“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
As we reflect on the above scripture in Ephesians 4v29-32, it is clear that we are requested as children of God to pay attention of what is our talk, of what comes out of our mouth. Interesting eh? We are responsible for what comes out of our mouth. Sometime ago, we spoke in the post “Listen and listen actively” about how important is not what we say but how we say it and how reflects through our body language. When we talk to somebody – of course for things concerning them, not our concerns – needs to be for their assistance, their benefit and the cover of their needs…not ours! Additionally it is to be said in a way that helps them to explore their own possibilities and not to try to teach them! Do you understand what I mean? (smiles).
The other thing that we learn from this scripture is that we can get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger and any form of malice. They will not disappear by themselves! We need to take action on them and with perseverance they will flee from our lives. For sure, the first step and ultimate is Forgiveness!
What am I trying to say? Imagine those two people who are in a relationship. One day, they have an issue; they have a conflict or a great fight! Ok, it is normal to get stressed out and even say things that we do not really mean; to be hard and rude. It happens and it will happen again. It is usually the first reaction and unfortunately we say words that they are laboriously forgotten. That’s life and we are not perfect! We need to do better next time. However, we did mess up this time! What we can do?
That’s why it is written:
“In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry,”
The word of God does not say that we will not be angry. It says that we can do something about it. At the end of the day, God Himself gets angry when it is needed…check Old Testament…It is full of it!
Apologizing builds relationships! I love what Kami Garcia wrote:
“Apologizing doesn’t mean you’re right or wrong, it just means you value your relationship more than your ego.”
Apologizing is important and needs to be genuine. What difference would make to apologize every time and the next time easily to do the same thing? This is not an apology that develops but an apology that just calms things temporarily and builds nothing. Honestly is the key!
Of course we ought not to get angry all times! There are people who seem like “searching” to find excuses to be angry with others…probably they are angry with themselves and in a great denial. Always it is somebody’s else fault. They are angry because of who did what, what society did to who and so on…Excuses, excuses, excuses…
“My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,”
Dear readers (including myself), we are not of this world! We became new creatures through the blood of Christ and we walk a path to become Christ-like! No excuses! Sorry, but that’s how it is. We can do it and change through Christ. We have the Holy Spirit living inside us…what else we need? The Holy Spirit is our counsellor, our teacher and our conscience.
It is essential for healthy communication to be slow to become angry. It will happen. We will become angry and we need the Holy Spirit to change us in time. We need, from our side, to remain conscious when the anger rises and keep it slow. We can do it! We are capable through Christ. Keep the focus on Him and so much can be done and change.
When angry or upset, we do not need to continue the conversation. We need to accept that we are not in a position to do so. We need to make peace with each other and let it go for a while till the day comes that we are ready to continue the discussion and to conclude. In the meantime we can use our time to re-think on the issue and cool down our adrenaline! I encourage you. It is possible. It does take some practice but we can reach to the desirable result: being angry but no sinners! Being angry but not destroying the relationship.
When we accept the true insight of where we are and what we truly feel, peace will cover our souls and our existence. When we apologise even when we are right, a freedom comes upon us and we find easier our peace.
Acceptance of who we are in Christ will guide us to become who we really are: a Christ-like individual. By accepting that we need to play with the rules of the Kingdom will allow us to keep remembering and being conscious of what comes out of our mouths.
There are a lot of ways to say the same thing and being beneficial instead of harming. But this is another discussion.
There are a lot of genuine lovable Christians who live in a permanent guilt because they have feelings. They have feelings of anger, feelings of fear and sadness. It is important, essential, and vital that we do study the word of God by the guidance of the Holy Spirit and understand what says. Read that Jesus Christ wept; read that He got afraid and asked that cup to be taken away from Him; He got angry and broke everything outside the Temple!
However, He lived on earth as man and He was sinless. The sin is not in relation to our feelings but what we do about our feelings or where we go with our feelings.
When we accept that we were created with feelings, we will find peace. When we accept that the important is what we do with our feelings, we will become more self-aware and more pro-active.
Acceptance creates peace in so many ways. Acceptance is a great tool.
The Alcoholics Anonymous participants pray the prayer of Serenity:
Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.”
Certainly this prayer applies in a vast area of choices we need to make during our lives. I wish to use the task of this prayer and apply it on our relationships. I am talking about relationships and not just social contacts or uncommitted affairs.
