I recently had the misfortune of interacting with a Christian who was not behaving like one. This was in my capacity of my position in professional ministry, so it was doubly important for me to model Christlike behavior, even while this person did not. The situation arose out of a simple misunderstanding that was nobody’s fault and was easily and quickly corrected, but this person was determined to remain offended nonetheless. When it became clear that no matter what I said, or how kindly I said it, this person’s reaction was only going to escalate, I said in the most sincere and gentle voice I could that I was very, very sorry. And despite that end to our conversion, this person then escalated the complaint to my superior, who responded with a mild and much-deserved rebuke, which ended the “complaint process.”
When I recounted this experience to my husband, he asked how I could have remained so calm and even apologize when this person was being so unreasonable. I responded that self-control is a fruit of the Spirit, and that God enabled me to control myself and respond in a way that honored Him. In addition to this, I prayed for this person because something was driving this over-the-top reaction to a simple misunderstanding that truly was not a big deal. I am praying that God will reveal His grace to this person because those who have received more grace give more grace. Perhaps this person has never known grace and thus has no idea how to extend it. I cannot imagine how miserable this person must be in day-to-day life if every single time something doesn’t go as expected, offense is taken. When I view this person from that perspective, I feel pity rather than anger or offense. I truly hope and pray that God will heal whatever is broken inside of this person and for grace to be experienced.
Self-control is a fruit of the Spirit that enables us not to allow the unreasonable actions of others to steal our joy. This week, I’ll share what I have learned about developing the fruit of self-control and encourage you to apply it to your life as God places you in situations ripe with opportunity for growing this fruit.
To be continued…
[Graphic: Cartoon of Grace balling her fist. Courtesy Bitmoji.]