What do you do when you’re feeling angry at someone? Do you allow negative thoughts to fan those feelings into flame? Or do you try to douse them before they turn into a wildfire?
I’ll be honest. I’ve allowed the negative to rule at times. Believe me, the outcome isn’t pretty. Anger and angst leave my attitude stinkin’ like a heap of smoldering ashes. The worst part is…that destruction results directly from my choice to let the fire roar rather than put it out before it grows and spreads. My bad. Scripture challenges me to a higher, more honorable behavior. Colossians 3:12-15 says:
“Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.”
Let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts, it says. Easier said than done when dealing with difficult people, right? But it’s not impossible when we follow God’s fire-safety instructions…
- Clothe ourselves in mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. In other words, practice the Golden Rule.
- Understand human nature and know that people will mess up. Make allowance for people who, for example, have never learned how to resolve conflict in a healthy way, or who don’t know what love and respect look like because they were raised in a home void of positive role models.
- Forgive those who offend us. Our physical, mental and emotional well-being will thank us. Besides, forgiveness is not optional, seeing as Christ has forgiven us for our mess-ups.
- Clothe ourselves in love. Do random acts of kindness and pray for others, especially those who annoy or hurt us.
- Oh yeah…one more thing. Always (not sometimes) be thankful.
If left to fulfill these instructions in our own strength, we’d be facing a hopeless situation. The only way we can do these things is through the power of Jesus Christ in us. And when we do them—even when we don’t feel like it—we’re choosing to let the peace of Christ rule in our hearts. We douse the negative sparks before they fan into flame and wreak havoc in our lives.
What other actions have you taken that evidence your desire to let the peace of Christ rule in your heart?