The other day at work, I got extremely irritated with a co-worker. And I was getting myself all fired up, ready to go to another co-worker and vent my irritations. But for whatever reason, before I did that, I decided to open my Bible app and read the verse of the day. This is what I read:
“May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had” (Romans 15:5).
Ok God, I hear you.
Sometimes it takes a lot of God-given strength to be kind, especially when we’ve been hurt, wronged, irritated, offended, and the like. Yet, even in these moments we are called to be Christ-like and treat others well—with love, kindness, and patience.
In a heated moment, this is much easier said than done. Here are 5 tactics to try when a moment arises and you don’t feel like acting Christ-like (but you know you need to):
Read the Bible real quick. I have to say, reading that verse, which perfectly applied to my current irritations, was such a God thing, and it was so encouraging. I instantly felt seen and not alone and was reminded that my humanness limits me, but God’s love and power inside of me allows me to choose to be Christ-like. And that freedom of choice is a powerful thing. When we use it for the glory of God and benefit of others, it actually benefits us too. So, in a tough moment, reach for your Bible, read the verse of the day, and be encouraged by truth.
Take a moment before you respond. When you react instead of respond, there is a good chance you are going to say something that is hurtful or not even true, simply emotionally charged in the moment. It’s better to step away from the situation or conversation—take a walk, take a breath—and come back when you’re ready, rather than do or say something you’ll later wish you hadn’t.
Write down your response. While you’re taking a moment, write down all the things you’re feeling. It’s better to get all your emotions and thoughts out on paper than to stuff them down not knowing when they might boil up again—maybe when you least expect it. Then, once you’ve gotten some things off your chest, write down an appropriate response to the current situation.
You can’t edit something once it comes out of your mouth, but you can make sure it’s what you want to say before you say it.
Pray. Ask God to give you patience, fill you with the fruits of the Spirit, purify your heart, whatever needs to be done. Then ask him how to respond, if you should respond at all. We can speak the truth in love, but it takes remembering the truth and being filled with God’s love to do this well. So, invite God into the situation. Likely, he has a whole different perspective on the entire situation—one that is undoubtedly Christ-like.
Give grace and walk away. Sometimes you don’t need to say anything at all. After I read the verse, I realized that was the case in my situation. We’ve all wronged someone, annoyed someone, said something that we probably shouldn’t have—none of us are perfect, but all of us have received grace. And it’s good to extend the grace you’ve been given by God and others to those around you. Maybe that means letting this one go—forgiving, forgetting, and keeping no record of wrong. It doesn’t mean the situation or the person was necessarily right, it just means you’re choosing grace and forgiveness, which is always a Christ-like thing to do.
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