When I was a young man, I was somewhat pudgy (some would say chunky, still others said, “Fat!”). My appearance was something that was a constant source of grief for me. I was made fun of and even at times would lash out in anger at others.
I learned later in life that the pain I suffered at the hands of others because of my appearance made me tremendously insecure about a great many things in my life. I would take a simple look by someone as an insult. I was afraid to go certain places like the gym, the pool, and other places where I stood the chance to be laughed at or scorned. And any comment from anyone about me could be misconstrued to be an open slam directed straight at me.
As I have grown older, however, I am learning (and I’ve not yet arrived) and even improving on having a greater security about my life. I have learned that my self-worth is not about outward appearances. My worth is based in the one I follow and the one who has saved me. Forgiveness of sin and the grace of God has set me free.
One thing I’ve learned is that when I am offended by something someone else says or does, it is really my choice to do so. The old phrase, “You made me mad” is really a misnomer. The truth of that phrase should read, “I allowed you to make me mad.” Offense is always a choice!
That doesn’t mean we don’t get hurt or offended sometimes. It does mean that when those offenses come, as followers of Christ, we have security enough to have confidence in Jesus to take care of us. My choice to not allow my feelings to show in a negative way is not a strength I possess on my own. It is a gift of and one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit.
I claim no special measure of the Spirit, just the confidence in knowing that He is ever present with me and I do not have to choose the wrong things.