Something happened to me yesterday that made me very angry. As I was driving to the store, I stopped at a red light and noticed a group of teenagers on the opposite corner where I was planning on turning. As the light turned green, and I started off one of the teenagers suddenly walked right in front of me. I was forced to slam on my brakes. I looked at the young man and raised my arms in a “I almost hit you” motion. He just stared back at me blankly, and made a very rude gesture at me. I couldn’t believe my eyes! And while I was ranting and raving in my mind at the injustice of it all, I heard a quiet, little voice speak to me from my spirit.
The quiet voice said, “You have no idea what this young man’s life is like” As I pondered this thought, I realized that indeed, I didn’t know anything about this young man. As I started to calm down, a scripture verse came to mind. Colossians 3:13 (NLT) says:
“Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.”
While it is easy to get angry at people when they offend us, we have to remember that we aren’t perfect either. As I thought about this revelation, I realized that I didn’t respond with the love and compassion that God shows us. Was my reaction to this seemingly thoughtless act understandable? Yes, it was. However, I realized that my thoughts did not mirror the love that the Lord has for me. It showed me that I still had a long way to go to be able to be a witness of God’s love to others.
So, can we change our thought life? No, not by ourselves – we need help from the Holy Spirit to do this. Ephesians 4:22-24 (NLT) tells us to:
“…throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.”
The death of Jesus on the cross made it possible for us to put on a new nature of righteousness. When we react with anger when we are offended, this is an attitude we learned because we live in a fallen and sinful world. If we truly want to be witnesses of God’s love to the world, we need the Holy Spirit’s help. I feel that this can be done by walking in a closer relationship with Jesus our Lord and Saviour. We can only change with the Lord’s help. Remember that when we draw closer to the Lord, He draws closer to us.