Life Lessons, Part 3

Not taking things personally.

There are immediately two roads presented when actions are done or words said that are offensive: one path, self-intoxication, drowning in everything even remotely hurtful. The other, sobriety. Seeing ourselves, as well as others, clearly. When someone accuses us, this may mean affirming our value in Christ and preaching the gospel to ourselves: mainly that we are more sinful than we ever imagined yet more loved than we ever hoped. From that basis, we’re no longer compelled to save face or defend a fragile sense of self, but are free to receive rebuke without having our identity threatened. But perhaps the accusation is unjust: by choosing the path of clarity, we are free to step away from self and into another’s shoes. All are broken and in need of Jesus-even those who are Christians. Sometimes people say and do things that are hurtful and it’s because of a lack in their own needs being met. In short, take criticism that is good, and graciously let the rest slide away.

Resist the path of self-focus. Serve others. Love others. See their needs,  disguised they may be by anger or impatience or insult. How? Remember the great amount of God’s grace and mercy it takes for us to be kind and patient and gentle and other-centered, then extend the same to those who are struggling,  since we are all in the same fight of life.

“For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.”

Beware of self-pity, false humility, which feels good for a time but only postpones and multiplies the pain we are so afraid of feeling. Anger tries to distract us and point the finger outward, keeping us from the blessing of 1) admitting our faults and consequently improving, or 2) sacrificing our ego and demonstrating Christ through mercy despite harsh words or inconsiderate actions from others.

Those blessings, and they are blessings, are made possible by the gospel. Because only in Christ do we have unshakeable confidence, unbreakable identity, unstoppable love.

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