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“But if you will listen, I say to you, love your enemies and do something wonderful for them in return for their hatred. When someone curses you, bless that person in return. When you are mistreated and harassed by others, accept it as your mission to pray for them.” Luke 6:27-28
Jesus isn’t saying this because he agrees with what that person has done to you. It’s not about the other person, it’s about you and your reactions. It’s okay to feel your feelings…hurt, betrayal, anger…but deal with them. Don’t let them seep into your heart.
If you’re not careful with your heart, you’ll become negative and unforgiving. Then bitter and resentful, and even revengeful. Don’t poison yourself. Take your feelings and turn them into prayer.
Point to ponder while you wander….Praying for your enemies and those who’ve hurt you directs your negative feelings into a positive. It changes you for the better, and invites God into the situation. Wisdom, peace, hope, and love enter when God does.
I’ve been struggling with emotional exhaustion and my fuse is the shortest it’s been since before I first started the healing process with Jesus 12ish years ago.
I don’t like it when I’m short tempered and negative. I hate it when I start bashing anyone and everyone who annoys me in any capacity. So I need this reminder today….
“Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:31-32 NLT
Point to ponder while you wander…it is so easy to take out our hurt, frustration, and fear on other people, especially our immediate family or those we live with. But there’s a better way.
“Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
I need this rest today, and I pray you and I both find it.
Better or Bitter
Hardship and troubles happen to everyone, that’s just life. But how you choose to see those times either creates a bitter and angry you or changes you into a better and stronger you. Better or bitter, the choice is yours!
“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” Romans 5:3-5.
Not Easily Provoked
“Love does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” I Corinthians 13:5
Love is not easily provoked into anger.
This one’s a toughie for those with a short fuse or a temper. It’s especially tough when dealing with someone close to you who knows exactly how to push the right buttons to fire you right up. Interestingly enough anger here actually is a compound word in the Greek. One word is alongside. The other is to stir. Picture someone purposely coming alongside of you and poking you with a sharp stick until you can’t take it anymore and blow up, that’s what the word means in the original Greek.
Anger is a secondary emotion. This means that it always starts as another feeling before it grows into anger. Diffusing anger requires dealing with the source emotion. When you do that, the anger dissipates. What are the sources of anger?
Anger can also come from unforgiveness, but usually one of the above three are the culprit.
When you feel anger beginning to build, take a deep breath. Then ask yourself: Am I hurt? Am I afraid? Am I frustrated? Then deal work on dealing with the root of the anger. Don’t allow yourself to be provoked into a verbal explosion or a physical fight. If possible remove yourself from the situation or the person poking and prodding you, even if it’s just for a few minutes to calm down.
This is the Jill translation of this verse: Love bites one’s tongue and controls one’s temper. Love does not explode into a verbal explosion of harsh words and obscenities. Love doesn’t punch someone’s lights out because it is hurt, afraid or frustrated.
Jill will continue to work on this. 🙂 Happy Wednesday!
Bonus Scripture: “Do not make friends with a hot-tempered man, do not associate with one easily angered, or you may learn his ways and get yourself ensnared.” Proverbs 22:24-25
Wonderful Wednesday-Love Does Not Envy
“Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up;” I Corinthians 13:4
Envy here refers to someone being heated to a boil due to envy, hatred or anger.
God has never been motivated by envy, hatred or anger. He may get angry, but anger doesn’t drive Him. He’s motivated by compassion. His motives are pure. God sent Jesus simply because He saw our condition and knew we were helpless to save ourselves. How do we know this? Romans 5:8 tells us that, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.” We didn’t deserve it, but He did it anyway.
We also see that same compassion in the life of Jesus also. Both Matthew and Mark tell us Jesus was “moved with compassion” to heal and teach. (Matthew 9:36 & 14:14 and Mark 1:41 & 6:34).
Jesus learned this compassion from the Father. In John 5:19, Jesus says, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.”
Jesus is our head and we are His body, so we need to be motivated by compassion too. Genuine love for one another. The action love that speaks truth, but covers people. The action love that assists some one but doesn’t coddle them or allow excuses. Love should MOVE us to help someone who is struggling. Love should MOVE us to pray for those around us. Love should MOVE us to come along side people and encourage them.
When I find that my motivations are wrong or I find myself simmering and about to boil, I take a step back. I breathe deep and I try to figure out what’s the root of my issue. Am I afraid? Am I hurt? Am I frustrated? Am I feeling discontented or feeling a resentful longing because of someone else’s position, possessions, qualities or attributes (envy)? Am I full of intense dislike or have ill will towards another person (hatred)? Am I desirous of revenge or full of a desire to fight back (angry*)?
Sometimes I can figure it out. Sometimes I can’t. Either way I take it to the Father in prayer. I ask Him to help me to diffuse the situation and respond in love. Sometimes this is a simple under my breath prayer, that is handled immediately. Sometimes it’s deeper and takes longer. Like a broken place that needs to be healed or a mindset that needs to be changed. Whether the issue is big or small, God is big enough to take care of it. God is Yahweh Rophe. He is healing. He heals broke hearts along with broken bodies. He wants His people to be fully healed and whole.
Are you dealing with anger, hatred or envy? The first step in dealing with those things is prayer, asking God to help.
Just as important as prayer is, is receiving God’s love. It is absolutely essential that you believe He loves you and actually accept His love. Without you receiving His love, you won’t have any love to give to anyone else. You cannot give something that you don’t have.
For more on God’s love…check out this message on the God Kind of Love from Pastor Dino Lasala: https://vimeo.com/album/1518523/video/65513155
*PS Anger is actually a secondary emotion. It usually comes from hurt, fear or frustration. When you feel anger rising, ask yourself if you are hurt, afraid or frustrated. (Or a combination of the above). When you deal with the root, either the fear or the hurt or the frustration, the anger will go away.