Why is it that my emotions take me away from living optimally? A little resentment here, a bit of offence there, a stroppy encounter here, throw in some unmet expectations and … Houston, we have a problem!
Last week I had two instances where my Christian hat fell off (I lost my temper and said things I shouldn’t have said). It highlighted for me how easy it is to get caught up in mirroring another person’s behaviour vs being humble / graceful / forgiving … or all three! Let alone, loving…
I don’t get why I sometimes choose to be offended but I do know there is something about feeling “justified” or “right” that seems to overthrow reason. It’s kind of like a treat I know I would be better off without, but I have anyway. At the time it seems like a good idea, I deserve to have my say, but later the regret points back to a lack of self control and knowing that I should have behaved better.
I went to a talk by Nigel Latta last week and the take home for me was “when in doubt, be kind”. He said that “you will never regret being kind but you will always regret being unkind”. This is so true, particularly at this time of year. People are stressed, tired and anxious. We all are. At a time when we should be showing goodwill and love towards each other, it seems that in its place there is intolerance and short tempers.
I want to look at my responses from another angle. The offence or the disappointment might be justified but where is it going to take me? Take us? Is there a way to be kind in this situation and to put the other person first? Is there a way that I can truly be humble, in real life?
I came across a couple of scriptures this week that helped me:
And set your minds and keep them set on what is above (the higher things), not on the things that are on the earth. (Colossians 3:1-2 AMP)
Words satisfy the mind as much as fruit does the stomach; good talk is as gratifying as a good harvest. Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit—you choose. (Proverbs 18:20-21 MSG)
As we head into two and a bit weeks away from Christmas, I am super mindful of the challenges that will try and derail me from staying peaceful. I will set my mind and keep it set on God, and not on the things going on around me. I will seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit in my interactions with others so that I can be careful of the words I speak. I so need help with this part – my mouth is my weakness. And instead of finding reasons to be offended, to be disappointed, or to get caught up in anger or resentment, I will see my emotional responses as a reminder, a nudge, that I am standing in front of an opportunity to practice being kind and I will be kind.
13 thoughts on “Be kind”
Yes, I love that verse in Colossians, as well. It reminds us to keep a heavenly mindset as we go about our lives and that this world is not our home. We can certainly impact others for Christ when we choose to treat them in a kind and loving manner. Thanks for posting.
I love your honesty here. We are human, so we are all prone to those failing moments when reaction takes the place of intentional action. It’s so important to have a meaningful reminder to stop and make conscious decisions with our words and actions. This is true not only of Christ’s followers, but of all of humankind.
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Thank you. I really appreciate your comments. Every day brings me lots of practice so I can only get better (she said hopefully)
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What a great post for starting conversation indeed! I’m trying to figure out how to honor my emotions without them getting me stuck. Thanks for your genuineness here.
Thank you. I am a total work-in-progress. Emotions and hormones…..
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So glad I subscribed to your blog. I wont miss your positive words. I totally agree with “when in doubt be grateful” and “Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit—you choose”.
Great blog. It’s something I think we all struggle with from time to time. I certainly do. I learned recently that most times our behavior/reaction is really about us. Sure, what the other person did may have been 100% wrong or inappropriate, but the level of upset is based on us entirely. I find myself staying quiet and then reflecting on why I got so upset. Having a trusted friend helps too as she can be that objective person to calmly call me out on why I might be behaving a certain way. Totally a difficult exercise to go through but well worth it when the result is more patience, kindness and love. The work we put in has to be daily, doesn’t it?
Thanks Melissa. Yes I totally agree and I think for me the hardest part is the part when I sit quietly, I can almost feel the knarley side of my personality egging me on to say something. But if I can let enough time pass without doing that, I normally get to the place where I feel peaceful about it and calmness and rational thinking steps in. (Of course – that’s on a good day)
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Thank you for sharing this post, which touches on a subject that I struggle with often. There are times when I find it all too easy to become offended and I can so relate to the following:
“I don’t get why I sometimes choose to be offended but I do know there is something about feeling “justified” or “right” that seems to overthrow reason. It’s kind of like a treat I know I would be better off without, but I have anyway” (well said).
Thank God we can go to him at any time confess our sin and weakness and receive his grace and strength to do better next time (as there surely will be a next time!).
Thanks Carol. Oh I agree – being able to pick myself up and try again “next time” is something I am grateful for but I do wonder if God sits there rubbing his temples going “are you kidding me?”
What a nice reflection! Since I was in College, this has been my mantra: “If you have a chance, be kind.” It’s similar to what you have learned from the talk. I agree as well with Nigel Latta on kindness-regret cause and effect relationship. I want to share with you a similar post I made last year: http://cessgonzaga.com/2015/11/26/i-cant-stay-mad-at-you/.
Thank you for your comments and most of all for your sharing your post which is just wonderful. I love the your tie-in with a pressure cooker. That is genius and a really effective way of looking at it.