“Forgive and forgive and forgive. Don’t let your emotional life be controlled by the sins you see in others” ~ Jack Miller
This is a very easy thing to allow to happen. We want people to behave. More to the point, we want people to behave in a way that corresponds to our expectations. We evaluate peoples’ behavior in terms of how we think we would respond or have responded in similar situations. When this doesn’t happen, we get upset. Actually, I’ve seen people become enraged by the behavior of others. While a number of factors lurk beneath the surface with respect to how we respond to another’s behavior, I think we can reduce it to one issue: control. We want to control other people. Bottom line: If your emotional life is controlled by the sins of other people, you’re in for one long, unhappy life. If this is you, I would recommend getting on your knees right now, and pleading with God to grant you a more forgiving heart. Ask him to remind you of how much he has forgiven you. Pray, pray, and pray some more. And read the gospels. Be amazed at Jesus. And, oh by the way, remember that you’re a sinner too.
“Expectations are planned resentments” ~ Tullian Tchividjian
I came across this comment recently, and its truth immediately hit me. A number of psychologists have said that disappointment stems from unmet expectations. No one I know disagrees with this. For some reason, however, when I share the above quote with people, they sort of look at me strange. Their faces are screaming, “But shouldn’t I have expectations of people?” Is it wrong for an employer to expect his or her employee to work well? Is it wrong for a wife to expect her husband to tell her the truth? Answer: Of course not. What I say to people is this: You can have as many expectations of other people as you want, but just realize that Jesus didn’t die so that all of your expectations could be met. He never promised us an easy life. I don’t care what Joel Osteen says.
“Conviction is not the same as repentance. It’s one thing to be awakened at 5AM; it’s another thing to get out of bed” ~ Jon Bloom
Being convicted of your sin is not the same thing as repenting of your sin. If you have truly sinned against another person, I believe the repentance process is not complete until you confess to the other person what you’ve done and asked them to forgive you. I’m fully aware that David says, “Against you, you only, have I sinned” (Ps. 51:4). I get that. Depending upon the sin, you may not actually need to go and ask someone to forgive you. There is a grey area here. But I believe it is good for us to be broken before the Lord. Be sensitive to how the Holy Spirit is leading you, and if he makes it clear that you need to go to another person and ask for their forgiveness, do it. You’ll be glad you did.
“When we are devastated by someone else’s critique, it usually shows how addicted we are to their praise” ~ Jefferson Bethke
We all want people to think well of us. We all want to be liked. But the simple fact is that’s not going to happen. This is an area of idolatry in my own life. I want to be liked. Just recently God has allowed me to see that many of the decisions I have made in my life have been built around my desire to have the approval of other people.
Being in the ministry has brought this struggle for me to the forefront. As much as I may want other people to like me, I can’t make them. In his book The Heart of a Servant Leader, the late Pastor Jack Miller wrote, “To have power in your life as a pastor, it is supremely important that you make it your first order of business for the rest of your life not to do things to impress people or to gain a reputation or protect your reputation.”
I hope you learned something and this wasn’t a complete waste of your time.