Years ago, I bought a helpful pamphlet entitled, “Your Reactions Are Showing.”
At the time I was dealing with some anger issues that I was trying to “kill/mortify” from my life. My children’s behavior “made” me angry—or so I thought. The truth is, I was angry because I had anger in my heart. My children’s behavior was just a pressure that exposed what was already there.
This booklet was so helpful, that when a woman sought advice last week for anger in her own life, I told her she could borrow it and admitted how helpful it had been to me. Lo and behold, it’s online free!
“A cup brimful of sweetness cannot spill even one drop of bitter water, no matter how suddenly jarred.” Elizabeth Elliot
“These kids are driving me crazy! That’s why I snapped!”
“My husband is so inattentive. He’s lucky I stay with him at all.”
“My in-laws are such beasts, so I just gave them a piece of my mind” (Or the silent treatment).
We’re all prone to magnify the sins of others and minimize our own sin. But if we are truthful with ourselves, we’ll admit that nobody causes me to sin. I choose it.
Whatever your “pressure” right now,
a stressful job, an unreasonable boss, interpersonal conflict, cranky kids, marriage problems
God is using it to conform you and change you into the image of His Son. Your choices reflect you. Your words reflect your heart, and nobody “made” you do it. Not even Satan. (“The Devil made me do it!”–This phrase always confused me because it denies the truth of free will and choice.)
When we love God most, we’ll desire to do His will. We’ll choose conformity. We’ll surrender our own sinful desires, knowing He’ll do what’s best for us if we obey His Word.
I’m not saying that this is easy. It’s not. It’s hard and humbling, and it drives you to your knees and to the cross. And that’s a good place to be.
Were a person to watch my actions, he would not really know me. My actions would not reveal to him what I really am, because my actions might be planned and practiced for his benefit. But it is our reactions–our spontaneous, unconscious, unscheduled reactions–that reveal what we really are.
Have we ever been in “hot water”? Have we been in hot water with a husband? Or wife? Or
children? Or relatives? How did we react? How did we respond? Like the dark-brown color that comes from the tea bag, something unchristian shows up in our reactions. We cannot blame someone else for putting that into us. The truth is he or she merely brought out what was dominant in us at that moment.
The hot water did not put the color in the tea bag. It brought the color out. Squeezing a lemon does not make the juice bitter or sour. So this is what our reactions do. They reveal what is already in us.
Be sure to download the free version of Your Reactions Are Showing. It’s a super helpful resource for yourself and your kids.