Footsteps in Faith: We should embrace the value of learning self-control

| September 30, 2016 | 0 Comments

ch-kimChaplain (Maj.) Bill Kim
8th Military Police Brigade
8th Theater Sustainment Command
The average cost of rehabilitating a seal after the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska was $80,000. Then, at a special ceremony, two of the most expensively saved animals were being released back into the wild amid cheers and applause from onlookers. A minute later, in full view, a killer whale ate them both.

This story illustrates something that we all dread, one of “those” kind of days. It is a day where it doesn’t pay to get out of bed. It’s a day when nothing is right and everything is wrong. It’s a day that even the smallest of troubles can ruin everything.

I suppose it’s quite safe to assume that all of us have had one of “those” days. Of course, what I speak of is a day where one bad issue leads to another and eventually it forms the ultimate chain of negative events that causes us to lose complete control.

It’s as if we were suddenly selected to be a contestant on “One Versus 7.2 billion.” All matters seem not to go correctly or as planned, and if that isn’t bad enough, Murphy’s Law somehow finds a way to completely destroy the day.

It’s true that some negative experiences may be something beyond our control or perhaps even the fault of another. However, do we often take the time to look inward at ourselves? How often is it that we do so?

Footsteps in FaithAvoid blame
We are all guilty of playing the “blame game,” rather than taking the time to recognize our own faults, many of which may actually have caused some of the day’s negativity. It is a game that is too easy to play, and one that we often wish to play for instant gratification. In other words, it feels more rewarding to blame someone or something else for our problems.

An old adage perhaps states it best: “If you could kick the person responsible for most of your troubles in the backside, you wouldn’t be able to sit down for two weeks.”

One such example is the use of our words. We are all able to remember times when the day would have passed by more peacefully if we had only kept quiet instead of verbally retaliating, especially when being disciplined.

One of the fruits of the Spirit stated in Galatians 5:23 is self-control. If anyone finds himself or herself emotionally charged during a heated argument, it’s best to exhibit self-control. It’s best to keep silent, in order to prevent the situation from becoming far worse.

Yet, there are times when words are necessary to correct a situation. Proper disciplining requires self-control. We must learn to correct others without resorting to anger alone. We must avoid hurling insults and making character attacks.

On the other hand, if we are the recipients of discipline, we must exhibit self-control from becoming too defensive. We must remember that in both cases, when discipline is properly administered, it is a critique on the poem, not the poet.

Proverbs 15:1 reminds us that “a soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”

It is for certain that we will face confrontation again at some point in the future. What we must remember then is to choose our words wisely.

God bestowed the gift of wisdom upon each of us, and if we fail to use it, we will only go to prove the old adage from Abraham Lincoln: “It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.”
(Editor’s note: Kim is the brigade chaplain at 8th MPs.)  

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Category: Community, Footsteps in Faith, Standing Columns

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