Pursuing Peace

Has anyone ever disappointed you?

"Of course," is the obvious answer. So here's a better question.

Have you ever been disappointed in yourself for how you responded to disappointment?

I have. Not so long ago, I remember reeling with frustration and hurt because of something someone close to me had done.  And I did what many do.

I thought about it. A lot.

Then in my quiet time with the Lord, He did what He often does.

He took me to a scripture I wasn't planning to read or study that day.

In Ephesians 4:1-3, Paul teaches that we are to "walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”

Well, this immediately made the angst in me disappear. A calm assurance flooded me.

First, conviction came. I mean, how could it not? Here are verses 2 and 3 in the Amplified version:

“Living as becomes you] with complete lowliness of mind (humility) and meekness (unselfishness, gentleness, mildness), with patience, bearing with one another and making allowances because you love one another. Be eager and strive earnestly to guard and keep the harmony and oneness of [and produced by] the Spirit in the binding power of peace.

I knew instantly that my heart wasn't right and I was grieved that I'd developed such a haughty attitude in such a short period of time.

It was all that thinking I'd been doing without consulting the Word about it! Our minds can turn disappointment into offense in a nano second. Then it becomes all too easy, to forget that we've disappointed people before too.

The beauty and power of scripture is that it doesn't bring condemnation to the believer. It brings conviction, correction and guidance when we need it.

He may have me in the throws of powerful conviction, but I am, at the same time, utterly assured of His great love and tenderness for me. He loves me. He's not rejecting me. He's correcting me because He cares for me.

The duality of conviction and assurance brings freedom in and of itself. His kindness leads us to repentance (Romans 2:4). And repentance is ultimately what brings us into relationship with God through Christ Jesus.

With my heart now humbled, I could see in the passage what He expected from me, what my part was in addressing the situation....to have humbleness of mind, to be enduringly patient. He also gave me a goal that was more important than the one I had. Mine was to make sure this person understood what they did and tried not to do it again! God's goal for me was to stay in peace with them.

When we find ourselves on the receiving end of disappointment, we need only to respond in the way He instructs and leave the outcome to Him, knowing He is the keeper of our souls.

Now that's freedom, my friend. That's freedom.