Monday, August 10, 2015

For We Ourselves

Frustrated at walking into the room that I share with my four younger sisters and finding it a mess a couple weeks ago, I yelled at the Abbi and Emmi to clean it up, and huffily sat down so I could supervise it happening to my satisfaction. My thundercloud mood only intensified as they picked things slowly up, examined them, and then placed them into a pile to "put away later", and then repeated the process over, and over, and over. My patience was none existent.

"Quit playing!!! Just work!", I fumed. "How hard can it be to know what to do when I am giving such SPECIFIC directions?! I'm not even telling you to figure it out yourself. Pick up that blanket and fold it!"

I knew I was being ridiculous. The room was a  mess, and it was especially frustrating given the fact that we had cleaned it the night before, but there was really no reason for my fussing, storming, and, to be quite honest, rather striking similarity to a fire breathing dragon, over this simple operation. I knew I wasn't honoring Christ, but I didn't *feel* like giving them the kindness I knew I should.

And that's when it hit me.

I didn't feel like being kind. So I wasn't.

They didn't feel like cleaning their room. But I expected them to do it anyway.

Romans 2:1 tells us, "Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things." That is exactly what I was doing in this situation. I wanted my little sisters to obey me promptly and thoroughly, but *I* wasn't willing to obey *Christ's* prompting to give them grace promptly and thoroughly. Their faults were different than mine, but that did not make them worse, and it definitely didn't make mine better. They were simply DIFFERENT. And I hadn't wanted to see my sin for what it was; sin. I wasn't giving them grace, or kindness, or encouragement. I just wanted things the way I wanted them, and I wanted it on my time frame, with no work from me.

James 4:11 asks, "What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you?" They say it takes two to argue, and I agree. But... it only takes one person giving full reign to their passions for there to be contention.

We can become so stuck on looking at how someone else is making us feel, that we forget that they have their own struggles. We have trouble being patient; so we expect everybody else to keep up with us. Then we come across someone who might be more prone to take a relaxed look on life, and we think they are wrong for not getting their act together and making things happen when we want it. We forget that Martha was rebuked for not slowing down when someone more important than her to-do list -the King of the Universe, her Savior- was there to teach her. We have trouble speaking in a gentle manner, but expect others to never hurt us with our words. We desire encouragement from others; but we forget to give it to those around us.

I am sinful -all humans are sinful. The single thing that all people hate most is sin, in others. But we tend to look over our own, because we don't want to take responsibility for it. Because it is HARD for flesh to take on the things of Christ. "But {Christ said}, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me."

 I pray that HE will give us the strength to take care of the log in our own eye, and then give us the wisdom to help our brother to righteousness. Until we have given Christ Lordship of our passions and can "see clearly" (Matthew 7:5), we will not be able to rightly address the shortcomings of others, "for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God" (James 1:20).

"Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life." (Titus 3:1-7 ESV, emphasis mine.)


  1. Good post, Bri. I too struggle with a stormy temper such as you described--but praise God, His grace IS sufficient that we may overcome! May He lead us from victory to victory, so that we may dwell with Him eternally!


"May the Lord, the God of your fathers... bless you!" Deuteronomy 1:11