Episode 12: Emotions: How can I keep the peace when I just want to scream?

Episode 12: Emotions: How can I keep the peace when I just want to scream?

Sept 9, 2020 | Susie Rock

Welcome to Soul Talk! I’m glad you’re joining us today. I do fully understand that this might be a crazy week for you because it’s back to school for some of you, and for some of your children, and it’s a different year this year for all of us. Some of you might be sending your kids to a different school, some of you might be sending your kids to school with some hesitation, not knowing what to expect. Some of you have decided to homeschool or do online schooling with your children. So, things are very, very different and I just want to acknowledge that. I’m thinking of you and just trusting that it’s going to be a week where you are leaning into the Lord and finding peace in Him, because without Him, we really can’t face all these changes and these uncertainties. But with Him, He does provide us that peace.

So today, we’re actually going to be talking about emotions and answering the question, “How can I keep the peace when I just want to scream?” So, as I was preparing for this, someone had suggested I talk about this. I thought, “Well, I’m not really the kind of person that screams a lot.” I remember when I was a child, I purposely made a decision that I was never going to yell at my kids. And I have to be honest, I haven’t completely fulfilled that vow, but I am not a screamer or a yeller by characteristic of who I am. I don’t do that a lot. And so I thought, “Hmm. I’m going to have to put some thought into this. And yet, then over the last couple of months, COVID has happened. I’m not going to get into the topic of COVID a whole lot because that’s a whole different conversation that I’d prefer to have face to face with people. But, the reality is that there have been times over the last couple of months where I just wanted to scream because, in my opinion, there was a lot of foolishness going on. People were not being reasonable. It had become more political than it has been medical, when this is a disease that we need to fight, and so it doesn’t make sense. I have felt out of control when I wanted to control the outcome, maybe just shake a few people and say, “What are you thinking? Let’s think reasonably and logically here.” I don’t even have a medical degree, but we all know and we see certain things that should be happening, and the opposite is happening.

So, it’s been frustrating. I’ve wanted to scream, I’ve wanted to yell, not at a particular person, but just the whole situation, because it has seemed so foolish to me, and I felt out of control. And as I thought about it, I realized that control is a big issue for us. When we see an outcome that is not what we believe is best- maybe personal opinion, and maybe even the best outcome that we know according to God’s Word should be happening- it makes us feel like we’re out of control, and that we need to do something about it. But sometimes we can’t. We are only responsible for our own decisions, for our own behaviours, and things that we do. We cannot actually control outcomes, and we certainly can’t change people. And I think it’s when we want to change people- when we want to control the outcome- that’s when we’re most likely to feel like we just want to scream.

We have to recognize that, yes, we are responsible for our own responses, but we have to trust that God is good, and that He’s at work even when we don’t really see what’s going on. And even when currently what we’re living through at the moment is not ideal, it is not God’s ultimate plan, and we just have to trust that in the end, He will be glorified. In the end, His purpose will prevail. That helps us to let  go of our own control, knowing that He is God, and it always comes back to that: remembering, believing, trusting, and surrendering to the fact that He is God, He is sovereign, He is all powerful, He is not limited. And in the end, He will be glorified. In the end, His purposes will prevail. If He has purposed something, it is going to happen. Nobody can stop it. He will do what He has planned, and so we need to, in our hearts, surrender to the fact that He is God, and let’s not try to take His place.

But we do have to always remember that we are responsible in our relationships. It’s not a “Let go and let God” kind of mentality; it’s not a complacent mentality. No, we should be concerned when we see sin and crazy things happening, when we see things happening that are not part of what God has lined out for us in scripture. The Bible has a lot to say about our relationships. In fact, it even has a lot to say about our difficult relationships, and it’s usually those ones that make us want to feel like we are going to scream, like we’re going to lose it. And yet, what does God’s word say? What does He want from us in these situations? Let’s turn to 1 Peter chapter 3 starting at verse 8. The title of this in my Bible actually says, “Suffering for righteousness’ sake.” Now, we don’t usually like that, because we don’t want to suffer. But let’s just take a look to see what it says. It says, Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may receive a blessing.

