good reminders when emotions cloud our reason
Last blog post, I wrote about how some people treat affirmations as if they are God-deemed, declarations that bind goodness to us. I don't agree with that, but I don't find them useless either.
So often I make decisions about how to best love a person, or how to put the past in the past. And then for whatever reason, those choices are challenged, questioned, or tested. Instead of working through those decisions that were based on prayer, scripture, and wise counsel, I begin to operate through guilt, resentment, bitterness, and longing.
For those moments of feeling like I have taken two steps back, I have gathered some tidbits of truth that can anchor me in how to react, respond, and deflect unnecessary or misplaced guilt, and avoid new occasions for my sinful nature to manifest. I hope that these can help you as well. You can always follow my lead and take a reflective Sunday to write it all out your "new rules", as artist Dua Lipa sings..."I got new rules, I count 'em". (Scroll below pic for mine)
Truths and Affirmations for Loving Difficult People
God commands that I forgive, and it is important for me to obey God.
I rely on the Holy Spirit for obedience.
I cancel that debt.
Forgiveness is inward – I don’t have prove to someone that I have forgiven them (by doing as they ask if it’s harmful or disruptive to me).
I can tell someone about God’s forgiveness, but I can’t make them internalize it and repent.
I don’t need someone else’s apology or validation of wrong to forgive them.
I hurt people without realizing, same as they do to me, because we are all mending our broken hearts as best as we can. But…
Compassion is not compliance.
I don’t have to be perfect to be a devoted Christian.
God is my defender; I don’t have to engage in disputes (in person or in my mind).
I can’t help what other people think of me.
I will not devote energy to caring what other people think of me, as long as I have no sin to confess to them and have prayed that God keep me accountable of my debts to them through confession and change.
Someone else’s meanness - and my distance resulting - is not my fault if sin has been confronted without change.
The moment I feel resentment, I cry to God for help in weeding that from my heart.
We are complex; I can’t spend anytime figuring other’s out if they won’t be honest with themselves.
I am honest with God about my weakness and ask for His Spirit to help me.
I am compassionate and reasonable.
1 John 1:9 ESV - If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
I forgive easily and unprompted.
Psalms 51:10-12 - 10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me. 11 Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your holy spirit from me. 12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and sustain in me a willing spirit.
I am the gatekeeper of my heart, mind, time, energy, and home.
It is better to be productively or restfully lonely than it is to invite in disruptively sarcastic company.
I do not use my energy to prove any of my opinions, but rather I live to glorify God.
It is okay to love difficult people through short/group visits, brief phone calls, or prayerfully from a distance for as long as needed to keep peace.
Pray for them, but don’t play with them.
Don’t retaliate. Don’t associate.
Keep it light-hearted and fun; bypass opportunities to point out hypocrisy.
Leave if I can’t be light.
I don’t have to respond to any question or request without getting all the details I want and making a thoughtful choice.
Memories might always hurt, but I don’t live there anymore.
Make new, good memories when possible.
Proverbs 19:19 ESV - A man of great wrath will pay the penalty, for if you deliver him, you will only have to do it again.
Philippians 4:8 ESV - Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
Obedience to God is more important than pleasing anyone. I work my relationships to glorify Him.
Ignorance is not the same as innocence.
I cannot control the reactions, memories, relationships, desires, or perspectives of other people.
Proverbs 29:11 ESV - A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back.
I cannot make choices for other adults. Nor am I responsible for shielding them of the consequences of their choices.
My reasonable needs are not a nuisance for the people who love me.
I am the summation of the 5 people I spend the most time with. So are my kids. I must choose for us wisely.
Psalm 37:8 ESV - Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.
It is my responsibility to practice/ work at healthy happiness without habitual crutches of anxiety or fear. I ask God to help me make joy the atmosphere of my home.
I assume the best motives of people and remain kind.
I prayerfully consider patterns of behavior and my responses to them.
I rely on the Holy Spirit to protect me from manipulation and meanness – I do not turn to sarcasm and pointing out wrongs.
People can and do change, but trust is re-earned and proven over time.
I have talked about damage enough; I do not have to explain my stance anymore if nothing changes.
Ephesians 4:31-32 ESV - Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
Ephesians 4:25-32 ESV - Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger and give no opportunity to the devil. Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.
Copyright of Amberlin Harrison 2019
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