Your attitude. Most of us don't like that subject. We would rather discuss the bad attitudes of our co-workers, spouse or kids. Their bad attitudes and behaviors often offend us. And once we are offended, watch out! There are usually two responses: aggressiveness or passive-aggressiveness. Both are toxic attitude poison, so let's talk about your attitude.
I believe God gave us control over two things: freewill in choices and our attitude. The two are directly linked. We always get the choice of whether or not we act like a jerk. Unfortunately, getting offended by others blinds us to our behavior. After all, we are the victim in this. "Do you know what they did to me" is how we package it in our mind. Once we have adopted that mindset, hello bad attitude.
It says in James that a poison tongue can turn a ship or start a fire. But Jesus said that out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. If we are turning ships or starting fires, it is because we have a heart condition (aka bad attitude). These things grieve the Spirit of God.
I know that because it's in Ephesians 4:30-31. It says we can grieve the Holy Spirit by our behavior. And the practices mentioned that grieve Him all have to do with your attitude. Bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words and slander (gossip). Uh oh! It also says we are to be kind and forgiving of one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven us.
Here is my translation of those verses: God knows offenses will come, or He wouldn't tell you to forgive others. So when they occur, forgive people because God has forgiven you. If you choose instead to get angry and/or trash-talk them, it hurts God's heart. Jesus died for them just as much as He did for you. You have been given way too much forgiveness to be hoarding offenses.
Seriously, folks, this is Christianity 101. For some reason, this basic concept is tossed on the trash heap as soon as someone hurts or angers us. The body of Christ is not supposed to be walking around with a bad attitude, verbally rehearsing the hurts we have received to anyone who might listen. We are called to be light in a dark world, and to show others that there is a better way.
I'm not writing this to shame you; I want to help. After all, no one wants to be known as the fun-sucker in the room. We all know that a stinky attitude can suck the good vibes out of any home or workplace. If you walk into a room and the atmosphere gets tense, you may need an attitude check. If you are using your bad attitude to punish others, you definitely need an attitude check!
So, in the coming weeks, we are going to discuss offenses and how to get an attitude makeover, courtesy of the Holy Spirit.
• CRIS CORZINE-MCCLOSKEY is director of Caring Counseling Ministries, 11264 Route 37 in Marion, which provides counseling from a Biblical perspective. For an appointment, call (618) 997-2129.