Good Temper

Do you know any truly grumpy, angry people?  Those who find fault in everyone around them?  The next “ingredient” in Henry Drummond’s list, based on the “Spectrum of Love” in 1 Corinthians 13, is Good Temper.  He spent more time writing about this element than any other.  Why?  Well, maybe because there’s almost nothing worse than a person who “shreds” you emotionally, who looks for faults to criticize, and who loudly speaks their mind with intent to harm you.  I’m thankful that my husband and children are not this kind of person, but I’ve known a few that are.  Here are the shocking words of Drummond’s thoughts about this subject:

The next ingredient is a very remarkable one:  Good Temper.  “Love is not easy provoked.”  Nothing could be more striking than to find this here.  We are inclined to look upon bad temper as a very harmless weakness.  We speak of it as a mere infirmity of nature, a family failing, a matter of temperament, not a thing to take into very serious account in estimating a man’s character.  And yet here, right in the heart of this analysis of love, it finds a place; and the Bible again and again returns to condemn it as one of the most destructive elements in human nature.

The peculiarity of ill temper is that it is the vice of the virtuous.  It is often the one blot on an otherwise noble character.  You know men who are all but perfect, and women who would be entirely perfect, but for an easily ruffled, quick-tempered, or “touchy” disposition.  This compatibility of ill temper with high moral character is one of the strangest and saddest problems of ethics.  The truth is there are two great classes of sins–sins of the Body, and sins of the Disposition.  The Prodigal Son may be taken as a type of the first, the Elder Brother of the second.  Now, society has no doubt whatever as to which of these is the worse.  Its brand falls, without challenge, upon the Prodigal.  But are we right?  We have no balance to weigh one another’s sins, and coarser and finer are but human words; but faults in the higher nature may be less venial than those in the lower, and to the eye of Him who is Love, a sin against Love may seem a hundred times more base.  No form of vice, not wordiness, not greed of gold, not drunkenness itself, does more to un-Christianize society than evil temper.  For embittering life, for breaking up communities, for destroying the most sacred relationships, for devastating homes, for withering up men and women, for taking the bloom of childhood, in short, for sheer gratuitous misery-producing power, this influence stands alone.  Look at the Elder Brother, moral, hard-working, patient, dutiful–let him get all credit for his virtues–look at this man, this baby sulking outside his own father’s door.  “He was angry,” we read, “and would not go in.”  Look at the effect upon the father, upon the servants, upon the happiness of the guests.  Judge of the effect upon the Prodigal–and how many prodigals are kept out of the Kingdom of God by the unlovely character of those who profess to be inside?  Analyze, as a study in Temper, the thunder-cloud as it gathers upon the Elder-Brother’s brow.  What is it made of?  Jealousy, anger, pride, uncharity, cruelty, self-righteousness, touchiness, doggedness, sullenness,–these are the ingredients of this dark and loveless soul.  In varying proportions, also, these are the ingredients of all ill temper.  Judge if such sins of the disposition are not worse to live in, and for others to live with, than sins of the body.  Did Christ indeed not answer the question Himself when He said, “I say unto you, that the publicans and the harlots go into the Kingdom of Heaven before you?”  There is really no place in Heaven for a disposition like this.  A man with such a mood could only make Heaven miserable for all the people in it.  Except, therefore, such a man be born again, he cannot, he simply cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven.  For it is perfectly certain–and you will not misunderstand me–that to enter Heaven a man must take it with him.

You will see then why Temper is significant.  It is not in what it is alone, but in what it reveals.  This is why I take the liberty now of speaking of it with such unusual plainness.  It is a test for love, a symptom, a revelation of an unloving nature at bottom.  It is the intermittent fever which bespeaks unintermittent disease within; the occasional bubble escaping to the surface which betrays some rottenness underneath; a sample of the most hidden products of the soul dropped involuntarily when off one’s guard; in a word, the lightning form of a hundred hideous and un-Christian sins.  For a want of patience, a want of kindness, a want of generosity, a want of courtesy, a want of unselfishness, all are instantaneously symbolized in one flash of Temper.

