Articles by Stan Dean

Disposition

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Well it seems like there is one day a year that is dedicated to about everything. For example, October 15 is now set aside for “grouches.” That’s right! October 15 is National Grouch Day.
I would like to think that no one would participate, but surely some will- - whether they are aware of the day or not. In fact, I ran into some folks a few days ago that apparently started the holiday early!


What is a grouch? A dictionary definition is someone who is “habitually irritable; ill-tempered; a person who complains a lot or is often in a bad mood.” To be completely honest, I imagine all of us have had our “grouch moments.” When we are sick, tired or stressed it is not difficult to slip into an attitude that stinks. Of course, I do not say that to excuse bad behavior of myself or anyone else. But there is a difference between isolated instances of irritability and being a card-carrying, lifetime member of the league of grouches.


The Bible teaches that disposition, for the most part, is choice. For example, Solomon wrote, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7). Further, Jesus taught, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things” (Matthew 12:34, 35).
I have heard objections by some folks who try to justify themselves with statements like: “If you had to put up with what I put up with, you would be grouchy too.” There is no doubt that some people carry a very heavy burden in life. My point is that allowing those things to create a bitter outlook on life only makes the situation worse.


Consider the apostle Paul. He was such a devoted servant of Christ, yet he had to endure many hardships that he did not deserve (cf. 2 Corinthians 11:23ff). But we have to appreciate that he did not allow bitter circumstances to cause a bitter disposition. In his words, “I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content” (Philippians 4:11).


Thus, Christianity and “grouch-anity” do not mix. May we be like Paul and let the “mind of Christ” dwell within us at all times (cf. Philippians 2:5).


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