What a powerful reminder by one of my favorite bloggers, Mr. Matthew Jacobson, that we are the masters of our emotions and feelings in Christ Jesus, not slaves to them. Hope you are as challenged as I was!
You might say I’m gifted with the ill-timed comment. I’ve thought a lot about this and I don’t think it’s really my fault.
Like when Barbara came from out of state to visit Lisa. I was trying to do something nice for them, I really was. They were having tea on the couch in the family room, open to the kitchen. It was a “good husband” moment. I wanted them to be able to talk, uninterrupted, so the kids were in the backyard and I quietly listened while washing the dishes. That’s nice, isn’t it?
But, no sooner did I start scrubbing with this new-fangled scrubber that releases the soap as you wash and I got frustrated.
Peek behind the curtain: I hate (I know, Christians aren’t supposed to hate but, I do) I hate things that don’t work – especially if they’re new. I’m convinced there’s a special place in the netherworld for people who make and sell junk.
Anyway, after about three futile attempts at cleaning a pan, I said . . . loudly . . . Where did this worthless piece of junk come from?
Both ladies looked up. “What worthless piece of junk, honey?” Lisa asked with that cringing tone that says, I hope he doesn’t say what I think he’s going to say.
“This stupid thing,” I said, holding up the offending article as absolute proof that the world is falling apart.
“Oh, the new scrubber,” she said, “That is a gift, from Barbara.”
Okay, I’m not quite as guiltless as I first claimed. No one forced me to get all worked up and, I didn’t have to say anything derogatory. But, I felt strongly about that scrubber and the villains who made it.
Ever felt strongly about something you were discussing with your spouse? When he/she had a different perspective than you? When no one’s giving in? How did that go?
One of the hardest things to believe about our own feelings is that we are completely in charge of them. More typically, we act as if they arrive on the scene as some separate, irresistible force that must be unleashed on the situation.
This is never true. Remember the last time you got fired-up? You expressed your frustration because . . . you expressed your frustration. We made a choice. We are in charge of our emotions. The Devil didn’t make you do it. Your spouse didn’t, either. You chose. I chose. We all choose.
Our feelings aren’t legitimate just because we have them. Do we want to be biblical Christians, walking in the Spirit? Then our feelings will have to submit to something before they do more damage: the Truth.
This is true even when we’re completely right (it was a piece of junk, okay!). God allows for legitimate anger. Ephesians 4:26 says . . . be angry but don’t sin. Even then, when we’re legitimately angry, the Bible teaches us to remain in control of our feelings.
A fool gives full vent to his anger but a wise man quietly holds it back. Proverbs 29:11
Interesting, isn’t it? You can be right and still be a fool by unleashing your feelings on the moment.
God calls us to walk in the Spirit and in Truth. To do so, we need to take proper charge of our feelings and the responses that accompany them. What is the truth about emotions?
1) When it comes to responding to circumstances or disagreements, you are not a victim. You are in charge. Feelings and responses are a choice.
2) Feelings might be legitimate . . . but they might also be illegitimate. Truth decides, not the power of the emotions of the moment.
3) Anger may be justified but don’t give “vent” to it. Be wise, restraining your anger.
Do we do this in our own strength? No, Galatians 5:16 says if you walk in the Spirit you will not fulfill the desires of the flesh.
How do we walk in the Spirit?
James 4:8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.
Angry? Frustrated? It’s your move.