“Spiritual maturity often gets tested in the tiny things that pop up every day. These tests come in the form of little annoyances, such as an ill-timed comment that someone makes, a misplaced phone, overstuffed drawers, annoying quirks, or cupboard doors left open.”- Bob Merritt
“Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.”- James 1:19-20 (NIV)
In Chapter 1 (“What I Never Knew About the New Life”) of Done With That, Bob Merritt asks if something’s ever stunned you so much that words failed you. Perhaps something awful happened that shook you to the core.
For Pastor Merritt, that shocking event came in the form of an ultimatum from his church board. The board at Eagle Brook Church told Pastor Merritt that he must go for personal counseling. If he refused, his tenure as lead pastor would come to an end. Emotionally and physically exhausted from leading the church as it grew from 350 members to over ten thousand in just twelve years, the demands on Pastor Merritt’s life exceeded his ability to keep up.
Gifted with a second chance, the author shepherded Eagle Brook through the next ten amazing years. However, more chinks in his armor started to show. As a result, the church board asked Pastor Merritt to go through a second round of counseling. Consequently, Bob learned you’re never done with that. You must continue to grow, learn, and deal with your weaknesses.
Above all, Pastor Merritt’s counselor took him through an evaluation grid with four quadrants: integrity, responsibility, forgiveness, and compassion. Because these four character qualities give you a sense of wholeness.
Hence, it’s important to let yourself – and others – off the hook. And, as the author observes, that’s a wonderful thing. As Brent Hansen points out in his book Unoffendable, it’s so exhausting to police people or serve as judge and jury.
Today’s question: How do little annoyances test your spiritual maturity? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: the annotated bibliography of The Louder Song