Christian Living


What kind of fruit are you producing?

CBNMoney.com "But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control." - Galatians 5:22


I'm writing to you this week from 35,000 feet above the ground. I'm on my way to Denver for a few appearances. My morning got off to a rough start, but everything happens for a reason: It appears my run-ins with rude people in the airport were to serve as a lesson that I can share in this week's e-newsletter. I hope it inspires you to consider ways you can incorporate more kindness and patience into your daily life.

While walking in front of my mother and 12 year-old brother through the maze created by roped-off lines leading to the security screening area at Washington Dulles airport this morning, my mother called to me, "Val, let's stop so that we can let this man by." I turned to see a hurried, 40-something man squeeze by in a huff, "Thank you," he said, looking annoyed. We had been walking at a reasonable pace and I was careful not to walk too fast because my mother must carefully concentrate to remain balanced while she is walking. A brain aneurysm in 2001, and resulting brain surgery, initially stole nearly all of her physical abilities - walking, talking, standing, swallowing and seeing clearly. Today, by God's grace, she has recovered all of those abilities, but walking and talking still take more effort for her than for the average person. We are patiently and prayerfully anticipating a full recovery of her balance and speech.

"He was nearly breathing down my neck," my mom said after the man passed, "And he kept murmuring loud enough for me to hear him, 'This woman is holding up everybody. I wish she would hurry up!' " A few seconds later, I found myself right behind him, waiting patiently as he "held everybody up" to get his laptop unpacked for the security screening machine. I looked him in the eye and calmly said, "My mother had a stroke. She is disabled and simply cannot walk as fast as the rest of us. We're all in a hurry, but we don't have to rude to one another." He looked at me, speechless, but made no response.

I was fuming, but I didn't show it. Ironically, as I reflected on those few brief moments, I recognized that I too, have had moments when I am easily annoyed with others without considering what they might be going through. While I was tempted to judge him, I had to take a closer look at myself. It can be so tempting for us to get impatient with others, especially when we are stressed or feel in a hurry. This week, I want to remind you to have mercy on those who seem to make your life "inconvenient" in some way. Perhaps it is someone in your office who rubs you the wrong way or the person driving in front of you who does not move as quickly as you'd like. Take a deep breath. Be patient. In fact, go a step beyond patience and choose kindness. You never know what others are dealing with.

In a world where most of us feel the pressure of life's hectic pace on a daily basis, it can be easy to operate as though your goals, challenges and concerns are all that matters. That neighbor who always seems in a bad mood may be dealing with an abusive spouse. The clerk who seems rude may be mourning the loss of a loved one, for all you know. The co-worker who doesn't get the work done as fast as you do just might not be as talented and quick as you. You never know what others are going through. And even if they are not dealing with anything at all, give others a break. Have mercy. Be patient. Practice kindness. God has mercy on us daily. Let's renew our commitment to having mercy on those who cross our paths.

My challenge to you this week:
Take action! When you find yourself easily annoyed or impatient this week, take a deep breath and make a decision to be patient and kind.

Journaling assignment:
Read and meditate on Galatians 5:22. Ask yourself:
When do I find myself easily annoyed or impatient? What could I do to replace annoyance and impatience with kindness and patience?

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A sought-after life coach and speaker, Valorie Burton’s purpose is inspiring people to live more fulfilling, less stressful lives.  She is the author of Listen to Your Life, What’s Really Holding You Back? and Rich Minds, Rich Rewards

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