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.