Do you have a friend or a sibling who will call you on your bad attitude or bad behavior? Maybe your spouse does? We all need people in our lives who can say to us, “Whoa, why are you being so grumpy?” or “Did you mean to snap at that person?”
I used to get in trouble ALL the time in junior high and high school because of my “tone.” Do you know what I mean? That disrespectful tone that slips out when you’re “tired of being told what to do”? I have since recognized that I need help with my tone in many different situations. My husband and I have tried to be consistent at saying, “Did you mean to say it that way?” to keep from misunderstanding each other. It has stopped so many arguments before they even started. We have tried to do that with our girls, too. One simple, “I know you’re frustrated, but did you mean to talk to me like that?” can do wonders to everyone’s attitude in a heated moment. Proverbs 15:1 says, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” The problem is, sometimes we don’t mean for our words to be harsh. And too often people walk away from us getting entirely the wrong message. If we do not have people in our lives who are willing to be honest and blunt with us, how do we change? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if our church family was close enough to do that? Should we not love each other so much that we can be gentle, encouraging, and doing everything we can to understand each other? If it is too hard to share our weaknesses with other people, how do we overcome them?
I am an introvert, and I could very happily live by myself as a hermit. But that is not what God wants us to do. That is not our purpose in life. We were not created to just save ourselves. God called us to GO and make disciples of all nations. Including the one on which we are currently standing. We must go out. But, do you know what? We also have to help, encourage, and love the saved person next to us. Just because we have accepted Christ as our Savior does not mean we are suddenly superheroes. We mess up still, sometimes a lot. And we need friends, family, to help us keep moving toward the goal line. God has created other people to walk with us through life and remind us of the path we are to take. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12.
We have to admit when we mess up. I get frustrated way too easily with people. And myself. I struggle daily with showing other people grace and love. Especially people who should know better. Which is hypocritical since I am one who should know better. I need people to tell me to settle down. I need people to remind me to love.
As we get further into February, don’t give up your resolutions for this year. Find someone to encourage you and keep you accountable. If you are noticing that you are not reacting like Christ would have you react, add that to your daily resolutions. No matter how old we are, if we are seeking to be like Christ, we have work to do. It may get easier if you have been working on it for years, or it may be one of the most difficult things if you are only recognizing it in yourself right now. Daily, even hourly, resolutions may be necessary. Find a verse or chapter or book in the Bible that talks about what you are working on, and write it down. Keep it where you can look at it every day. Memorize it and keep it close to your heart. You are not alone in your fight. Jesus left us the Holy Spirit to teach us and remind us of what Jesus taught. (John 14:26) And remember, we have brothers and sisters in Christ who are fighting and struggling also. Let's stick together and grow!