I often find myself disappointed by the behavior of those I love. When someone claims to be a born again believer, I expect them to think, speak, and act as such. Doesn't God's Word say that all who name the name of Christ should depart from iniquity (2 Tim. 2:19)? In a way, that makes me like the lost of this world who see the imperfections of believers, and question whether or not they are really saved. I think to myself, "How could a genuine believer do that?!" It is so disappointing when members of my family, or members of my church, are found to be practicing sin; some of them have even been guilty of adultery, fornication, theft, drug addiction, alcoholism, lying . . . the list goes on and on.
However, I am most often disappointed in myself, because, like the Apostle Paul, I struggle to live up to the example of Christ. Paul wrote, "For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I" (Rom. 7:15). And, like Paul, I see myself as a "wretched man" (Rom. 7:24). And sadly, while I know God forgives me, my disappointment in myself also reveals that I am suffering from the sin of pride; I honestly never expected that I would think those thoughts, say those horrible things, or act in such a hateful way toward others. And, to make things even more humiliating, I find others are often not quite so forgiving either. As a result, I have hurt others, broken relationships, and ruined the opportunity to be a witness for Christ.
My problem is, I keep forgetting born again believers are "works in progress." Paul wrote that he was "confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you (and me) will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ" (Phil. 1:6). We need to remember our part in the "metamorphosis" is to cooperate with God by allowing ourselves to be transformed into Christ's likeness (Rom. 12:1-2). We will not be "butterflies" until we are standing in His presence (1 Jn. 3:2).
The fact that I am disappointed in myself is really a good sign. It means that I realize I am not what I should be, that I still need to rely upon Christ's righteousness instead of my own, and that, as a sinner, I can relate to those in my family and in my church who are also works in progress. It keeps me from judging "another Man's servant" (Rom. 14:4), and compels me to pray for their forgiveness from God, just as I pray for my forgiveness from the Undisappointed One!
The only way one can be disappointed in others is if he forgets to look in the mirror!