A bachelor’s life is full of activity, adventure and fun. However it also has its own challenges and associated responsibilities. Several of my bachelor friends and I stayed together in a rented house. We took turns to run the kitchen, that involved purchasing provisions & groceries, as a maid cooked and cleaned the place. One problem we routinely faced was the task of getting the gas cylinders refilled
Once when I was in-charge, the problem became acute. Adding to our woes was the cost of transportation to get a cylinder, which had to be within our monthly budget. Usually, we call up the gas-agency and enquire about the availability. That particular day, my friend who passed by the gas-agency office, informed me that gas cylinder was available. I embarked on this mission.
It took quite some time to hire a vehicle. When I reached their godown, they informed me that filled gas cylinders were exhausted. I went over to the nearby office and enquired. The simple reply was that the stocks were spent. In spite of my persistence, there was no success. Feeling cheated and upset, I left the place controlling my anger and not knowing what to do. Valuable time and money were spent in vain.
On reaching my residence, I poured out my woes to a friend, who called the gas agency and enquired. When the officer denied the incident, I grabbed the phone and started speaking to him. The officer re-collected and acknowledged my visit and tried to justify his stand, soon it turned into an argument. Unable to control myself, I quarrelled with him and angrily disconnected the phone. After a while, I began to calm down and take control. It was then that the Holy Spirit reminded me of my morning devotions.
I had learnt two things during devotions that morning. “Often, we justify ourselves by telling that the other person is wrong. We feel that our stand is just and right. We may support this with Biblical quotations such as, ‘be shrewd as snakes and innocent as doves, (Matthew 10:16 NIV).’ I heard God telling me that, Jesus, did not get justice. He was fully right in what he did. He never did any wrong. Yet, he suffered on the cross.
Another passage in Philippians 4:4 that grabbed my attention was “Let your gentleness be evident to ALL. (NIV)” It is quite easy for me to be gentle with my fellow believer who has the mind of Christ. He/she holds the similar moral and spiritual value that I hold. Paul wrote this epistle from prison, making the emphasis of the passage still greater. To be gentle when we undergo unjust treatment is not easy. But the word ALL does not leave any one or any situation out of this list. We should be gentle to ALL; including the gas officer as well as the auto driver.
Gentleness is one of the fruits of the Spirit (Gal.5:23). It is also mentioned as one of the qualities of a servant of God in I Timothy 3:3. Convicted by the Holy Spirit, I repented and confessed before God for not letting His gentleness to rule over me.
Then I began to equip myself to meet God’s standards in dealing with similar situations. I began to study the Bible and decided to do the following.
Always think that “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me” (Gal. 2:20, NIV).
View each tensed situation as a God given opportunity to show gentleness (…in all things God works for the good of those who love him, … Romans 8:28, NIV).
Before getting upset with a person, try to see the issue from the perspective of the other person (Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others – Philippians 2:4, NIV).
Do not try to compare myself with other ‘Christians’. (Each one should test his/her own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else, for each one should carry his own load –Galatians 6:4-5, NIV).
Do not expect others to respond to me in a – in friendly way, when I behave in a gentle way (do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good – Romans 12:21, NIV).
At the beginning of every day, ask the Lord to give me grace to be gentle.
Instead of asking God to save me from any tensed situation, I ask him to fill me with the power of the Holy Spirit to handle the situation (Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him – James 1:12, NIV).
Learn to be more careful and gentle, especially in places and with people I have behaved harshly on earlier occasions.
Very soon, a similar incident happened within the next two months. I went to refill the gas cylinder after checking at the gas office. Once again, no one was available at the godown to help me. Thankfully I had learnt my lesson and was well prepared. I let God handle the situation. God helped me to be gentle. I went back home without a quarrel and came back after some days to get the gas cylinder refilled!