A Year of Smiles – Day 215

Reason to SMILE #215: SELF-CONTROL

They say,” Confession is good for the soul.” I don’t know who “they” are but I have to agree with them. So…

I have a confession and I’m afraid that once I reveal my transgression, you will no longer think the same of me. However, since I’m not sure how most of you think of me anyway (because rarely does anyone ever comment on my blog posts), I suppose my revelation won’t make much difference – other than ease my conscience. So, ready or not, here goes.

Today, this little old man came into my office (My “day job” is working for an attorney.). He asked the receptionist for a copy of a deed that was prepared for him by the attorney. The receptionist asked if I could make a copy and I responded with, “I can do one better. I have the original recorded deed to give him.” Everything was hunky dory until I handed the deed to this old man. I watched as he examined it then looked right past me to the receptionist and said, “This is not the original.” She couldn’t help him. I could yet he choose to speak to her. I interrupted an explained that the document I handed to him was, indeed, the original. He argued to the receptionist further.

After listening to his argument, I began to realize that by “original”, he meant an old deed from 1949 that he gave to the attorney to help him prepare the most recent deed. “Ah!” I thought. “I can handle that.” I found what he was looking for and gave it to him. Again, I watched him inspect the 1949 deed and then compare it to the recent deed.

“This isn’t right,” he said as he looked up to me. He was sitting. I was standing beside him. He went on a few minutes about names of trustees on the ’49 deed and names on the 2017 deed. “These don’t match,” he commented.

“I assure you the deed is correct,” I replied getting quite agitated since I knew the attorney spent a great amount of time with this man discovering which trustees from 1949 were still living and who the new trustees were now. Apparently, this ornery old man was the only living trustee remaining of his little church. (Yes, a church – another reason I feel so terrible.)

My assurance did not satisfy this man. He handed me the 2017 deed and then pointed to the names on the 1949 deed. He continued his objections about the names of the trustees becoming more gruff and condescending with each argument Finally, he said, “You didn’t do what I asked you to do this morning.”

At this point, I knew that I was dealing with someone whose capacity for reason was miniscule, most likely due to his age, I believe (and I mean nothing negative by that – it happens), because he asked us to prepare that deed and he had signed that deed two weeks earlier. Still, I continued my attempt to explain that the recent deed prepared for him was exactly what he had requested. I couldn’t stop myself. This man was talking to me like I was an idiot and I was bound and determined to shut him down. (Yep. Right there. I am ashamed.)

Our argument ended with one final attempt to make this man understand. I pointed to the new deed to explain once again why the names did not match the ’49 deed. He interrupted me with, “Don’t point at that deed. I just need you to do your job!” I had had enough so I replied, ” I need you to talk to the attorney. Make an appointment!” Then I walked away – an action I should have taken much, much earlier.

If you’ve actually read down to this point, you might be thinking, “Okay, KJ, what did you do that was so horrible? Anyone in your position would have been similarly aggravated and defensive, especially if he was treating you so poorly.”

Yes. I know but he was an old man. Time has affected his mind like it does to so many and may some day do to me. I should have been understanding, calm and patient like I am with my kids at church. Instead, I only wanted to smack the condescending look off of his face and kick him out the door! He completely infuriated me. And…

I let him.

Maybe that’s the real reason I feel so badly. I let the words and actions of another dictate not only my words and my actions but also my emotions and my mental state. Rather than exhibiting some self-control, I allowed this man’s ugly demeanor to take control. It was not my finest moments, folks. I certainly was not being a shining example of the love and patience my Heavenly Father shows me day in and day out. Sigh.

There you have it. My confession of the day. I’m not proud of myself. My actions were certainly nothing to SMILE about but there’s always a gleam of hope. I know for certain I’ll be seeing this man, again. (He made an appointment! 😉 ) Next time, I’ll remember that I don’t have to give control of my actions, my words and my emotions to others. God has given me a spirit of self-control. I simple have to remember to use it!

**But y’all seriously need to pray for me cause this man really gets my goat! 😉


2 Timothy 1:7 (NLT) “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love and self-discipline.”

I was reminded of this by Rae over at Real as the Streets. You should go check her out!

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And….They Died

To my four year old, our short road trip seemed to be taking forever.  He was anxious and ready to get out of the car.  Trying to make the time pass a little more quickly, I suggested that we tell stories.  I began the story.  Big brother continued our creative tale and then it was little brother’s turn to finish.  Without hesitation, he exclaimed, “And…they died!”  It was obvious that our story telling was not improving his mood but we laughed and asked him to tell us another story.  He did and you’ll never guess how it ended.  OK, you probably will – “And….they died.”

I was reminded of this funny (but a bit disturbing) story telling as I watched a Bible video with my church kids.  The video told the story of Ananias and Sapphira from Acts chapter 5.  Remember those two?  This husband and wife sold some land then gave a portion of their earnings to the church.  What a great thing to do!  But instead of telling the truth about their earnings, they lied to Peter telling him that they were giving all that they made from the sale and not just a portion.  Guess what the result of their sin, lying to God, was.  Yep, you guessed it – “And….they died!”  They dropped dead on the spot.

You should have seen the faces of my kids as they watched Ananias drop dead after telling a lie.  Their little jaws fell to the floor.  Then after Sapphira came on the scene, told the same lie and died, their jaws hit the floor again.  It was amazing to see the wheels churning in their minds and to hear all the questions that arose from this story of sin and consequences.   Could I really die if I tell a lie?  What if no one knows I lied?  What an awesome opportunity it was to share just how serious God takes sin and to emphasize that even when we think we’ve gotten away with something, God knows because God looks at our hearts.

It’s all about our character.  How are you seen by others?  Who are you truly – on the inside?  Are you that “good” person who’s just like everyone else?  Everyone lies a little; everyone cheats, right?  Are you that person who no one trusts, someone who is constantly deceptive and only looks out for yourself?  Or are you that person who seeks to live out your life to honor and glorify God, someone who displays the fruit of the spirit every day and in every situation?  You see, as Christians, our character matters because our character should be a reflection of God’s character.

“Look!” you say, “I understand this whole godly character thing but I’m not going to die if I tell a lie.”  Maybe not.  God constantly offers mercy and forgiveness.  But what about your testimony to others?  What about the trust that others have in you?  The more you willingly sin, the less of an impact your testimony will have, the less the world will trust you and the less the world will trust in the God you represent. What could be worse than the death of a Christian’s testimony and character?

Not long after our Bible lesson, a mom came to pick up her little ones.  Her sweet daughter immediately fessed up to a lie she had told that morning.  It was a lie her mom never would have discovered but she knew she had to confess and ask forgiveness.  That, my friends, is godly character.  What about you?  Do you need to “fess up” to God and start working on your character?  Or are you satisfied to know that the end of your story, the story of your testimony and character, just might be “and.…they died”?