Our theme for this month: “Character and Integrity”
Our Bible verse for today: “Therefore, so that I would not exalt myself, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger from Satan to torment me so that I would not exalt myself. Concerning this, I pleaded with the Lord three times that it would leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is perfected in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:7-9 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “Handle it with grace and dignity”
Oftentimes a measure of our character is our ability to handle difficult situations with grace and dignity. That’s especially true if our difficult situation involves personal suffering. The Apostle Paul had what he called “a thorn in the flesh”. We don’t know for sure what that was, but Bible scholars are in agreement that it was a physical disability of some sort and that it lasted the rest of his life. Many think it was an eye disease that robbed him of most of his sight and therefore made it necessary for Paul to rely on others to read and write for him.
Paul said that God gave him that affliction intentionally to humble him, to take some of the fire out of him. That was necessary because in his life as a Pharisee Paul was insufferably arrogant and self-righteous. But such an attitude wouldn’t do for an Apostle of Jesus Christ, so God gave him an affliction to humble him. Paul then learned to live a full and rewarding life in spite of his limitations. He handled it with grace and dignity, and he just got on with life.
That’s what we need to do too. If your situation can be solved, then take the steps necessary to solve it. If it can’t be solved completely, then take steps to mitigate the impact of it. Solve it if you can or, if it’s going to last, do what you can to mitigate the limitations brought by it. But then with grace and dignity get on with life. Live the best life you can under the circumstances as they are.
Seems like a no-brainer, right? Why would you do anything less than that, right? But that’s not how everyone handles their problems. When faced with a long-term or life-altering situation some people whimper about how unfair it is. They talk endlessly about their problems to anyone who will listen and they make one excuse after another for why they can’t do things. They become self-absorbed and they live with a victim mentality and a defeated attitude.
Such an approach to life isn’t an option for Christians because it’s not an approach that honors Jesus – and it’s certainly not a way of handling your problems that other people will admire or be inspired by. Men and women of strong character don’t act like that.
We all have problems and limitations, but we don’t have to allow them to define us or to defeat us. We deal with life as it is, not as we wish it was, and we resolve to do the best we can under the circumstances as they are. More about this tomorrow.