Why do we react the way we do? I’m sure you have “blown up” about something or seen someone “fall to pieces” over something, and asked yourself, “Now why was that such a big deal?” The person we are often determines what our attitude or “bent” will be towards other people or circumstances. In the times of crisis or tiredness, we often “react” and then apologize for the stress we are under. But it is those times which reveal (and build) character. It is how we react in those times of confrontation which shows our true maturity. Sadly, this can be discouraging!
When I consistently read the Word and pray about each thing that might potentially “torpedo” my day, I find I have a better attitude towards those ‘interruptions.’ But when I allow the tyranny of the urgent to become the “important” rather than just urgent, I become susceptible to wrong reactions. God knows this and the book of Psalms states the principle in this way:
To the faithful you show yourself faithful, to the blameless you show yourself blameless, to the pure you show yourself pure, but to the crooked you show yourself shrewd. Psalms 18:25-26
This principle is in play again in the book of Revelation where those martyred during the tribulation (who have every right to react strongly) serve the Lord day and night in His temple and proclaim, “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne and to the Lamb” (Revelation 7:10).
But those who have observed the terrible pain and suffering of the wrath of God on the inhabitants of the earth during the tribulation due to their willful disobedience react quite differently:
“The rest of mankind that were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands; they did not stop worshiping demons, and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone, and wood—idols that cannot see or hear or walk. Nor did they repent of their murders, their magic arts, their sexual immorality or their thefts.” Revelation 9:20-21
Those who should repent the most — because of their character of sinful indulgence, and attitude of rebellion and defiance — do not. Their reaction is not based on what they have seen, but their predisposed condition and attitude.
Lord, help us to dedicate ourselves to character and attitude development in our own lives and in the lives of those we live with and minister to daily.
Attitude Check! How is your attitude? What does your reaction to a difficult issue reveal? Do some prayer and proactive planning to build the right attitude into tomorrow and the days that follow.