Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.
React to Their Reaction
I was told that I was “unapproachable.”
That was the reason given that a person stopped coming to the church at which I was the pastor.
They had a question or concern and felt that they couldn’t come talk to me because I was “unapproachable.”
After several people used the same description of me when asked why they had stopped coming to church, the Board of Elders sat down with me to talk about it.
They told me that people felt I was “unapproachable.” That I was “scary,” “loud,” and “not friendly.”
My reaction to all of this was to get mad.
I was angry! After all, I didn’t agree with these reactions to me! I felt they were unjustified. They were, to my mind, just excuses these people were using to justify their lack of attendance at worship.
Retaliate or Not
I had a choice. How do I react to their accusations of me being unapproachable and scary? Do I get mad or have some other reaction?
I chose to get mad. Anger was what I chose to express at that Board of Elders meeting. I raised my voice.
That didn’t go over well. At all!
Even though I felt it was righteous indignation and that it was justified, I was still wrong in expressing my anger.
No one was helped by my anger. My reaction didn’t solve any problems. In fact, my reaction caused more problems!
Oh, I felt good venting my frustrations. For about 30 seconds. Then that good feeling went away, and I felt worse than before and nothing was solved.
How Should We React
There must be a better way. And there is.
The story of Joseph in the Old Testament book of Genesis teaches us a better way to react to accusations – false or otherwise.
Joseph was nearly murdered by his older brothers. He was sold into slavery. Joseph was falsely accused of sexual assault and imprisoned. He was betrayed by a fellow prisoner.
But through it all, he answered each and every situation and accusation with faith. His reaction to it all was to love God and trust in God’s promises.
He was even faced with the perfect opportunity for revenge against his brothers 22 years after the fact. Or, at the very least, exacting justice for their crimes.
Still, Joseph chose to love God and forgive his brothers. He even took great care of them, moving the entire family down to Egypt to live in safety and well-fed comfort!
The Consequences of our Reaction
There are consequences of our reaction to things. If we react poorly (albeit understandably) by getting mad or getting even, the consequence could be about half a minute of satisfaction but a much longer time of regret. A poor reaction can also destroy, or at the very least greatly hinder, our relationship with others.
Remember this, God chose to react to our sin and disobedience not by punishing us or destroying us. Instead, God chose to react to our sin by sending Jesus to forgive our sin through his death and resurrection!
God forgives us! And in this forgiveness, God gives us the power to react in the same way.
But if we react Godly, we can strengthen our relationships and, just possibly, change the world one or two persons at a time. If we choose to forgive, we can have a stronger relationship with the one who previously hurt us.
And if others witness this kind of reaction, they may also be motivated to react Godly instead of poorly.
That just might change the world for the better!
Heavenly Father, I need your Holy Spirit to give me the strength to not get angry even if someone accuses or attacks me. Help me to react with love towards you and kindness toward my neighbor. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
© 2018 True Men Ministries