“A famous preacher had a friend who was well known for his short temper. One day, at a party, he asked this friend to help him serve some drinks. The preacher himself poured the drinks, deliberately filling several of the glasses a bit too full. He then passed the tray to his friend. As they walked into the room to distribute the drinks, he accidentally-on-purpose bumped into the friend, causing the tray to jiggle and some of the drinks to slosh over the brim and spill. ‘There you are, you see,’ said the preacher. ‘When you’re jolted, what spills out is whatever is filling you.’ When you’re suddenly put to the test and don’t have the time to think about how you’re coming across, your real nature will come out.”
After You Believe – N.T. Wright – The Transformation of Character – p. 28
I’ve been thinking about myself lately. Particularly when Sari or Macie does something “not good” and anger wells up inside of me… and not the good “parental” kind of anger… just mad anger. I’m asking myself the question, why am I responding this way? I wonder what is “filling me.”
And this is not just about short fuses, it is really about how our character comes out in every day life. It is easy to force yourself to respond correctly in the moment (“just don’t get mad this time with Macie…”). It’s quite another to TRAIN yourself to respond correctly/wisely/kingdom-of-God-like ALL THE TIME. The author of the story above goes on to talk about how Christian character is slowly and deliberately formed over a long period of time so that whenever the moment of “crisis” comes, it is second nature to respond the way God wants… or more specifically the kingdom of God is made alive in us (“your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” Matthew 6:10) as a witness to this world.
Interesting… I wonder if God “jolts” us to help us recognize what is “in” us? And perhaps to correct or encourage what we are allowing to fill our hearts and minds.
Photo credit: freeimages.com Wayne Langley