Wednesday, November 16, 2022

How am I Supposed to be Nice, When I Feel Lousy!

Woman with head down and words, how and I supposed to be nice when I'm sick?

Big Idea: God wants the Fruit of the Spirit at work in me always, even when I am sick, in pain or depressed.

I Get Grumpy

I get grumpy when I’m sick. My husband confirms I can sound harsher than I intend. I am working on acting nicer when I feel lousy. It’s a work in progress.

It must have been about 30 years ago. At 6 am someone insistently knocked at my door. I groaned. I had malaria. My head was killing me. I really didn’t want to get up,

I had to answer the door. I was the school nurse at a Bible Institute in West Africa. Maybe someone’s wife was having a baby. Or perhaps they had a serious cut.

“Good morning Mademoiselle,” the young man said. “I’m here to get vitamins please.”

I was not a happy camper. I was the one sick and they woke me at 6 am for vitamins? I read him the riot act. I had dispensary hours for this. This is not an emergency. Has he no respect for me?

Sheepishly he apologized but explained they were headed to his home village. His grandmother was weak and needed vitamins, he explained. Tylenol would be nice too.

Sigh. I had some on hand in my dispensary kit and gave them to him. But I reminded him of the usual dispensary hours.

The fruit of the Spirit is not conditional

As I indignantly went back to bed, I felt the nudging of the Holy Spirit. It sounded like this in my head. “Diane, you know the fruit of the Spirit in the Bible, right?”

“Yes, Lord.”

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Galatians 5:22-23 NLT

I continued to sense God telling me, “These characteristics are not conditional. They should not emerge only when you feel good. You should display them even when you are sick, even when people treat you unfairly, even when you are tired or overworked.”

This is not how I think. It was definitely God telling me this. It shot me right in the heart. It impacted the way I looked at my flaws that I used for excuses. It has forced me to hone patience, kindness and joy even when feeling under par.

Decrease the Verbal Missiles

So how can we practice decreasing our verbal missiles in sickness and pain? Consider these 4 approaches.

1. Acknowledge your situation.

You’re human. Verbalize fatigue or frustration matter-of-factly. The Psalmist does this. Job vents in Job 34-35. God listens. Job’s friends do too.

2. Stop yourself.

When you want to blurt out something unkind and stupid, stop yourself. If you speak harshly in a tough moment, apologize quickly and start fresh. It will likely be appreciated.

Take control of what I say, O Lord, and guard my lips. Psalm 141:3 NLT

3. Be kind

There is a beautiful country song sung by Tim McGraw that reminds us to always be “Humble and Kind.” The New Testament, written about 2000 years earlier, wrote similarly,

Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. Ephesians 4:32 NLT

Sometimes it is best to say nothing.

Too much talk leads to sin. Be sensible and keep your mouth shut. Proverbs 10:17 NLT


4. Pray

Keep your heart close to God. Pray always (I Thessalonians 5:16) like breathing in your heart to God for strength, help, and comfort. In rough moments when you want to lash out take a deep breath and breathe a quick prayer in your heart to Him for help.

I've Been Getting a lot of Practice

With migraines, cancer, a broken foot, and all my other illnesses I have gotten a lot of practice. I still mess up especially with my family who sees me up close and personal. But just being conscious of my tendencies and aware in prayer keeps me as a work in progress.

The series for the month of November is about how the Bible helps us when we are sick or discouraged. If you are finding it helpful, forward it to a friend!  Also subscribe so it comes weekly to your email by sending your email address to  We will never sell your email address to anyone!


Up next: 3 Simple Steps to Thankfulness When Life Caves In
Previous post: 5 Shocking Statements the Psalmist Makes about Pain


1. Under what condition do you tend to lose control when you should be kinder? In Illness? With a certain person? In a debate atmosphere? When you feel bested?

2. Have you found a verse or a prayer strategy that helps you in that circumstance? Does one of the 4 suggestions listed sound like something you want to try?

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