by Verle L. Bell, M.D.

Two men leave the same housing development, drive through the same traffic to the same job at the same time. The only difference is Mr. A expects people to drive properly and believes that people are basically good.Mr B expects people to drive poorly mostly unaware of those around them and understands that people are basically messed up.

NOW which one A or B arrives at work upset and tense and spends the day getting more and more bothered when his boss is thoughtless and demanding and expresses no gratitude, when his coworkers don’t pull their fair share of the load?

The scriptures share that there is none righteous no not one. The heart is desperately wicked and we can’t even know our own heart. That our thoughts are not His thoughts nor are our ways his ways. There are ways that seem right to me and just lead to death.

Perhaps the most irrational thought possible is “HOW CAN PEOPLE BE THAT WAY?” They can be that way because they are just like I am, a sinner to the core.

When we learn to expect ourselves and others, in this sin plagued world, to drive badly and get away with slovenly work and not appreciate others; we are not so bothered when they, or we, act as expected . In fact we feel affirmed in the accuracy of our world view. When God’s grace and ways break through in the unsaved, due to the influence of Jesus’ thoughts on our society, or  due to the work of the Holy Spirit in our own lives–then we are “tickled pink” (as my mother would say). So I find that Mr. B, the one who expects negative behavior winds up less stressed.

When we understand our own uncanny ability to pick the wrong response every time; then we are more likely to catch ourselves responding badly and to seek in God’s word , and with the Spirit’s help, to find the right response and the power to yield my body members slaves to God and not to evil.

Remember: ALL scripture is given by God for 4 purposes. 1. That we might know what is the godly response to the current moment. 2. That we might be reproved “You tell me to do XYZ which means that I must naturally do the opposite to XYZ. The right way  would simply be to yield  my body members opposite of my natural inclination. You tell me not to do ABC so I must naturally to the opposite; so Lord help me to stop. 3. That we might find the tools and strength to change. 4. That we might move beyond quitting the negative response and find equipping for all good works. That we might not only find life but that we might find it abundantly

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