If You Failed To Reflect Christ, Read This.
Living a Christ-centered life is so rewarding. But it comes with struggles. Meaning, it’s not always easy being a Christian. I'll admit it’s hard work. And it takes discipline and dedication. But sometimes people will test us and lead us to inner turmoil.
The way of the flesh.
As Christians, we are to treat others with kindness and respect. But every once in a while you may come across someone who tests that. You may be provoked to stray from the way of kindness. We may be drawn to react one way, the way of the flesh, when we are to react God’s way. When we choose to act worldly we fail to reflect Christ.
That’s exactly what I did.
There is nothing that so much gratifies an ill tongue as when it finds an angry heart. -Thomas Fuller
I allowed someone to get me so wound up I said some unkind things. Not to them but about them. I "vented" it all to somebody. I knew that if I were to see this person in that moment of furry it would not have been good. So you see, I was enraged- a new kind of anger for me.
But the worst part of it all is I failed to reflect Jesus.
To let you in on something, I have a background of being short-tempered. God has been working with me throughout the years. I made it to a great place. I learned patience, immediate forgiveness, and letting go of petty things. But in one moment, it all came undone.
Not through my eyes but the eyes of Christ.
There will be no going into details of what happened because it’s irrelevant. The point is I gave someone the power to cause me to stumble. And I reacted in a worldly way by speech- not honoring God.
That same day I get a call from a friend. They know something is up with me. I tell them what happened that day and something else that happened a different day. I also mention I am ashamed and I have been out of character.
I didn’t like where my mind had been going or the things I’d been saying. It wasn’t like me. I could blame this one person but I knew the issue was within me.
So this friend gives me the words I need to hear. To paraphrase my wise friend: don’t look at someone in the flesh but look at them the way Christ sees them. And to pray: “LORD help me see them the way you see them.” It was a wow moment for me.
It got me thinking. No matter how much you dislike someone you have to remember that Christ died for them too. This has helped in dealing with difficult people.
What is spiritual growth without conviction?
As 2 Corinthians 13:5 says, “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you - unless, of course, you fail the test?” Paul is talking to the Church in Corinth. But he might as well have been talking to me.
Yes, Paul, I failed the test. I didn’t behave like Christ Jesus is in me.
I made a poor representation of Christ. I was so ashamed and embarrassed. I talked to God on my way home telling Him I knew I messed up that day. The following day I apologized to the person I vented to. And told them I didn’t behave as a Christian should. And I never want anybody to witness anything like that from me again.
With the help of Scripture, I learned that you are to confront those who wrong you. And it is between you and that person (Matthew 18:15). If that doesn't work, well, it can escalate (16-17). But just pray that it doesn't.
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for builing up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. -Ephesians 4:29
Unwholesome talk grieves the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30). “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you (Ephesians 4:31-32)
After learning I can grieve the Holy Spirit with my speech. I'm much more cautious with what passes through my lips.
Here is the takeaway:
Don’t vent to people, tell God about it instead
Seek godly counsel (not to vent but to seek advice)
Pray for yourself and the other person
Remember Ephesians 4:29-32
Whether there's tension at school, home, the workplace, or even at church keep yourself from saying negative things. It's best to stay quiet than grieve the Holy Spirit and not reflect Christ through speech.