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  • Writer's picturesonnyholmes

Rash ointment

This is going to sound like a geezer lament. Anyway, if I could have my inner wiring altered I would engineer some deliberative into my strength set. As it is, at least according to the Clifton Strength Finder inventory, deliberative is thirty-fourth on my list. That is, last. What that means is that I'm usually rash, quick to speak.

Deliberate people, according to Strength Finder 2.0 (Tom Rath, Gallup Press, 2007), are careful, vigilant, and basically private. They are fairly serious and bring a level of reserve to the table. Life isn't a popularity contest to them but a minefield that requires a guarded, thoughful approach. They're not generally effusive. Since I have none, that is, I register at the bottom of the class in being deliberative, I'm pretty much the opposite. Risks, some danger, living on the edge are more my format. And, yes, there's this rash.

So, if being careful and deliberate isn't my nature, or yours, how in the world can people with rash deal effectively with others. Pay attention to James, the practical one. He indicates that being on guard with our speech and our actions is a spiritual discipline if not a natural bent.

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to

anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Therefore put

away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted

word, which is able to save your souls.

James 1:19-21, ESV

My grandmother Vera Holmes used to tell me, "God gave you two ears and one mouth so you could listen twice as much as you talk." Evidently she had diagnosed my rash early in life and was familiar with the lesson plan from James.

In a broader sense, James also wrote about living intentionally, which is an expression of being more deliberate. He wrote,

But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no

hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.

James 1:25, ESV

The discipline here is twofold: (1) taking the time to look into, or study something, and (2) persevering in it and acting with it. Rash people tend to move quickly and by-pass the depth of studying a situation and then taking action. When we're rash, we tend to take action, then do the study or say oops!

It's another truth. Everything in the world doesn't operate in conjunction with our natural strengths, God given talents, or spiritual gifts. None of us is wired with every single strength, gift, or talent. It's one of the reasons we need other people. But, knowing how the world works we also must realize that some matters, outside of our own tendencies, must be disciplined into our lives. So, we have to learn them.

Ever thought about the similarity in the words discipline and disciple? It's no coincidence that these two important concepts derive from the same Latin root. Our task as his church is to make disciples of all nations, and that is the process of bringing people under the discipline of Christ. This means bringing body, mind, and spirit under the Lordship of Christ. Our natural attitudes and abilities are then superintended by him. So, what may be short-comings in a personal strength array or talent pool may be factored into our lives through discipline.

Discipline is sub-text of self-control. And, that is a fruit of the spirit that should naturally grow out of my spiritual life. Galatians 5:22-23 gives us this list---

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness,

faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

So, there it is! My naturally low supply of deliberative must be overcome by the discipline of bringing my mind, will, emotions, and body under the a master other than me. I can't use a low deliberative register as an excuse for the rash that so troubles me. And, yes, the people around me. The ointment for rash is self-controlled discipline.

Also, a biblical partnership with someone heavy in the areas of deliberation and analysis. Wouldn't you know it? Harriet, my wife for more than forty-four years is high deliberative and analytical, her two top strengths. She's been an additional layer of ointment for my rash. But, numero uno is the fruit of his spirit growing in me, offering a hand with the trouble spots of impulsiveness, quick draw decisions, pop-off responses, and motion before thought.

Solomon wrote many lessons about haste and impulsiveness. He had learned the dangers of brisk words, hurried decisions, flashes of temper, and a rash spirit. One of his verses caught my attention---

A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.

Proverbs 25:28, ESV

The ointment for rash is self-control. That's a spiritual discipline even us geezers must learn.

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