Encouragement for Today - April 7, 2006



Encouragement for Today


“Calling All Ice Princesses”

Rachel Olsen, Co-Editor of Encouragement for Today, Proverbs 31 Speaker Team Member


Key Verse:

Proverbs 14:17, “A quick-tempered man acts foolishly, and a man of evil device is hated.” (NASB)



I gasped as the Italian ice-dancing pair both fell in the final seconds of their routine.  They had come out of retirement to skate in the Olympics before their home crowd, and skated well enough in the compulsory round to be in first place heading into this round of the three-day competition.


Both partners recovered from the fall in time to hit their final poses as the music ended.  They headed to center rink where they’re expected to take bows before the judges and cheering crowd.  It was then that the real drama began.  Barbara stood facing her partner with a stoic, intense stare.  Was she hurt?  Was this a look of pain?  Was she waiting for her partner to say something?  She stood there staring at him for the longest time.  The camera angle widened, allowing us to see his face also. At first he looked disappointed, then confused, and then Maurizio simply matched her intent staring. 


As the staring contest wore on, the crowd grew quiet.  I grew uncomfortable and embarrassed for them – like when another couple exchanges accusatory words at a party.  By this point, Barbara’s narrowed eyes and set jaw clearly communicated tremendous disapproval.  She obviously wanted Maurizio and the rest of the world to know that she was mad at him. I truly believe this man wanted nothing more than to take his partner’s hand, do their best to shrug off their shared disappointment, and take their bows – but his manhood was being challenged, with the whole world watching no less.  So he matched her actions and stood there staring back. 


Eventually they bowed and headed to the “kiss and cry” to await their scores.  Barbara still didn’t give it a rest.  While their scores were processed and posted, she was not looking at the scores, crowd or into the camera, but mostly glaring over at Maurizio in anger.  He watched the scores, but no doubt felt the weight of her glare.  As a skating fan, I’ve seen many drops, mistakes and falls, yet I’ve never seen a partner behave like this afterwards.  They went from first place to seventh with one round left to skate, and the sun went down on her anger.


The next day of competition, commentators reported the pair had entered the arena separately, warmed up separate and not spoken a word to each other. Video footage showed them moving about back stage, completely ignoring one another’s presence – in method but clearly not in mind.  You could cut the tension with a knife and this behavior continued until they joined hands on the ice to begin their final routine.  Both partners skated beautifully in the final program and the world waited to see what Barbara’s reaction would be.  She was pleased, so she dramatically hugged him and kissed Maurizio’s cheek.  I’ve never seen a clearer picture of an ice-princess with performance-based love.


After receiving their scores and heading back stage, a camera man caught footage of Maurizio crying – emotionally spent.  Who could blame him!  I wasn’t sure whether to feel happy or sad for him, but I was certain all that animosity was a terrible waste of energy and had left an ugly mark on their Olympic experience.


Several of the pairs to follow also skated well, their routines delivering more difficult moves and higher scores.  Ultimately Barbara and Maurizio finished in sixth place. 


Like Barbara, I am prone to use the icy silent treatment when I get mad at my spouse. I can say from experience that it’s not healthy, nor productive.  The silent treatment communicates: If you do not please me 100%, you no longer exist in my world.  After reading Matthew 5:21-22, I’m guessing Jesus would consider this method of anger-management murderous. 


The Bible gives us clear advice on how to avoid the impulse toward performance-based love, and choose instead grace-based love.  It tells us to be slow to anger and quick to overlook offenses.  Proverbs 19:11 reads, “A man's discretion makes him slow to anger and it is his glory to overlook a transgression.”  We are not to keep long accounts either, but settle our grievances with one another quickly. First Corinthians 13:4-5 reads, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” Clearly, we are not to carry a grudge.  It is hard to be graceful with a grudge in hand. 


In the words of William H. Walton, “To carry a grudge is like being stung to death by one bee.”  Barbara may have the sting of Olympic defeat to deal with—but at least she knows where to get some ice.  I sincerely hope a wise friend will also show her where to get some Godly advice on loving, forgiving and granting grace.


My Prayer for Today:

Dear Lord, I need help moving from an attitude of performance-based love to a grace-based perspective. Help me to be slower to anger and quicker to overlook transgressions.  In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.


Application Steps:

Pay attention to your thoughts, words and actions today and see what they are really communicating to God and those around you.  Ask a trusted friend how well you really deal with your disappointment in others.


Reflection Questions:

Are your words or actions communicating disapproval or even disgust to a loved one? 


Is your perfectionism crushing your spouse or children’s spirit? 


Can you point a verbal or non-verbal “gun” in your husband’s face and then expect him to politely back down?  Would you respect him if he did?  Would you then respect yourself?


Does Barbara’s behavior remind you of yourself at all?  Would your friends or family describe your love as grace-based or performance-based?


Are you carrying a grudge you need to hand over to Jesus?


Power Verses:

Proverbs 14:17, “A quick-tempered man acts foolishly, and a man of evil device is hated.” (NASB)


Proverbs 14:29, “He who is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who is quick-tempered exalts folly.” (NASB)


Proverbs 15:1, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” (NASB)


Proverbs 16:32, “He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city.” (NASB)


Additional Resources:

30 Days to Taming Your Tongue, by Deborah Smith Pegues



Capture His Heart, by Lysa TerKeurst



Becoming the Woman of His Dreams, by Sharon Jaynes




Originally published Friday, 07 April 2006.