Yesterday, I reacted strongly towards a coworker. The message that I was speaking to him was correction and truth, but after 30 straight hours at work due to an emergency situation, it did not come out in gentleness, love and forgiveness – it came out as frustration.
A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.
Luke 6:45 NLT
Who among us doesn’t read this and find conviction? Who among us doesn’t read this and remember that thing that we said recently that was not loving, that was not forgiving, that did not sound Christ like at all?
If you read this passage and it reminds you of your perfection in Christ – I don’t know whether to commend you as a saint or earn you of the impending fall from pride that can be expected.
But if you read this passage and you truly hear it, if you examine it against your own life – If you listen to the very Word of God calling out to you in that soft, still voice – you will find conviction that leads you to repentance. In fact, it is meant to establish us in the correct position before or Good and creator – a position of humility.
You see, from my perspective at that moment yesterday when I reacted poorly my coworker was attacking me over something he had not handled correctly – after my repeatedly looking like an idiot to the customer as I delivered the order, after double and triple working the situation because I had been delivering what was on the sales order, after finding out repeatedly that it was not correct, I asked for clarity between the customer’s ongoing corrections and the sales order that we had in hand. I asked for a round table of sorts to shed light on what needed to be delivered, by sending the details of the order request I had on hand to both him and the customer for clarity. And when his response was to call me out for “making the customer aware” that we didn’t have it right. It became immediately clear that he was primarily interested in himself not appearing to be the one in error, not that the order be correct for the customer, and not that we as a company would be correct and effective in our delivery of the final correct solution. He was fine with all of the corrections being visible at the “delivery” end of the equation. But when the light was shined on the truth, he was not happy at all. And he made it quite clear to me in a phone call.
My problem was that I saw his call only as a personal attack – and in my weariness of working 30 straight hours with no sleep, I responded boldly – okay, let’s be honest here – I responded harshly. And it felt good at that moment to stand strong because I knew that I was standing on truth. But today, I look at it and all I see is that my reaction was not kind, or gentle, or forgiving. You see, it’s not just about being right. The Pharisees were right by the letter of the law, but they still were standing in opposition to the very Holy Spirit of the Word of God that stood before them in the flesh of Jesus Christ. Being “in the right” doesn’t necessarily mean you are “in the will” of God. You see, His ways, His bar is set much higher than the laws of men. It is about our heart being like His Spirit, it is about bearing the fruit of the Holy Spirit.
So the scripture teaches me a lesson when I use it to examine my life. And I am not in guilt or shame over what I did, because I have confessed my son to the Lord, and I have asked for forgiveness, and I have asked the Lord to bind whatever spirit or nature influenced this less than perfect reaction in me, and that he would loose the fruit of His Holy Spirit in my life to overflow these situations in the future with love, gentleness, kindness, patience, and forgiveness. And He will, because His promises are true – and He has already given me a new heart, but He is still teaching me each day through His Word how to use it more effectively.
So you might catch a glimpse of something new, something different in my life. Because I have a new, good heart deep inside, and it’s digging is ways out from underneath this pile of evil evidence that I have stacked up against myself in the past. Maybe one day you’ll be able to see the difference. Maybe one day, I’ll be able to see the difference. But for today, I’m still finding things that need to be cut out and cast of. For today, I’m still praying for those old influences to be bound and for His Holy Spirit to be loosed even more powerfully into my life. I’m still learning how to wear this armor and weild this shield and sword to defend against the enemy and not attack my brother.