I AM PERSUADED THAT HE IS ABLE:
TO TEACH US TO BE KIND (part 2)
And it came to pass, when the time was come, that he should be received up, he steadfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem, And sent messengers before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him. And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem. And when his disciples James and John saw this, the said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, even as Elias did? But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.”
Jesus continually demonstrated a good and right spirit during great mockery and suffering. As His followers, we are called upon to copy His example and share His spirit.
Even when we are in the right, it never gives us the right to be wrong (in spirit or action) toward another. Or, said another way, even when we are wronged, we are still obligated to do and be right in action and spirit. Though our natural tendency is to “call down fire from heaven” upon those who have wronged, offended, or hurt us, we need to remember that our calling is to find a way to help, heal, and resolve these issues through a good spirit and humble heart.
A bad spirit toward others guarantees several hurtful things:
* It ensures that the injury between us and the one who hurt us has little chance of being healed.
* It is also a sure way to develop a hard heart.
* it will always be a hindrance to our ability to follow Christ.
* A bad spirit after an offense only adds insult to injury and gives the devil an opportunity to make a bad situation worse.
For these reasons, and a host of positive ones, Jesus calls upon us to guard our hearts and spirits and to return kindness for evil. A good spirit fosters within us a soft and humble heart. It creates an atmosphere where healing and grace can be fostered. It also frees us from a self-imposed bondage that has the potential to greatly defile. The Lord rebuked James and John for having a harsh and negative spirit in the face of offense. What about you? Can you say your spirit toward others is everything God wants it to be? Can you hear His still, small voice rebuking you for a tendency to “call down fire” on others? Do you know what spirit you are of? We must guard our hearts and spirits so that we might be able to say we are following the example of Christ.
“For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, threatened not, but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously.” 1 Peter 2:21-23