Hence it is not enough to deal with the Temper.  We must go to the source, and change the inmost nature, and the angry humors will die away of themselves.  Souls are made sweet not by taking the acid fluids out, but by putting something in–a great Love, a new Spirit, the Spirit of Christ.  Christ, the Spirit of Christ, interpenetrating ours, sweetens, purifies, transforms all.  This only can eradicate what is wrong, work a chemical change, renovate and regenerate, and rehabilitate the inner man.  Will-power does not change men.  Time does not change men.  Christ does.  Therefore “Let that mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.”  Some of us have not much time to lose.  Remember, once more, that this is a matter of life or death.  I cannot help speaking urgently, for myself, for yourselves.  “Whoso shall offend one of these little ones, which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.”  That is to say, it is the deliberate verdict of the Lord Jesus that it is better to to live than not to love.  It is better not to live than not to love.

Courtesy and Unselfishness

How do you feel around someone who doesn’t treat you in a gentle way, who is discourteous and only thinking of self?  How much harm it must put upon their families, who have to deal with it all the time.  Henry Drummond’s book, The Greatest Thing in the World, describes a beautiful Spectrum of Love.  Today’s ingredients are courtesy and unselfishness:

The fifth ingredient is a somewhat strange one to find in this summum bonum:  Courtesy.  This is Love in society, Love in relation to etiquette.  “Love doth not behave itself unseemly.”  Politeness has been defined as love in trifles.  Courtesy is said to be love in little things.  And the one secret of politeness is to love.  Love cannot behave itself unseemly.  You can put the most untutored persons into the highest society, and if they have a reservoir of Love in their heart, they will not behave themselves unseemly.  

You know the meaning of the word “gentleman.”  It means a gentle man–a man who does things gently with love.  And that is the whole art and mystery of it.  The gentle man cannot in the nature of things do an ungentle, and ungentlemanly thing.  The ungentle soul, the inconsiderate, unsympathetic nature cannot do anything else.  “Love doth not behave itself unseemly.”

Unselfishness.  “Love seeketh not her own.”  It is not hard to give up our rights.  They are often external.  The difficult thing is to give up ourselves.  Nothing is a hardship to Love, and nothing is hard.  I believe that Christ’s “yoke” is easy.  Christ’s “yoke” is just His way of taking life.  And I believe it is an easier way than any other.  I believe it is a happier way than any other.  The most obvious lesson in Christ’s teaching is that there is no happiness in having and getting anything, but only in giving.  I repeat, there is no happiness in having or in getting, but only in giving.  And half the world is on the wrong scent in pursuit of happiness. They think it consists in having and getting, and in being served by others.  It consists in giving, and in serving others.  He that would be great among you, said Christ, let him serve.  He that would be happy, let him remember that there is but one way–it is more blessed, it is more happy, to give than to receive.

Generosity and Humility

Don’t you love being around a generous and humble person, one who would always put your needs first, who would defer to you at every turn? One who truly loves you?  The third and fourth ingredients of Henry Drummond’s “Spectrum of Love” are quoted below, from his book The Greatest Thing in the World:

Generosity.  “Love envieth not.”  This is love in competition with others.  Whenever you attempt a good work you will find other men doing the same kind of work, and probably doing it better.  Envy them not.  Envy is a feeling of ill-will to those who are in the same line as ourselves, a spirit of covetousness and detraction.  How little Christian work even is a protection against un-Christian feeling.  That most despicable of all the unworthy moods which cloud a Christian’s soul assuredly waits for us on the threshold of every work, unless we are fortified with this grace of magnanimity.  Only one thing truly need the Christian envy, the large, rich, generous soul which “envieth not.”

And then, having learned all that, you have to learn this further thing, Humility–to put a seal upon your lips and forget what you have done.  After you have been kind after Love has stolen forth into the world and done its beautiful work, go back into the shade again and say nothing about it.  Love hides even from itself.  Love waives even self-satisfaction. “Love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up.”

Patience and Kindness

Isn’t it refreshing and comfortable to be in the presence of patience and kindness?  This kind of person is not thinking of self.  You feel “safe” in their presence rather than attacked, ashamed or inadequate.  My previous post mentioned Henry Drummond’s book, The Greatest Thing in the World.  I admire how he described the Spectrum of Love, taken from 1 Corinthians 13.  The first two “ingredients” are Love and Patience:

Love is Patience.  This is the normal attitude of Love; Love passive, Love waiting to begin; not in a hurry; calm; ready to do its work when the summons comes, but meantime wearing the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit.  Love suffers long; beareth all things; believeth all things; hopeth all things.  For love understands, and therefore waits.

