Friday, September 2, 2011

Exemplary Behavior

in all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified, sound in speech which is beyond reproach, so that the opponent will be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us. (Titus 2:7-8 NAS)

It was running late, and Tricia was feeling a little stressed. While on a busy boulevard, she tailgated a car, apparently driven by a very cautious man. When the light suddenly turned yellow, the man stopped at the crosswalk, even though he could have beaten the red light by accelerating through the intersection.

Tricia immediately hit the roof and the horn, screaming in frustration on missing her chance to get through the intersection. While she was still in mid-rant, a serious looking police officer tapped on her window and ordered her to exit her car with her hands up. The officer then took her to the police station where Tricia was searched, fingerprinted, photographed, and placed in a cell.

After a couple of hours, a policeman approached the cell and opened the door. Tricia was escorted back to the booking desk where the arresting officer was waiting with her personal effects.

“I'm very sorry for this mistake,” said the arresting officer. “You see, I pulled up behind your car while you were blowing your horn, flipping the guy off in front of you, and cussing a blue streak at him. I noticed the 'Choose Life' license plate holder of your vehicle, the 'What Would Jesus Do' and the 'Follow Me to Sunday School' bumper stickers, and the chrome plated Christian fish emblem on the trunk. Naturally, I assumed you had stolen the car.”

That was a fictional story adapted from the article ‘Mistaken Identity’ written by Henry W Farkas for Although intended for humor reading, the story illustrates true to life what can happen when we do not handle our behavior, stress or temper properly. Momentary lapse of composure during situations such as this can have adverse repercussion, especially if someone who is about to receive the Lord sees our not so nice behavior.

Like Tricia in the story, do we sometimes flare up when things are not going smoothly or according to the way we want it? Does our behavior reflect our faith in Christ even when feeling stressed? Are we exemplary of what it means by bearing the fruit of the Holy Spirit in patience, kindness, goodness and self-control, or are we a stumbling block to others (Galatians 5:22-23; 1 Corinthians 8:9)? Is our lack of knowledge of the Scriptures or the power of God the reason we are doing the wrong things or in error at times (Matthew 22:29; Mark 12:24)?

If our answers are uncertain or indicating a weakness in living out Christ in our lives, then we should be careful how we exercise our freedom, that we may not become stumbling blocks to the weak (1 Corinthians 8:9). We should determine this—not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in another person's way (Romans 14:13). Since we belong to Christ Jesus, and our flesh with its passions have been crucified, we should live and walk by the Spirit (Galatians 5:24-25). Above all, we should in all things show ourselves to be examples of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified, sound in speech, and beyond reproach, having nothing bad others can say about us (Titus 2:7-8).

Let us who are weary or weak therefore come to God, and He will grant us strength, power, love, and self-discipline (Isaiah 40:29; 2 Timothy 1:7). Wait upon the LORD and He will renew us, that we may soar on wings like eagles, run and not get tired, walk and not become weary (Isaiah 40:31).

Dear Lord, forgive us for the times we fail to respond correctly when under stress, and for causing others to doubt the faith because of our not so nice behavior. Guide us therefore Lord by Your Spirit that we may be careful how we exercise our freedom. Help us not lay any obstacle or stumbling block in the way of another person, especially the ones who have yet to believe in You or have just received You. Remind us Lord to always consider what You would have done in a situation we may be facing now, that we may wisely choose the right path and glorify Your name.

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