prove it. I stewed over the conversation. As my anger festered, I debated disconnecting from this painful relationship.
The coffee pot beeped. My morning reading and prayer hadn’t eased my injured ego. Perhaps coffee and a bit of time would. I got up from the couch and headed to the kitchen. Instead of putting my cup on the counter, I held it in my hand and began to pour. Almost instantly, a slow steady stream of delicious steaming coffee in my cup changed to a surging gush of boiling hot liquid pouring all over my hand. In my preoccupation with my pity party, I had neglected to properly snap on the lid.
The intense searing pain began before I could set both the cup and the pot on the counter. I clamped my mouth shut and tried not to scream or cry. Brave lady. Pretending not to hurt. But it did. A lot.
I immediately raced to the medicine cabinet for burn ointment. With shaking hands, I grabbed the aloe vera and poured the cooling gel on my now angry red hand. I watched my injured skin quickly soak up the soothing liquid. I reapplied it again and waited. Then again. The pain slowly dissipated as healing took place. My fast action prevented further damage.
Returning to the kitchen, I grabbed a rag and wiped up the brown mess dripping from the countertop onto my white cupboards and hardwood floor. My hand still stinging, I stared at the coffee pot. I scolded myself. Then shook off my guilt. It was a stupid accident.
And then God whispered.
God: “Are you angry at the coffee for burning you?”
Me: “No. That’s silly. It was my fault for not snapping on the lid properly.”
God: “Are you angry at the coffee pot then?”
Me: “No, that’s silly.”
God: “Who are you angry at?”
Me: “Me. I made the mistake.”
God: “What mistake was that?”
Me: “Not putting the cup down and not putting the lid on right.”
God: “Look at your hand.”
Me: “It’s burning.”
Me: “Because I was careless.”
God: “Will it heal?”
God: “Will it leave a scar?”
Me: “I don’t know yet.”
God: “Are you prepared for the scar?”
God: “Will you drink coffee again?”
God: “Why would you drink coffee again when it hurt you?”
Me: “It wasn’t the coffee’s fault.”
God: “So you can drink coffee again, handle the coffee pot again, and heal from a burn, but you think running away from someone because they hurt you is the way to handle your emotional pain?”
Me: “Good point.”
God: “Some people need more love than others. Their insides are full of hot liquid that spill onto everything they touch. Don’t let them burn you. Handle them carefully.”
And THAT brought me to this lesson. We all have times when our anger spills out and hurts others. We can often be so preoccupied with our own pain we miss how we are coming across. When we are the ones holding the coffee pot we expect understanding and forgiveness. However —when we are the injured party— our anger boils over. We rush to judgment.
As we lick our wounds in an attempt to heal, it’s easy to disconnect from those who have hurt us. We can hurt ourselves further by falling into defeat and depression. But that’s not what God wants us to do.
When we get burnt in life, we need help. With physical pain, we can use ointment from our medicine chest. With spiritual pain, there is only one ointment—God’s love. In some situations or relationships, applying love can sting. Our wounds are still burning. It’s difficult to walk in love when we’ve been hurt. But if we keep applying love over and over like an ointment, the wound will eventually heal. Until it does, we might need to work through a few festering and bleeding scars. Sometimes we need to protect those scars—until they heal—through the use of boundaries or new strategies. But we can’t quit just because we don’t see instant results. Relationships matter—more than coffee.
I’ll be more careful how I pour my coffee next time. And I’ll put my cup down on the counter rather than holding it in my hand. But I won’t quit drinking coffee anytime soon.
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