So, dear Reader, today has been tough. Well, to be honest, most of it hasn't, but I had another tough moment. And guess who it involved? My brother. If you guessed right, you get a gold star.
Little brothers are like... the puppies of the human world. When they want to be, they're cute, funny, and sweet. But most of the time it seems like they just make too much noise, play a little too rough, and need a bath. I'm not saying that I don't like my brother. That's not it at all. He's just... a little brother. If you have one, you know what I mean.
As I usually do, this morning during my prayers I asked for peace, love, and patience. I'd been doing pretty well with him, so I didn't really think much about the prayer or put too much fervency in it. A half hour later he came tromping down the stairs in his sweats (the ones my sister and I threaten to burn every so often) and opened the fridge. I made an off-hand comment about how we had left-overs. He responded with how he was going to eat a sandwich. I replied a little more insistently that the left-overs really needed eaten. By this time I was a little annoyed that he wasn't listening to me, so when he replied rather roughly that he was going to eat a sandwich, I lost it. The manner in which he replied, in my mind, was unacceptable, so I immediately went into a tirade about... well, you don't really need to know. Suffice it to say, I am not proud of my response.
My brother is the only person who can get under my skin like that. Maybe you have someone in your life who does, too. Maybe not a little brother, but someone. You get along just fine with everyone else but them. You don't know what it is about them, but it's something. Everyone else can walk all over you, and you'll forgive the offense fairly easily, but if they attempt to do so... watch out! It's Go Time. And then you find yourself eating Humble Pie.
This morning I came to realize that not only was I sinning against God and my brother with my reaction, but I was doing something that no man or woman should allow themselves to do:
I lowered my dignity.
I don't mean snobbishness or self-importance. I mean dignity. The type of dignity that Proverbs 31:25 talks about.
Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.Dictionary.com describes it as:
Bearing, conduct, or speech indicative of self-respect or appreciation of the formality or gravity of an occasion or situation. Nobility or elevation of character; worthiness.I lowered my dignity. The very dignity that God wants of all his children. The dignity that says, "I am a child of the King, and He made me in his image, and I will respect that image." Every time we stoop to the point of lowering that dignity, we don't let God work. When our conduct toward someone is bad, we tell them that they, too, do not need to aspire to the dignity that God wants them to have. We give them permission to be less than they could be.
We are children of the King; nobility. And we should act like it.
So, to top all of that off, immediately after my altercation with my brother, my eyes landed on 2 Timothy 2:23,24.
Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil,Boy, did I feel chastised.
Now, don't worry. I asked my brother's forgiveness for my abominable behavior. And I added those verses to my memory verse list. Needless to say, I think I have learned my lesson. Now, whether I make the same mistake again, I guess we'll see. But God's patient, and I know He'll give me the chance to work that part of my character out. He never gives up on His children.
He is a God of second chances, after all.
So what about you? Who's the difficult person in your life? How have you found is the best way to keep your dignity during conflict? I look forward to your answers!