I had failed. I recently have been reading about spiritual virtues and finished the topic of humility. I should have had my guard up knowing that usually God teaches me about something right before I am about to be tested on it.
A coworker sent an accusatory message and immediately my defenses went up. The individual had not done any research, just assumed something about me that wasn't true. The tone of the message put me on the defensive. Instead of doing what I should have done and ask God for direction, I did what I'm sure most of us have done at some time or another...fired back a reply that carried a tone born out of anger instead of waiting for emotions to calm.
As I reflected on the interaction later that day, God reminded me of the lessons I had been reading on humility. Immediately the anger subsided, and I was left with a feeling of frustration at myself for allowing the situation to escalate instead of turning to God for direction. Repentance and a prayer of forgiveness followed God's promptings.
God reminded me of Matthew 5:44, "But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you." I certainly wasn't loving, blessing, doing good, or praying for this coworker at the time. But as God always does, He prompts those who will listen to choose His way over our fleshly natural response.
Although, I don't call this coworker an enemy by any means, my response should be the same as what Jesus commands in the above verse. When I am offended, I need to put down that offense immediately, respond in love, and take God's way instead of reacting in my fleshly response.
This is a lesson I have repeated on several occasions. I would love for this to be the last time, meaning I will always respond God's way in the future. I pray that is so. But if I don't, I know God will continue to teach me, as long as I allow Him the room to speak correction into my life.
Are you challenged as I am in responding in the flesh instead of in God's unconditional love? If so, take some time to reflect, pray, and ask God to help you walk in humility the next time an offense lands in your path. There is less mess to clean up when we choose His way.