Events and our reactions

anger

Our interpretation of events around us, and the language we use to describe them, determine our emotional reaction to them.

How we place ourselves in relation to those events colors our emotions. If we selfishly put ourselves in the center of all that happens, we will take the actions and comments of others personally. So we will feel anger, frustration, and resentment that events did not conform to our expectations. With self in the center, objectivity is lost.

Expressing such emotions will not defuse them, but will only cause them to root themselves more deeply in our soul. Thus, we reinforce our behavior of interpreting events through the lens of self.

Through our conversion to Jesus Christ, he becomes the center of our being and the lens through which we see all events. The sovereign control of God becomes our focus. So there is no one technique, nor a set of them, for a more healthy reinterpretation of events, but rather a transformation into a new man that looks at people and events from a new light.

And he died for all so that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised. So then from now on we acknowledge no one from an outward human point of view. Even though we have known Christ from such a human point of view, now we do not know him in that way any longer. So then, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; what is old has passed away—look, what is new has come! 2 Cor 5.15-17

#conversion, #emotions, #reactions, #self

The brewing pot called anger

He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.” (Proverbs 16:22)

Anger isn’t always a bad emotion…it’s just not always good.

Family feuds, street fights and global warfare has been waged more times than one would want to count simply because water isn’t the thing that can boil-over.

Self-control is vital when it comes to anger or else the anger will control us. Many times it has been said that an individual “lost his or her temper” when we should probably say that the individual “lost his or her temperance”. Great strength (and wisdom) is far and above displayed in the ability to control our self in place of the ability to control someone else. Perhaps this is why the saying, “he who angers you controls you” is so pertinent when it comes to Proverbs 16:22. When anger gets the best of us, we think we’re going to get the best of someone else, when in reality they may have already got from us exactly what they wanted.

A controlled anger makes us stronger than the mighty and greater than the conqueror – and that’s why a controlled anger leads to better things being poured into the cup we call our heart.

“Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil.” (Ephesians 4:26-27)

#anger, #emotions, #temper, #temperance

Bitterness: the bite that keeps on biting

Bitterness has a way of getting into the human soul. It breeds hate. It tastes foul, but it creates a longing for more of what isn’t needed.

Bitterness declares war!

Work relationships, family ties, dear friends, and even brothers and sisters in Christ have all been severed by the bite of bitterness.

Personal experiences that get personal – the essence of bitterness. But what’s the answer to avoiding such a problem? It’s the tough stuff called mercy – the essence of Christ!

We all have things in our past, and even in our present and future to come that can and will bog us down spiritually if we’re not careful…if we’re not forgiving and if we don’t seek the peace of Jesus.

Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled;” (Hebrews 12:14-15)

#bitterness, #emotions, #sin

Apathy is a path in life worth avoiding

Apathy isn’t about wanting to do something but not having the resources. Apathy isn’t about wanting to do something but not having the time. Apathy isn’t about wanting to do something but not having the ability. Apathy can have one of these or all of these but it just doesn’t care!

Is it a coincidence that in the English language the word pathetic makes up the majority of the word that describes the emotion of apathy?

Apathy isn’t ignorance. Apathy isn’t disillusionment. Apathy isn’t being defeated. Apathy isn’t an excuse. Apathy intentionally ignores the horse in the race, the dog in the fight, the cause at hand and the brother that’s meant to be kept!

Do you see any irony in how a lack of fire can actually be a condition that leads to a lake of fire?

Apathy must be done away with. Its reversal is sought and found through repentance, through the removal of stone and the replacement of flesh. This happens to be one of the very reasons that it is so hard to do away with, for repentance must come from the very place that apathy resides – the heart!

Whether or not one cares does not change whether or not one should care; responsibilities are not always left up to personal sensibilities but rather they are left up to the realities at hand. In other words numbness does not do away with the actuality of being hurt!

Apathy may sound good to the ears of some, but it’s only if their voice isn’t the one that’s calling out for help. And therein is an image that reveals the root of the ugliness found in apathy.

May we be interested enough in a God-given heart, soul, mind and strength that can look apathy in the face everyday but still avoid seeing it in the mirror.

The passion of my soul’s desire is for the house of the Lord; my heart and my flesh are crying out for the living God.” (Psalm 84:2 – BBE)

And I will give them a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in them; and I will take the heart of stone out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh: So that they may be guided by my rules and keep my orders and do them: and they will be to me a people, and I will be to them a God.” (Ezekiel 11:19-20 – BBE)

#apathy, #christian-living, #christianity, #emotions, #sin

Matching Bible texts to life situations: give your suggestion

Have you ever seen those lists of suggested Bible verses or chapters for when you feel a certain way or have experienced a certain life situation? You know the kind: “When you [feel this or go through that], read [Bible passage].” Those are pretty cool, are they not?

Psalm 60 is in our Bible reading plan for 2013. It took me a while to get into it, but it’s a wonderful passage for the defeated. So I tweeted:

What other situations/texts would you suggest, if we were making a list?

#bible-applications, #emotions

Poem: A Smile

Here’s a poem that’s been all over the internet for quite some time. It took me a second or two to find the author’s name because the vast majority of time credit is given to “unknown.” If you haven’t read or heard it, it’s worth the time.

A Smile

Smiling is infectious,

you catch it like the flu,

When someone smiled at me today,

I started smiling too.

I passed around the corner

and someone saw my grin

When he smiled, I realized

I’d passed it on to him.

I thought about that smile

then I realized its worth,

A single smile, just like mine

could travel round the earth.

So, if you feel a smile begin,

don’t leave it undetected

Let’s start an epidemic quick,

and get the world infected!

(written by Matthew John Fraser)

I guess there’s such a thing as a healthy infection after all 🙂

#emotions, #friendliness, #health, #heart, #poetry

Anger is one letter away from Danger

Almighty God asked his completely frustrated prophet if he had a right to be so angry in Jonah 4:4 when Nineveh repented.

What a question! Not because it was an angry Jonah who was asked this, but because we all need to be asked this from time to time.

Yes, there can be room in the heart of a Christian for righteous anger (Mark 3:5), but often times (at least I’ll speak for myself) this room can be taken up with the wrath of man that doesn’t care for, follow or consider the righteousness of God that properly directs the anger (James 1:20).

The next time the “little teapot” feels like shouting we would all do well to ask ourselves the question that God asked Jonah…and give the right answer before that anger turns into danger!

He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, And he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.” (Proverbs 16:32 – NKJV)

#anger, #emotions, #jonah