We should seek to live in such a way that we not only break the chain of dysfunction, ensuring the best percentage chance of a good life for those nearest to us, but we also need to model love, compassion, and understanding. It’s easier to talk about it than it is to model it, but with God’s help we can make a positive difference. There are no perfect ones out there for sure, but our goal is to be constantly growing, and be aware of our behaviors, and the effect we have in our circles.
If we are aware, we can be working on what we need to be working on. We’ll know what to ask for help with. I don’t want to charge through life, like a wrecking ball performing demolition work – leaving an unpleasant path behind. If I’m assuming I have stellar behavior, but have become blinded to my actions, attitudes, emotions, and resulting behavior, there is sure to be negative fallout. I would almost certainly say and do things that would be insensitive and hurtful to my wife, my kids, or my employees. It seems like the minute I think I have it all together, is about the same time I get a wake-up call. I remember one bank CEO I met for the first time. When I was ushered into his office he was on the phone viciously reaming someone out at the tire store. I think he turned it up a notch when I walked in as he now had an audience. Over the next couple of years, I saw such horrible behavior I had to wonder if he had any idea how he looked. He was the exception to the rule over the years. Most guys and leaders are really nice people. But this guy controlled his wife, wasn’t liked by his employees, and I’m guessing his behavior went off the rails years ago – unchecked. The owner of the bank later told me, “I don’t know why I kept that guy for so long, nobody could stand him.” I had to laugh.
We need to be willing to avail ourselves to the observations and insight of a mentor, a friend, a family member. How about your wife? If she called you out on something, are you prone to be defensive or receptive? Often times, she is the one who will nail it, and if you would allow her to speak into your life, she could be influential in changing the trajectory of your behavior, as well as the trajectory of your family. When that relationship works, it seems a lot of things work. There may be one of the guys who you can trust to help you check yourself from time to time. Find someone you can partner up with, and measure your compassion and understanding quotient. Take some measurements on behaviors that may not be all that becoming to you. Perhaps you were unaware, but after taking inventory, you can turn some things around. It starts with desiring to be honest with yourself on tough issues.
Here’s a yardstick for us to look at. Would you consider yourself patient when dealing with a tough situation? Do you find yourself tempted to boast? Would others mistake your energy or personality for arrogance? If you look back at different scenarios this past year, do you find yourself needing to get your own way? Are you easily irritable, or resentful?
Every one of these questions has to do with our behavior. Every one of these issues is also discussed in one paragraph of the famous chapter Paul wrote on the subject of love in 1 Corinthians 13.
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. – 1 Corinthians 13:4-5
So we need to examine ourselves. Unchecked, we will be responsible for hurt feelings and misunderstanding. Every one of these issues comes after me on a regular basis. I have to watch what I say so I’m not being boastful. I have to be considerate of my wife’s desires, or I’ll just be getting my way again. And how is it that the one I love the most, can also irritate me the most and set me off? Have you ever noticed that our spouses are the recipients of our love, yet sometimes no one can get under your skin by a comment or a look, like your wife? And vice versa. Doesn’t make sense, but it’s the way it is. So we have to work hard to not get irritated, and to provide understanding. We need to be aware of our behavior. We need to involve God’s grace.
After Hours exists for the sake of men growing in integrity and purpose. Personal growth is dynamic and impacts behavior. So let’s be serious about asking God to breathe life into our lives! None of us do much good apart from God helping us. Without his grace, we fail every single day. But his grace makes up for what we lack. If we’ll just ask for God to help us, we’ll make great progress. And that’s all we need to concern ourselves with. Asking for his help, and be trending in the right direction. We need to believe his grace is enough – and nothing can take the place of an active relationship with Jesus.
If we are unfaithful, he remains faithful, for he cannot deny who he is. – 2 Timothy 2:13