Kindness.  Love active.  Have you ever noticed how much of Christ’s life was spent in doing kind things–in merely doing kind things?  Run over it with that in view, and you will find that He spent a great proportion of His time simply in making people happy, in doing good turns to people.  There is only one thing greater than happiness in the world, and that is holiness; and it is not in our keeping; but what God has put in our power is the happiness of those about us, and that is largely to be secured by our being kind to them.  “The greatest thing,” says some one, “a man can do for his Heavenly Father is to be kind to some of His other children.”  I wonder why it is that we are not all kinder than we are?  How much the world needs it.  How easily it is done.  How instantaneously it acts.  How infallibly it is remembered.  How superabundantly it pays itself back–for there is no debtor in the world so honorable, so superbly honorable, as Love.  “Love never faileth.”  Love is success, Love is happiness, Love is life.  “Love I say, with Browning, “is energy of Life.”

There is a difference between trying to please and giving pleasure.  Give pleasure.  Lose no chance of giving pleasure.  For that is the ceaseless and anonymous triumph of a truly loving spirit.  “I shall pass through this world but once.  Any good thing therefore that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now.  Let me not defer it or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.”

Greatest of All

Don’t you love being in the presence of someone who cares about you?  Who is kind and loving?  I just read a tiny book by Henry Drummond called The Greatest Thing in the World.  He made some amazing statements, so I’m going to share from them over the next three weeks.  What is the “greatest of all?”  Love, of course!  I hadn’t planned to post this in the month of February, but it turns out to be perfect timing.  Here is a summary that I’ve selected from Drummond’s beautiful opening remarks:

Paul, in three verses, very short, gives us an amazing analysis of what this supreme thing is.  I ask you to look at it.  It is a compound thing, he tells us.  It is like light.  As you have seen a man of science take a beam of light and pass it through a crystal prism, as you have seen it come out on the other side of the prism broken up into its component colors–red, and  blue, and yellow, and violet, and orange, and all the colors of the rainbow–so Paul passes this thing, Love, through the magnificent prism of his inspired intellect and it comes out on the other side broken up into its elements.  And in these few words we have what one might call the Spectrum of Love, the Analysis of Love.  Will you observe what is elements are?  Will you notice that they have common names; that they are virtues which we hear about every day; that they are things which can be practiced by every man in every place in life; and how, by a multitude of small things and ordinary virtues, the supreme thing, the summum bonum, is made up.  The Spectrum of Love has nine ingredients:

Patience…….”Love suffereth long.”

Kindness…….”And is kind.”

Generosity…….”Love envieth not.”

Humility…….”Love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up.”

Courtesy…….”Doth not behave itself unseemly.”

Unselfishness…….”Seeketh not her own.”

Good Temper…….”Is not easily provoked.”

Guilelessness…….”Thinketh no evil.”

Sincerity…….”Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth.”

NEW Favorites

Today’s final post from the NEW (NorthEast Wyoming) Quilt Show are all personal favorites of mine.  The first one is a favorite, not necessarily in color, but in style; I’ve always wanted to make a quilt that is simply one gigantic, beautiful block!  However, the quilting really is what makes it so special.

These next few favorites caught my eye because of the bright color choices.

The final three quilts that made my “favorite” list follow here.  I like crazy quilts, as seen in the next quilt.

The next is an elaborate appliqué quilt that features old ships.  How cool is that?

This last one is far more complicated than you might imagine.  I think it’s beautiful and was done very well, and is something I could never do perfectly.

I hope you have enjoyed all these recent posts from the quilt show; Our son, Jeremy, and I enjoyed seeing them.  He had never been to a quilt show before, and of course had different “favorites” from mine.  He doesn’t quilt but he does have an appreciation for fine arts of all types, so we enjoyed seeing them together.




NEW Tributes

Today’s quilts from the NEW (NorthEast Wyoming) Quilt Show are special because they were made in tribute for someone special.  The first is in memory of a police officer who was killed in the line of duty.  I think this is a beautiful memorial to his life.

The next one was a senior graduation gift; I think it was very well designed.

The final three are Quilts of Valor, honoring those who served our country in the armed forces.  I think all of these were beautifully crafted.