What can we excuse in another person as a quirk in their personality and what do we hold each other accountable to as believers? Have you ever heard someone say: “He just has an abrasive personality, he doesn’t mean anything by it” or “She is kind of a worry wort, she can’t help it”? Ought we to permit the “abrasive personality” or the “worry wort” mentality as unchangeable traits in another or should we admonish each other to a higher calling?
I have often heard statements such as these and let them pass but in review of the fruits of the Spirit recently I began to reconsider. For example, if the Spirit of God in us is to produce gentleness (Eph. 6:22), can we really overlook abrasiveness (ungentleness) as a fluke character trait? My concern is that we may allow sin to grow in our lives and in the lives of others by attributing it to personality.
Now I do want to affirm that many of these traits are ones we have had since a young age or even born with. However, this does not mean the traits are acceptable. As the Psalmist said: “I was born into sin.” (Psalm 51:5). We are all brought forth into iniquity possessing specific flaws that manifest more strongly in one than another. That is why our Father prunes the branches in our lives that don’t bear fruit (John 15:2). The spiritual fruit may be stunted and should be allowed to grow freely!
Below are some examples of excusing fruitlessness as personality quirks. Some of these may not necessarily be a sin issue but I believe all of them can be used as excuses for a sin issue. My hope is that your prayerful consideration of these behaviors may allow God’s Spirit to produce a great harvest in your life and those around you!
|We may say …||God says the fruit of the Spirit is …|
|“I’m not an emotional sort”
“He’s not the sort to express his feelings”
“She’s not a people person”
|“I’m better at seeing the downsides of a situation”
“He’s a pessimist”
“She is more the serious sort”
|“I’m a rebel at heart”
“He loves to challenge other people”
“She is a hard person to get along with”
|“I cut off relationships that drag me down’
“He has high standards for others”
“She expects others to get it right the first time”
|“I’m not the sort to follow the rules of politeness”
“He doesn’t feel the need to be politically correct”
“She says what comes out of her mouth, she doesn’t walk on eggshells”
|“I make my own rules”
“He does things his own way”
“She isn’t everyone’s cup of tea”
|“I’m a laid-back sort, I try not to make commitments”
“He makes his own schedule”
“She marches to the beat of a different drum”
|“I don’t mince words”
“He calls like he sees it”
“She has an abrasive personality”
|“I try to be true to myself, I do what I want”
“He goes where the wind blows”
“She is impulsive”