“My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you (James 1:19-21).”
Last week I was sitting in a men’s group discussing manhood. We had all arrived at our church at 6 am to watch a video and then discuss it.
In my small group, we were discussing the notion made by the speaker at the beginning of the video that no man is perfect. After watching the rest of the video, however, we had felt that this is what was being required of us.
In our eyes we were expected to be all things to all men and women. Metaphors were used. We were to be kings, lovers and warriors. The inclination of at least a couple of us in the group, the older fogeys, was,”I thought he said we didn’t have to be perfect.”
In my little male brain, though, I have figured out that this is what I am expecting of other people. I want them to be perfect. So if that is my expectation of others, then why shouldn’t I expect that of myself?
Part of my problem is my life is that I do. I expect myself to be perfect. Subliminally, as I said above, I require it of others, also.
I think I have set myself up for a fall in a fallen world. No one in any part of my life is perfect.
Want some examples? My kids lose my prized possessions. My coworkers don’t keep the rules although I am expected to. A driver breaks the law and then yells at me over my driving.
My response to all this injustice? I get teed off. I seek revenge. I require high expectations of others, and when they don’t meet them I get spout off in rage.
This is no way to live. Walking around with bulging veins coming out of my neck is counterproductive.
It’s time for a little perspective. First, I have to realize I am not the cat’s meow myself. Who am I to yell at another person?
“There is not a righteous man on earth
who does what is right and never sins.
Do not pay attention to every word people say,
or you may hear your servant cursing you-
for you know in your heart
that many times you yourself have cursed others (Ecclesiastes 7:20-22).”
Second, I am not the arbitrator in all cases. There are bosses, police officers and counselors there to settle disputes in their realms of expertise and authority. That’s what they get paid for.
Third, when Adam and Eve took a bite of that apple, the world fell into a state of collapse. This place is under a curse.
In fact, God subjected the world to this fallen state in hope of redemption, so who am I to try and correct it (Ecclesiastes 7:13)? One day it will all be resolved under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
In the meantime, while I am waiting for that day, I need to take a chill pill when I am treated badly and when others don’t jump through my hoops.
Solomon also wrote:
” Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit,
for anger resides in the lap of fools (Ecclesiastes 7:9).”
There you have it. I’m a dope if I let this fallen world get to me.
Ultimately, only God has the right to be ticked off. It’s better I let Him take care of his realm on His own, without my hypocritical help.
He doesn’t need me to right all the wrongs in this world. He’s in charge of cleaning up this mess we’ve made of things.
In the end, all of the dirt will come out in His wash. My job is to be the best “me” I can be and not require perfection from others, or myself.