justbarelymadeit

We will get there…

Tag: disappointment

On Christian Character

“I think you may judge of a man’s character by the persons whose affection he seeks. If you find a man seeking only the affection of those who are great, depend upon it he is ambitious and self-seeking; but when you observe that a man seeks the affection of those who can do nothing for him, but for whom he must do everything, you know that he is not seeking himself, but that pure benevolence sways his heart.” – Charles Spurgeon, 1876

Understanding the character of those around you profoundly shapes your view of the world. This is intimately connected to understanding your own character as well. One cannot look at someone else’s failings or accomplishments without seeing themselves in regard to that. I truly believe this. When I encounter a man of low character, I usually do not think myself higher than him. I often find myself first asking, “Where is that weakness in me, and what should I do about it?” I don’t always follow through with actionable items, but sometimes I do. I think Character is one of the easiest things to fake, and hardest things to prove.

In the Western Evangelical church we often assume church membership equates to character, but sadly it does not. The church is nothing if not filled with broken sinful people. In some senses, that’s ok. Christ did not come to call the righteous, but instead the sinners (Mark 2:17). In other senses though, it can lead to a lot of pitfalls for those who are not wary.

In my experience, working with people seems to be one of the easiest ways to learn about their character. I have often found myself finishing an interesting spiritual conversation with a religious coworker only to turn around and be treated badly by them. It leaves me a little boggled, and confused. Though I do know, that once this happens I now have a quick and firm response for the next time they wish to give me moral or spiritual advice:

“I do not wish to discuss moral or spiritual matters with you, as you have shown through your character that any advice on the above from you will either be false or toxic.”
While this does well to protect me from fools, it is only the first step. From there I must then ask myself about my character, and where my shortcomings are, in hopes that I may avoid hearing this same thing from another. Worse yet, that I may avoid failing my God.

Disappointment’s Role in Doubt

How many times have heard the story of a Christian leader who confesses to some dark sin, or worse yet, is found out without confession? Sometimes it is someone you recognize, someone you respect, or even someone who you know. How disappointing, you had thought better of them and here they are, letting all of Christendom down, especially in such a public and damaging way. That disappointment can lead you into a whole host of doubt filled thoughts. Why, if that person can fall or show a lack of sanctification, then who else hasn’t confessed or been caught yet? Questions even begin to arise like “are there any genuine Christians out there?”
One very important response to this thought process is to be self-reflective, rather than other critical. Unless you are involved directly in the event there is little directly that you have to do with the situation. Thus, little is gained by dwelling on it for long. Instead, use it as a reminder to look at your own life and with the mindset of “there but by the grace of God, go I!” or perhaps even, “there am I, help me Lord.” Use it as an opportunity to approach God rather than doubt Him.
Disappointment can come in many other forms as well. Anytime an expectation is dashed or not met, a shocked frustration is sure to follow, and you will be tasked with sorting out all of the fallout. A supposed Spiritual certainty unfulfilled, a door closed when you really wanted it open, a period of spiritual dryness when what you craved was renewal. All of these can lead to thoughts of frustration and doubt. But, many can be addressed by changing our perspective. Looking at God’s grace and provision in what He has given you instead of entitlement in what He has withheld or neglected to give you. Realize you do not understand everything and trust in the One who made all things and sustains all things.

Stephen Mattson

Inspiration. Faith. Christian Culture. Writing.

This Odd House

Cultivating Conversations on Family & Faith

banal.musings

We will get there...

The Tello Family Blog

about life and ministry

BlinkPacking

The art of cramming as much adventure as possible into as tiny a schedule as possible, spending as little as possible while roaming as far as possible.

Contract Apparel Sewing in MN - Low minimum cut and sew

a low-overhead fashion factory for emerging brands

the softer side of cynical

We will get there...

Home

We will get there...