Are Negative Personality Traits An Excuse to Sin?

For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren,  Hebrews 2:11

Our backgrounds, childhoods, upbringing can affect our personality traits. But does this necessarily have to hurt our walk with the Lord? Sometimes it can. God never tempts any man toward sin.  The fault lies in our own desires and temptation from Satan. God allows us to see our personal weaknesses so that we may better understand ourselves and as a result,  lay these undesirable characteristics at the feet of Jesus.

God sees all of our issues: our need for attention, our coldness toward people, our shyness, our tendencies to be aggressive, our suspicious and mistrustful eyes, our stubbornness, or avoidance of communication and conflicts, our exaggerations, our need to emulate others, our desire to exalt ourselves, our insecurities with ourselves, our hastiness, our passivity, or our controlling nature.  All are shortcomings that God wants us to eradicate from our lives. All are areas to which God does not turn a blind eye. When God creates situations that show us the negative side of our personality, it is for our growth as a believer.  We have loving God that shepherds our spiritual development.

Yet, after the situation has passed, we should examine why the struggle  with our personality happened in the first place: “Why did I overreact to that question?”  “Why did I assume the other person was wrong?”  “Why was I hurt by this situation?” If we are unwilling to seek God for the answers to these questions, we will only have a shallow Christian experience and not the deeper walk that God wants us to enjoy.

For example, a conflict between people is inevitable, but it doesn’t have to degenerate into catastrophic damage. Disturbances in relationships with the people around us often happen when differing views collide.  The collision can be the result of opposite perceptions.  People’s backgrounds and past experiences can affect how they view day-to-day situations. The way they think, the way they react to things or perceive things or the words that come out of their mouths. Someone who gets frustrated or gives up easily, for example, may need more encouragement to find a job or overcome a lingering trial because they lack perseverance. He or she doesn’t see things through to the end and quits too soon.  That person may struggle more to complete a task than someone who regularly sticks to his or her guns. God sees this weakness, however, and will send that person through areas that will try his or her stamina in that particular area. He will put that person in conflicts where he or she has to stay the course and see things through to the end without complaining.

Personality traits can hinder accomplishing goals.  Someone who gets frustrated or gives up easily, for example, may need more encouragement to find a job or overcome a lingering spiritual battle because they lack perseverance. He or she doesn’t see things through to the end and quits too soon.  That person may struggle more to complete a simple task than someone who regularly sticks to his or her guns. God sees this weakness, however, and will send that person through areas that will try his or her stamina. He will put that person in situations and conflicts where he or she has to stay the course and see things through to the end without complaining.

Christians even after being forgiven of all their sin, can hold onto behaviors such as laziness, undue criticism of others, controlling behaviors, perfectionism, stinginess, over-sensitiveness, stubbornness,  mistrust of others, argumentative behavior or chronic impatience for a variety of reasons having to do with their backgrounds. Although it is essential to get to the bottom of our personality issues, our background should never be an excuse for sinful behavior.  To sin, you have to make a choice.  In order to keep doing what’s right, the Christian must recognize and push back against the wrong that presents itself through the flesh.

God will come in through the sanctifying experience and give us the power to face these character killers, cleanse us and transform our personality where he will not be ashamed to call us brethren.

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Can Oppression Make You Crazy?

Surely oppression maketh a wise man mad; and a gift destroyeth the heart.

Ecc 7:7 (KJV)

I had never considered this scripture before but it is filled with understanding. Trust me, I will probably be meditating on this for a long time.  Not to excuse crazy behavior, but because I never realized the depths to which oppression can drive a person.

Extortion is a special type of oppression, but in some versions of the bible, the Hebrew word simply rendered Oppression.   To be clear, oppression is being unjustly treated or controlled, especially over a length of time.  This may send anyone over the edge.  God made the human psyche to have free will and not be controlled.  When a person is controlled in everything they do or not allowed to exercise their abilities or gifts, it can make them act out of normal character.  It can cause them to break ranks from the norm.

I believe God wants us to have the understanding for people that have been oppressed.  To expect a group of people or a person to stay under oppressive systems or a person to continue to stay in an oppressive situation is unreasonable.  When God sends us through trials and difficulties, he never allows this just as an exercise in cruelty.  On the spiritual side, it is a controlled situation.  God will get us out of it when He’s ready.

God realizes that persecutions, tyranny, confinement is a punishment that’s against our natural creation. He does not mean for us to stay oppressed.  Even the wisest and humblest person can be affected.

The second part of this scripture says that  “a gift destroyeth the heart”, which is often rendered as “a gift can bribe the heart”.   People can change their principles and integrity for money or support. They get bought out because of something they want.  As Christians, this is something we should never do.  We should keep our beliefs and integrity even if the entire world turns against us, as long as we are leaning on scripture.

The moral of all this:  good men can be turned and we have to be careful to not allow ourselves to be moved from a godly path in life.

Mistake or Sin?

images-28Is it a mistake or a sin?  As part of spiritual awareness, I’ve often had to come to grips with this question. My heart conditions and motivation when I did was wrong.  Is there a difference between a mistake and a sin?  So what is the difference?  This is like asking was it an error or did I err?  These two words may sound alike but are slightly different concepts. In either case, the results are the same.  I need to address my morality problems.  When people seek spiritual healing, inevitably there is a “come to Jesus” moment when they realize that a lot of their problems are about themselves and not the other guy.  To some, apologizing looms as a daunting task.  I never could understand the uber-fear of apologizing or admitting to a wrong.  The best Christian is an honest Christian. Continue reading