I read a humorous story about a little girl who was making angry faces at a bulldog. Her mother noticed and asked her to stop. The girl said, “But Mom, he started it!”

In one sense, the girl was right. A bulldog naturally looks tough and mean. But the girl gained nothing by competing with him in making faces.

So too, the person who thinks he must return every angry look he sees, or repay any hurtful deed that is directed toward him, will have a never-ending and profitless job. In fact, in the end he is the one who will suffer the most.

As heirs of the grace of God, we should be gracious in our attitude toward others. The spirit of the world says, “Get even with those who mistreat you.” The Spirit of Christ says, “Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you” (Mt. 5:44).

If you want to know how spiritual you are, ask yourself, “What is my attitude toward those who mistreat me? Am I kind, considerate, and loving in my words and actions toward them?”

To live like Christ is not natural; it’s supernatural. Only as we yield to the Holy Spirit can we ever hope to exhibit the life of Christ.