More meditation inspired by A Discourse On Meekness and Quietness of Spirit, Matthew Henry (1662-1714)
It is most natural for men to offend and provoke. His deeply tainted soul predisposes him to offence, rather than encouragement or brotherly kindness.
Foolish creatures as we are will offend.
While here in this world, we must not expect to interact with angels or the spirits of justified men & women made perfect; no, we are obliged to live among creatures that are:
* Irritable and discontented
* Lazy and irresponsible
* Quick to anger
* Self-centered, seeking advantage over us
* Distressed, and thus self-absorbed
What’s to like? Thus, we are commanded to love (that is, be patient and kind toward all, encourage them and seek peace with them if they will have it).
So, shouldn’t we daily expect disappointments and injuries in all of our relationships to men & women. And won’t this low view of men lead us to that high view and intense adoration of Jesus Christ, who never disappoints or injures us?
Even the best men have their defects while we journey here in this imperfect state; every man has some blind spots and that trait that is still ugly by his own self-deceit. The harmony, even between Christian friends and co-laborers, is at times disturbed with sudden, jarring notes. Why, then, are we year after year surprised by these outward displays of inner corruption?
Instead of being angry, we should continuously remind ourselves, “what could I expect but provocation from tainted and fallen men?” Foolish creatures as we are will offend and be offended, and by God’s grace we will receive our share of offense.
God too expects provocation from men. He gives this as a reason for his patience towards a provoking world, because He know it is deep in our fallen natures to be continually provoking Him and others. The Lord God says, "I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake; for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth." God declared through Isaiah, " You have never heard, you have never known, from of old your ear has not been opened. For I knew that you would surely deal treacherously, and that from before birth you were called a rebel." What can be expected from men or women if they neglect to labor and fervently pray for sanctification?
In imitation of Christ, shouldn’t we be restrained in our ill feelings toward men knowing their frail frames? Don’t marvel or fret when men act like men. Consider their immense infirmity and colossal corruption while heartily forbearing & forgiving their offences, and by this soulful generosity preserve the meekness and quietness of our own spirits.