“No”—said Darcy, “I have made no such pretension. I have faults enough, but they are not, I hope, of understanding. My temper I dare not vouch for. It is, I believe, too little yielding—certainly too little for the convenience of the world. I cannot forget the follies and vices of others so soon as I ought, nor their offences against myself. My feelings are not puffed about with every attempt to move them. My temper would perhaps be called resentful.—My good opinion once lost, is lost for ever.”
This confession by Mr. Darcy reveals that Jane Austen had a very good handle on the fallen nature of man, but I wonder how many of us—and I am especially concerned with believers here, though unbelievers can benefit from this as well—ever take such an open, honest look at ourselves as this. Don’t we tend to defend/justify our words or actions rather than face, much less expose, our sinful motives?
The particular fault that Mr. Darcy is addressing in himself is hard indeed. Stubborn resentfulness and a mind set on disliking someone are in close company with pride. They are a formidable trio, and they stand in the way of peace and happiness. When we are so caught up in ourselves that we will not even try to change our opinions of others, we are disregarding the power of God to grow any of the parties involved. We are disregarding the fact that all people are made in the image of God and have worth. We are disregarding His mandate to love one another. Contempt is not love and it does not glorify our Lord.
If we think someone else is unlovable or unworthy of our respect or love or time, perhaps we should go stand in front of the mirror and take a good long look at ourselves. Perhaps we should stop and consider that because of what Christ did on the cross, forgiveness is available to us in spite of how wretched we are. It is available to all of the unlovable, unworthy wretches in the world who will confess their fallen state and ask forgiveness of the God who dined with tax collectors and sinners.
The verse I quote below is one that I heard many times as my daughter learned it for Awana many years ago, and it has stuck in my heart ever since.
“Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32).
And then of course, there is this…
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another” (John 13:34-35; see also, 15:12; Romans 12:10, 13:8; Galatians 5:13; Ephesians 4:1-4; 1 Thessalonians 3:11-13, 4:9, 5:11-18; 1 Peter 1:22, 4:8; 1 John 3:11, 23; 4:7-21).