How To Overcome Negative Feelings
It’s awful when life goes from Technicolor to black and white and negative feelings creep into my heart.
They’ve usually hitched a ride on unkind thoughts spawned of misunderstandings, less than stellar behavior, or the more common varieties of thoughtlessness. It doesn’t matter if I’m the victim or the perpetrator. Either way the track plays over and over. Side A is called Justification and on the flip side is a song called Blame.
None of it pleases God. None of it blesses others.
It’s a waste of time. It’s a waste of love.
Love is the secret sauce in your Christian life
As children of God we have at our disposal an unlimited reservoir of love.
. . .because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
A love so powerful, so complete, it allows us to love everyone. Even those who offend us, especially those who offend us.
Forgiveness is the stiff wind that blows away the gloom of negative feelings.
Forgiveness is letting go of the hurt and allowing the love of God to flow from my heart toward that person once again. It’s relinquishing my right to ‘feel’ offended and surrendering the moral high ground of ‘aren’t they so awful’, look how they treated me.
Forgiveness is always a result of love. My love for God which makes me want to please Him, obey Him and glorify Him. And forgiving another is just an outpouring of God’s love to them. The same love I received as forgiveness, I’m offering to them as freely as it was offered to me.
Taking Responsibility When I’m the Source of Hurt
What if I’m the one that did the hurting?
What if my words, my judgment, my selfishness were the cause of another’s pain?
The cloud of negativity is gonna hang on like San Francisco fog in June until I fess up, humble myself, and personally accept responsibility.
And—it brings my spiritual life to a grinding halt. FULL STOP.
God isn’t gonna overlook it because I’m not comfortable with conflict resolution. The discomfort of the whole thing will etch itself deeply in memory and serve as a deterrent in the future. He insists on reconciliation if I want continued fellowship with Him. Our everyday interactions with others affect our fellowship, our communion with God.
So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.
If they don’t and won’t forgive you, then at least you know you’ve done what you can to be at peace with them. That’s all God asks of us. To try.
It All Begins With Our Thoughts
We can’t control what others think or say.
That’s between them and God, but we can exert significant influence over our own thoughts. What we think will lead to what we say.
Jesus said it this way:
The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
“The tongue is the tail of the heart. The heart is known by how the tongue wags.”
Irv, Clean up on Aisle 4
Do you remember an old movie called Mr. Mom with Michael Keaton and Terri Garr? Dad gets laid off and mom goes to work to support the family. When dad takes the kids shopping they make one mess after another in the Grocery Store. Over the intercom you keep hearing “Irv, clean up in Produce” or wherever the kids have been wreaking havoc.
I think of this when I know I’ve blown it and said something that offended someone. Whenever I’ve forgotten God’s standard for my words. I’m gonna need to do some cleanup in that relationship!
Let no unwholesome word proceed out of your mouth, but only that which is good for building up, that it may give grace to the listeners.
A great filter for our thoughts
We’ve been ministering in Africa for weeks now and I’ve heard teachings from the book of Philippians over and over again. When we control our thoughts it gets easier to control our words because they grow out of our thoughts.
Here’s God’s counsel on setting up a filter for our thoughts:
~ worthy of praise
think about these things.
Remember the Petri dishes in Biology class? Our hearts are like Petri dishes, they’ll grow and multiply the thoughts we introduce.
James tells us the tongue can be a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
But if our thoughts pass through the 8 filters listed in Philippians we won’t create negative feelings in others through unkind, untrue, or ungracious words. And the hurts we experience simply can’t grow in the pure environment that results from these filters screening out toxic thoughts. Our hearts will be full of goodness and light and we’ll know the peace of God in our hearts, minds and relationships.