Humility sums it all up. If you’re thinking of your rights, your beliefs and your needs, you probably aren’t thinking about the other person; you’re thinking about yourself. And when we think about ourselves, that’s actually pride. That’s the opposite of humility. But the Bible very clearly tells us that we’re supposed to strive for unity of mind, for humility. Now, I do recognize that unity can only happen in Christ insomuch as we’re both thinking in line with what Christ has planned for us. That’s what we should be striving for, and we’re responsible in our own hearts to have the mind of Christ that we can be unified with other people who also have the mind of Christ.

The next question is, “Do I have sympathy? Do I actually have concern and care and compassion in my heart for the other person, and am I taking time to consider maybe what the other person is going through, or what their needs are, or why they’re thinking or behaving the way that they are? Not necessarily to excuse them, but to understand them.

And then, the next question that we see is that we’re called to have brotherly love. We have to step back and say, “Am I really loving this person? Do I have the mind of Christ in terms of how I love this person? Can I love this person even if they aren’t perfect, or am I a conditional love kind of person?” We want to have that brotherly love that binds us together through blood. In physical terms, we are related to our brothers and sisters because we come from the same parents, but spiritually speaking, we too are united by blood: the blood of Jesus Christ. And that kind of love should be an enduring love, a longsuffering love. Not a conditional love, but a love that is steadfast, and it remains. Do you have that kind of love for that person that maybe is a little bit more difficult to live with? And secondly, do you have a tender heart, or is your heart harsh and angry? Often, a hard heart is because you’ve been holding resentment towards this person; you haven’t been forgiving them, you have bitterness in your heart, and you’ve been storing that up for a long time.

Next, it talks about not taking revenge. When someone hurts us, we naturally respond. If we’re not responding with the mind of Christ, we tend to bottle it up somehow, and maybe we’re going to gossip about that person so everybody else knows how awful of a person they are, or maybe we’re going to give them a cold shoulder, or maybe even some other type of revenge. Are you a revengeful person towards those people that have hurt you? All of these do not have any place in the Christian life. But that doesn’t mean that we have to be a doormat either. I think that many times, we have mistaken that. We feel like, “Okay, if I have to be kind, if I have to bless those who hurt me, if I can’t take revenge, then I must just be silent and be a doormat, and people can treat me horribly with abuse and sinful ways, and I have no right to say anything.” That also is not true. You see, if we continue in that chapter- chapter 3 of 1 Peter- and we move down to verse 13, listen to what this says: Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? So right off the bat, we are not to fear people. They can’t really harm us in the long run. They might hurt our feelings- they might even physically hurt us- but in the end, we are always safe because we are children of God, and our eternity is secure. And then, it continues to say, But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled. So once again, don’t be afraid of them even if you should suffer for righteousness sake. God will ultimately bless you for that. We shouldn’t fear even if we do suffer. That’s a big one for us to really comprehend because we are naturally inclined to protect ourselves from suffering. But we will sometimes suffer. Let’s still not fear them. Ultimately, we are called to only fear the Lord God.

Continuing, it says, But in your hearts honour Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect. And here, we are called to defend the gospel of Jesus Christ. I think we can also relate that to our personal situations. There’s times when we do need to confront another person on their sinful behaviour, and when we do, we should back that up in scripture. Not out of our own personal offenses, but what does the Bible actually say? Let’s be prepared to do that. Not just to react selfishly, but let’s be prepared to say, “Hey, this is what God’s word says. I’m going to defend that, but I’m going to defend it with gentleness and respect. I’m not going to blow up on you, I’m not going to be harsh, I’m not going to ridicule you or belittle you, but let’s look at what God’s word says about this situation.”

And then it continues on to say, Having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behaviour in Christ may be put to shame. We want, as much as we are able, to have our actions, our behaviour, our attitude, our words resemble those of Christ. Be biblically grounded, so that even if they try to make accusations against us, they have nothing valid to stand by. We have a clear conscience because we have handled the Word of God properly, and we’ve handled the situation properly.

