Friday, August 7, 2015

The Words in the Middle

I've been reading in Galatians 5 this week - if you've been a Christ-follower for longer than 10 minutes, you know this as one of the 'Fruits of the Spirit' passages, or the 'impossible to live up to' passages.
And as much as I've been convicted by those wonderful Christ-like traits, I was more convicted today by a few words we easily (and conveniently) skip over because they are buried in the middle of another verse. 

"Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another." Galatians 5:26

Conceited, check. 
Jealous, check. 
Both are bad behaviors and most of us work hard at keeping them at bay.
But look at the three little words in the middle - "provoke one another". 

"Provoke one another".
I have to confess that as much as I don't like arguments or confrontation and the unpleasantness that comes along with them, I don't shy away either. In fact, for me, I'd much rather confront the elephant in the room than ignore it. The way I process my feelings, good, bad or indifferent, is to DEAL with them.
Get them out in the open so I can examine them and work through them and learn the lesson and move on.
But for those I love, my dealing with things becomes their dealing with things when their personalities are exactly the opposite of mine.
So what do I do when I'm bubbling up inside? When I'm spilling over the edge with unresolved emotion? 

I pick a fight.
I provoke my others in to engaging with me so I can work through whatever is crushing me at the moment.
In other words, I become the selfish, prideful bully that demands her own way (1 Corinthians 13:5 anyone?) and steamrolls her way into 'getting it off my chest'.
Not very Christ-like is it?
Not much love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and gentleness there is it?
Definitely no self-control.
That's a big "Fruit of the Spirit" FAIL. 

And usually the biggest reason for my failure is that I didn't run to the One who can heal my hurt and my heart and redirect my anger and pain over whatever the situation may be.
Thank goodness my sweet family loves me in spite of myself, but the One who loves me most is the only One that can carry my burden for me. And He can handle my anger and self-righteous indignation and pride.
After all, He nailed it to the cross and died for it.
For me. 

Dear Jesus,
Let me remember to always bring my hurt, pain, anger and tears to YOU. You are the only one who can calm my unsettled heart and wipe my cheeks dry and comfort me in my distress.
Remind me that instead of provoking my loved ones to join me in my anger, to pray for peace in my relationships. To hold my tongue until sweet, encouraging words can roll off it. To love them as you have loved me.

With a Courageous Heart, 

1 comment:

  1. Awesome post....thanks for sharing and making us all think about your words!


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