Thursday, February 8, 2018

Get schooled!

Be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. (Ephesians 4:2 TLB)
If you have ever worked with the elderly in that latter stages of their lives, or little children in the early years of theirs, you know just how hard it can be to constantly be telling them the same things over and over again. Add to the elderly's constantly dwindling short-term memory the issues of not hearing well, problems with their sight, and the advances of pains galore and you have a recipe for some challenging moments that put to test the fibers of your character. Think about the boundless energy of a small child and constantly challenging curiosity and you have a recipe for exhaustive patience. I wish I could say I never get frustrated repeating stuff over and over again, but I do. I would like to report I never have an edge in my voice that betrays my lack of enthusiasm to be moving at a snail's pace when I'd like to be zooming ahead. I'd like to say I never grow weary in doing the right stuff - the really good stuff - for others, but I do. What I can report to you is that sometimes I have to ask for forgiveness - I just wasn't as patient as I needed to be in making "allowances" for the needs of the other individual.
Humility, gentleness, and being available to the other person are earmarks of a child of grace. Don't be duped into believing these things come easily for a child of Christ, though. They are still three of the toughest character traits to develop and consistently display in our lives. Like it or not, this is a life-long ordeal of learning how to truly live in humility. It means we learn to not be brash in our responses - displaying a little more tactfulness than the occasion may warrant, being consistently reverent in times where our response may logically border on criticism or sarcasm, and being available to take the time to help another understand. Gentleness engages all our senses so that we are not allowing any roughness either in our action or our speech - even when our nerves are fraying a little. Both bespeak living in such a way that there is evidence of a "moderator" over our actions and words.
Christ desires to be that moderator, my friends. He desires to help us know when our pride is going to lead us straight into a landmine. He has ways of helping us realize there is about to emerge a sense of roughness in our actions or words that can be conveyed in so many different ways it could set a forest on fire. We don't always recognize these things on our own - sometimes even justifying our lack of humility or gentleness with excuses. It is the 'you did this' and that made me 'do that' kind of rationalization. It takes a life of consistent connection with Jesus to help us realize there is no real rationalization for bad behavior! It takes this consistent connection to help us recognize opportunities for change. In the past week, I have emphasized this need for consistent connection over and over again. Why? There is no substitute for grace, and their is equally no substitute for those moments in which his grace "schools us" in how to behave! Just sayin!