When I was in first grade, I was bullied day after day. The bully yelled at me, hit me, threatened me, called me names, demeaned me, and even broke my pencils. I lived in daily fear and frustration. She was the meanest in both words and actions. I struggled with how to deal with her barrage of angry words and violence. I was stuck between the family rule to never, ever hit a female and the fear that if I did hit her she might beat me up, and then my dad would punish me also. It wasn’t worth the two whippings. I wanted to do something to make it stop.

Jesus was disrespected, slapped, punched, mocked, lied about, humiliated, and eventually murdered. How did Jesus handle it? We sing that Jesus “could have called 10,000 angels,” and it is true. He also could have hurt or killed everyone who hurt him. The Being who spoke the world into existence, put the sun and moon into place, and created life could have stopped the mistreatment at any time. He shows incredible self-control by not retaliating, and He shows love by extending forgiveness to those who hurt Him. How could He do that?

Paul tells us, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23). The blessing of a life of walking with God is His Spirit, and one of the blessings of that relationship is self-control. Through His help we can have and show self-control in the most difficult circumstances. Self-control in one sense is allowing the Spirit and Word of God to control us, responding to hurt the way Jesus did.

Today I will…allow God’s Word, Jesus’ example, and His Spirit to control and determine how I respond to those who hurt me.