But He turned and rebuked them [and He said, “You do not know what kind of spirit you are; for the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.”].
(Luke 9:55-56 AMP)
The “sons of thunder” didn’t get it. James and John walked with Jesus for so long, yet they failed to understand that they were of a different kind of spirit. When the Samaritans wouldn’t welcome Jesus, James and John were so upset that they were willing to use their God-given authority (Luke 9:1) to do harm by calling down fire from heaven to destroy the Samaritans (v.54). It was then that Jesus turned and rebuked them, reminding them of His sole purpose in coming – to save lives, not to destroy them.
As born again Christians, we have been gifted with the indwelling Spirit of Almighty God which means that our attitude towards people who offend us should be different from that of those who don’t know Christ. But oftentimes, we don’t want to turn the other cheek and do good to those who hurt us; we want to strike back. It is then that we too hear His rebuke, “You do not know what kind of spirit you are.”
Show respect even to people who don’t deserve it; not as a reflection of their character, but as a reflection of yours.