Bible Truth Examiner

Graces of Christian Character

AGGRESSIVENESS

 

Scriptures are cited from the King James (Authorized) Version, unless stated otherwise.

 

“Always abounding in the work of the Lord, . . . fight the good fight of faith.”

 

1 Corinthians 15: 58; 1 Timothy 6: 12

 

Aggressiveness may be defined as the quality that pushes our purposes and plans to a successful

completion, despite the incidental obstacles, and that destroys whatever is injurious to us and

our purposes and plans. It is one of the most useful graces of Christian character for

overcoming. Martin Luther is probably the best example in the good use of this grace, both in its

constructive feature of pushing plans to a successful completion despite obstacles, and in its

destructive feature of annihilating for Protestants the main papal errors of doctrine and practice.

 

The Lack of Aggressiveness

 

Many people greatly lack aggressiveness. In such we often find too much reticence, a lack of

courage, and sometimes the presence of an inferiority complex. The least sign of disapproval

from others often overawes them; obstacles usually crush them; and often even ordinary tasks

discourage them into inactivity. If any of us find ourselves weighed down by such lacks and

faults, let us seek diligently to rid ourselves of them, by displacing them with aggressiveness.

 

The Two Parts of Aggressiveness

 

Aggressiveness consists of two parts, executiveness and destructiveness:

 

(1.) Executiveness is active in carrying out one’s plans and purposes, regardless of whether they

are hard or easy of accomplishment. It consists of certain qualities: (1) purposefulness, which

puts its planned determination back of every enterprise that one would achieve and pushes it

onward to completion; (2) venturesomeness, which is ready to do and to dare, to run risks of loss

or defeat in order to win success; (3) vigor, which uses all of one’s pertinent strength and

determination to work out his purposes unto full success; (4) thoroughness, which surveys every

part of the problem at hand, and, without neglecting any feature of it, gives to each the stress that

its successful execution calls for; and (5) effectiveness, which achieves practical results from its

efforts.

 

(2.) Destructiveness attacks injurious things. The Christian’s main use of it is destroying sin,

error, selfishness and worldliness in any and all of their forms, especially as these are in us and

occasionally as these are in others. Destructiveness also contains a number of qualities: (1)

abhorrence of evil, a hatred of it in all its forms, because of its bad nature and effects upon us

and others, and because of God’s and Christ’s attitude and activity toward it; (2) indignation,

against all forms of sin, error, selfishness and worldliness. Such for us is a righteous indignation,

for it is the basic part of disinterested love, delight in good principles and abhorrence of evil

principles; (3) sternness against evil, treating it by feeling, look, word and act sternly; and (4)

severity, treating our sins, errors, selfishness and worldliness roughly in thought, motive, word

and act.

 

The Abuses of Aggressiveness

 

But aggressiveness, particularly in its destructive feature, is capable of great abuses. Let us

consider the main abuses, or exaggerations of destructiveness: (1) wrath, as distinct from anger

and righteous indignation (James 1: 20); (2) fury, which is the exaggeration of wrath. In the

latter, one may maintain a measure of self-control, but in the former self-control is thrown to the

winds; (3) malice, which grows out of fury, fills one with dislike, suspicion, evil surmising and

false and evil constructions placed on others’ thoughts, motives, words and acts; (4) malice

increases into hatred, the direct opposite of duty and disinterested love (1 John 3: 15); (5)

grudgesomeness, which grows from hatred, cherishes malice and hatred, and seeks occasions to

wreak evil upon its victims; (6) exaggerated grudgesomeness ere long develops into

implacability, which hardens the heart against all kindliness, fills one with the hardest dislike

and makes him incapable of forbearance and forgiveness; (7) ruthlessness results from

implacability, and often results in persecution; (8) in revengefulness, the implacable and ruthless

will take revenge on those who have wronged them; and (9) lawless taking of life is the

extremest misuse of destructiveness.

 

Overcoming Exaggerations of Aggressiveness’s Destructiveness

 

Let us suppose that we possess one or more of the misuses of aggressiveness’s destructiveness of

evil. We can curb and destroy these especially by using three methods: (1) displacement by the

opposite grace; (2) restraint by other than its opposite grace; and (3) turning the good features of

aggressiveness’s destructiveness against its bad features.

 

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