Let’s look at the following scenario: two people (any people in any environment) meet, they like each other, they click as we say and they meet again and again trying to develop a relationship. Each individual is unique. Each of us has the same rights in life but we are different. If we wish to find people that they will think like us, they will like what we like and act as we act…we will reach to great disappointments in life. Even siblings who lived under the same roof for years, attended same schools, shared same relatives and early experiences and probably similar friends, they grow to be two absolutely different people, creating different lives. They even lived their common life – under the family’s roof – in different ways; their understanding of same facts is different and their perception or lesson learnt completely of opposite ways! This can happen even with identical twins!
As these two people walk the path of building their relationship, they realize the differences. They have at least two choices:
- To accept the other person as s/he is, because it is vital to keep going with the relationship or because the differences are not vital;
- To withdraw from the relationship as it is not the priority or the differences are essentials.
In both cases the individuals involved need to accept what they have to accept. Whatever the decision, it needs to be with acceptance and in this way to avoid the internal conflict that creates all anxieties.
If I decided to stay in the relationship (for any reason) I shall stop complaining about the things I do not like. Certainly, I will discuss and declare my dislikes but I shall do it once or twice and that’s the end. There is no reason to keep complaining! Or I stay in and accept the other person as s/he is or I move out!
“Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe.”
The biggest mistake we do within our relationships is to try – try hard indeed – to change the other person. If you think that this problem applies only between spouses, you are wrong! It happens again and again in all kind of relationships!
It is understandable that all relationships are not of the same nature. What about parents and kids? Should child move out from home as its communication with the parent is not good? Should husband separate wife as he can’t stand her middle age crisis (or the opposite!)?
Especially relationships with family or relatives can be hard as we do not choose them and we think that we have no responsibility with our involvement with them! I remember when i was 12yrs old, I had a fight with my parents and I told them: “did you ask me if I wanted to be born? You decided for me, not I!”
I strongly believe what is written in the Bible. The Lord has promised to leave our anxiety and concerns to Him through prayer. He can bring clarity and guidance of how to treat the really sensitive and more complicated relationships. We need just to ask and wait to listen from Him and not to follow our own ways and our own understanding.
It is also true that our kids are always are children, no matter how old they are and whether they have their own family. We need to remind ourselves that since 18yrs old they are citizens of this world and take decisions by themselves. We can discuss with them but we cannot change them and we cannot push them. When they live under our roof …we have an excuse but even then, even when they are just little ones, we need to recognize their characteristics, their unique personalities and treat them with love and understanding, using dialogue and exploring options with them. At the end of the day they copy what they learn at home…
Acceptance is a great part of Unconditional Love. We are loved unconditionally by our Lord and He accepted us as we were. He will still discipline us or make clear what He wants and what not, within the relationship but He makes sure that we know that He loves us. In the same way we can start showing unconditional love to others.
I remember a story I read some time ago. It goes like this: it was a woman and she decided to go to the forest, walk around and get some rest. So she did. After her walk, she decided to lie down and get a nap. As she did so the birds from the surrounding trees started their singing and it was impossible for her to sleep. She got upset! She started talking, yelling and shouting to the birds hoping that they would stop. But in vain! Finally, she decided that her nap was important and she could stop worrying about the birds and focus to her sleep. As she deepened herself in a light sleep, she realized that the sound of the birds was lighter and eventually they stopped being an annoyance. They became a nice song in her ears and helped her to sleep nicely and enjoy her nap in the fresh air!
Acceptance is peace and creates peace! There are things that we can control and others that we cannot. Let’s keep praying to our Father in Heavens to guide us through His Holy Spirit what to accept and stop fighting it and on what or who we should never give up!
The people who I have accepted as they are, I am in peace with them. I might not click with the way they are but I have seen them for who they are (the positives and negatives) and I love them as they are, even if I am not with them. If I do not click but still I need to keep a relationship with them, I will just go as far as I know that it would be comfortable. Things that I can’t share with them, I will not. I will share them with somebody else!
Love doesn’t mean that we need to share everything with others. Love doesn’t mean that we need to satisfy everybody or to be satisfied by everybody. Love doesn’t mean that we do anything somebody asks us to. Relationships are not based in dependency or independency, they are based in interdependency! Amen!
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