And then it continues on to say, For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil. So when you’re in the middle of a situation where you feel like you’re going to scream, and maybe you say some things that you’re going to later on regret because that person is just continuously aggravating you and living sinfully, we have to take a step back and realize, “You know what, I’m responsible to speak the truth in love with gentleness and respect, but if they continue to hurt me with words that they’re saying, I can still know that it’s better for me to continue to respond with gentleness and respect than it is for me to lash back in a sinful way myself. I am called to holiness, to obedience in the Lord Jesus Christ.” And sometimes, it is God’s will to allow us to suffer. We don’t always see the purpose in that in the moment; it seems wrong. But we will suffer if we are living like Christ. He suffered; we too will suffer. If you continue reading, you’re going to read about the suffering of Christ. I’m not going to take the time for that right now, but it is better to be willing to suffer than to cave and do evil in return.

Therefore, if we have done everything that we need to personally do to keep the peace, if we have spoken up and spoken the truth, we need to surrender our own hearts to that and just believe that we have fulfilled our purpose, and that the rest is a concern, but not our responsibility. We can pray- we should pray- for that person, we should pray for that situation, but we can’t necessarily change it. But we do have to entrust that to God who is good. He is all-powerful, and He can do immeasurably more than we can ever ask or imagine. If we have done all of that, I’ve got a little acrostic here again, and it uses the word, “STEP.” So, when we find ourselves in these difficult situations where someone is really, really getting on our nerves, maybe really hurting us and offending us, maybe even offending the Lord Jesus Christ, let’s:

Step away from the situation so that we don’t enhance it.

Take it to the Lord in prayer and we trust Him even when it hurts, and even when it’s hard.

Evaluate our own heart: “Did I do anything to contribute to this? Am I responsible? Is there hardness or anger in my heart? Did I do something to cause this person to act in this way?” And we take that to the Lord.

Plan our next steps in humility and respect. Do we need to go talk to that person? Do we need to maybe go talk to another person and invite them into the situation to give us guidance? As Christians, we are called to be long-suffering, and to be patient, and to extend grace seventy times seven. But, there are also times when we do need to either limit or completely remove a relationship from our lives. This is not an easy decision to make; it’s probably not one that you should make by yourself. You should invite godly people into that situation that can have a full and complete understanding so they can give you guidance in regard to what the next steps should be.

I really encourage you to consider that you do not need to be a doormat. You do have a responsibility to speak up with truth and grace in a reasonable way, but when there is extreme extenuating situations happening, there are times when we need to invite mature Christians into our lives to help us to process it, and to know how to proceed, and to know whether or not this relationship needs to be eliminated, or needs to at least be limited. Of course, I do want to say, if you do find yourself in direct danger, you should leave immediately, and then invite a Christian into your life that can help you know how to move forward from there, and if reconciliation is possible, or if it is actually not a good idea for you to get back into that relationship. These are big questions, these are big concerns. Please don’t feel like you have to do this alone. Use the guidelines that I have given you, 1 Peter 3 has some amazing words of wisdom, but don’t be afraid to invite somebody in, because we can’t talk specifically about every situation, and you might find yourself in a situation where you’re like, “I really don’t know. And this is hard, and I need help,” and that’s okay. I just want you to know that your heavenly Father loves you, and He is working all things out for the good of those that love Him, and His good is always His glory and our ultimate sanctification. That is not going to be easy; we have to be prepared for that. But, we do want to trust Him, and know that He is loving, and He is kind, He is present, He is available, He is still in control even when it hurts. And so, we do want to expect some ruffles along the way, but ultimately we know that His purpose is always for His glory. Be encouraged; turn your eyes to Him, take them off of yourself, and live in a way that is filled with reasonableness, with gentleness, and with respect rooted in God’s word.

Reflection Questions:

You have watched the video on Emotions:  How can I keep the peace when I just want to scream? Now prayerfully consider the following questions.

1.  When there is a person/situation that is causing you inner turmoil, do you tend to fill your mind with holy thoughts of God, or with anger and bitterness?

2.  Do you try talking to the person responsible for this, with reasonableness and respect? Or do you tend to shut down and keep your emotions bottled up until they explode?

3.  Do you tend to pray for this person/situation or gossip?

4.  Is there a specific person you need to confront at this time?  If there is an ongoing situation, is the next step for you to talk to a mature believer?  Who would that be?
(This question is not for live chat, but rather personal reflection and to talk to a mature believer who can help)

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