Smile And Nod

by Oct 11, 2023Devotional1 comment

Romans 12:18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.

I was talking with my mom about some family dynamics that were not going to be easy to deal with. I asked her how she dealt with these types of situations, and she said, “I have learned to just smile and nod, nod and smile.” I started laughing and said, “That would make things simple.” Just don’t pick it up and place the problem in your heart or don’t let it live rent-free in your mind – just smile and nod and let it go. There comes a point in many family situations where you will not be able to fix everything that comes your way. I’ve said this before, “I think God gives us good friends to make up for the family members He gave us.” For some family members, it will not matter what you say. The fact that you said something will only stir up greater anger, anxiety, and belligerence. To smile and nod may be the only thing you can do while you silently pray for them. Only God can fix dysfunction.

King David was dealing with family problems in his life. We read in, 2Samuel 16, where Sheimi came out cussing at King David and spouting nonsense. 2Sam. 16:5  As King David approached Bahurim, a man from the family of the house of Saul was just coming out. His name was Shimei son of Gera, and as he approached, he kept yelling out curses. 6 He threw stones at David and all the servants of the king, though the troops and all the mighty men were on David’s right and left. And as he yelled curses, Shimei said, “Get out, get out, you worthless man of bloodshed! 8 The LORD has paid you back for all the blood of the house of Saul, in whose place you have reigned, and the LORD has delivered the kingdom into the hand of your son Absalom. See, you have come to ruin because you are a man of bloodshed!”

     Like many of us, who need to face, referee, or tolerate family issues that can become big family dramas and misunderstandings, King David was dealing with difficult family dynamics.  Absalom, David’s son, was strategizing a coup against David’s reign over Israel. After listening to all the cursing that was coming out of Shimei, one of David’s men suggested they silence the accuser by cutting off his head. 2Sam. 16:9 Then Abishai son of Zeruiah said to the king, “Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over and cut off his head!” However, David decides to let God deal with it and says, 2Sam. 16:12 Perhaps the LORD will see my affliction and repay me with good for the cursing I receive today.”  Another way of looking at it, David just smiled and nodded while allowing God the space to bring about His will for that situation.

Not only in families, but I believe this is why we have misunderstandings in the church as well. The Word of the Lord describes us as brothers and sisters in Christ, and thus by default, we become part of the church family. Not all brothers and sisters get along and differences of opinion will cause friction. Therefore, Paul the Apostle rightly says to get along as best as you can. Rom. 12:18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. As the word says, “As long as it depends on you, live peacefully.” Like everyone else, I must be ready to smile and nod so that we may get along as much as possible and be someone dependable not to start a brawl in the church lobby. Hopefully, the antics and fighting that have become commonplace in big box store parking lots do not become a scene in church parking lots.

When Jesus walked the earth, His earthly family misunderstood Him. His brothers thought he was self-centred when in fact, Jesus was Heavenly Father-centred. The Lord’s brothers misunderstood Him and thought He was trying to gain worldly status – to get as many likes as possible on His religious channel so to speak. John 7:3 Jesus’ brothers said to him, “Leave Galilee and go to Judea, so that your disciples there may see the works you do. No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret. Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world.” 5 For even his brothers did not believe in him. Jesus was doing His Heavenly Father’s will, and it was causing friction within the family. Jesus had to smile and nod while saying to his brothers, John 7:8 Go up to the feast on your own. I am not going up to this feast, because My time has not yet come.

You can imagine the talk the Lord’s brothers were having as they went to the religious feast. They must have sounded like so many of us when complaining about the problems in our families. “Who does Super Brother think He is? Why is it always about Him? For once, can’t He think of someone else besides Himself and His God of Israel? It’s always Abba Abba Abba with Him. Mom never says anything, she just ponders the things He says in her heart, but if we or our sisters say anything against Him, she is all over us.” Does this sound familiar? Maybe there are some offences we need to repent about. Prov. 18:19 A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city, And contentions are like the bars of a citadel.

There is a time to speak and say something when the situation becomes dangerous or detrimental to other family members. but so often being right can be overrated when it is for all the small stuff that just doesn’t matter. Maybe a bit more smiling and nodding would calm a lot of things down. Yes, you can claim to know your family because you grew up with them, but only God knows the heart of each person in your family. Let God deal with them as we keep them in our prayers and hopefully, the family is keeping you in their prayers. After all, you may be the reason they are all smiling and nodding just to keep the peace. We are all trying to get through this life with the least amount of grief possible. Everyone needs grace. It took my mom over eighty years to perfect the idea of smiling and nodding. Maybe we can learn it sooner. God bless us all.

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1 Comment

  1. Good word brother! I go to breakfast every Friday with some mentors who are a few years older than me. I’m thankful that often they just smile and nod.

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