I was thinking this morning about how we demonstrate Christ and the variety of situations where our humanity is exposed to the critique of others. We are encouraged to have the right disposition, mentality, attitude, countenance, etc. in all situations. It’s the ALL part we have trouble with.
For instance, we use moments of frustration, Godly or not, as permissible times of approved uncontrolled declarations of dissatisfaction. Maybe we were provoked. Maybe were set-up or goaded to an irrational response. Maybe it’s simply the beast inside us who refuses to be caged any longer.
I had a moment like this recently. I would consider myself a patient man. It takes a lot to frustrate or anger me. I’m ultimately very optimistic and I believe the best in people. I can deal with anger, I can deal with frustration, I can deal with disappointment or sadness. But there is one thing. One thing that causes my temper to know no limits. There is one thing makes my face immediately hot, my heart immediately beat fast, and my words to immediately flow.
I don’t do well with disrespect. I hate when others are disrespected, but when I feel disrespected my tongue looses itself from all morality and conviction and I find I must later return to the scene of the crime to swallow my pride and apologize. I have very little control on my emotions and reactions when I feel condescended or disrespected. Many people may not know that about me.
It’s not that I don’t like apologizing. I don’t like having to apologize because I made a mistake. Especially a mistake that is the result of a self-control vanishing act.
Maybe this is why Jesus allowed himself to be chastised by the Pharisees. Condescension. Blame. Fault. Arrogance. All of these things were cast on Him and his reaction was always appropriate. Sometimes the reaction was violence. Sometimes it was anger. So what separates Him from me and my moments?
Control. Jesus’ responses were measured. Before he upset a temple he made a whip. Before He rose again and captured death He allowed himself to submit to the abuse. In all responses and in all situations Jesus possessed control over his emotions.
When we the frustrated few find ourselves in situations where our responses would be vindictive, bitey, or otherwise distasteful, maybe we take a moment and monitor who we are and whose we are and genuinely pray for a response that would honor Him.
I know. Easier said than done. But better done than not done.