Getting angry doesn’t make a bad situation better

I struggle with bad drivers. It’s really the one thing that gets me unreasonably upset. I’m not the greatest driver in the world either, but it just makes me really really angry when other people on the road don’t take it seriously. It’s like they don’t understand that they’re controlling a giant killing machine. A car is a weapon, yet many drivers treat it like a toy.

I get angry. And I know I’ve said some things (my passengers can attest) that weren’t very flattering about other drivers on the road. But can you think of a time when yelling at a bad driver actually made them a better driver? Can you actually think of a time when yelling at anyone actually helped them?

man-couple-people-woman_1523x1016Today’s verses are 2 Timothy 2:25-26.

Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth. Then they will come to their senses and escape from the devil’s trap. For they have been held captive by him to do whatever he wants.

It’s tempting to yell and get angry, especially when we’re mad, but in my experience, losing my temper with someone else never fixes a bad situation. It only makes it worse.

Maybe it’s driving. Maybe it’s schoolwork. Maybe it’s a work project. Whatever situation you’re in, if you’re shouting and getting upset at the people around you, that won’t make them work harder. If anything, it will make them want to quit. It will just put distance between you and them.

Now, don’t get me wrong. You still need to speak up for what’s right. You still need to communicate with other people about what you’re thinking and feeling, but you should do it it in a way that is respectful. Be gentle about it.

Being gentle isn’t be weak. That’s an important thing to remember. Being gentle just means you’re taking their thoughts and feelings into consideration. You aren’t behaving like a bulldozer and steamrolling everyone in your path. Oftentimes being gentle actually takes more strength than letting loose on someone does.

If you know someone who believes a lie or who is antagonistic to the truth or who is just being stupid, regardless of how angry you are at them, it’s your job to love them. That’s our job. Period. Love people, in spite of how they act. Don’t pull punches, though. What’s true is true, whether people believe it or not, and as a Christ-follower it’s your job to be right. You should know what God says and so it. But that doesn’t mean you have to pummel people over the head with clubs. We don’t use the Bible to beat people up. We use the Bible to teach ourselves how to live, and in the peace of the life we life with Christ, other people come to Him.

Remember, it’s not up to us to save people. It’s up to us to live the way God says, and people around us will be drawn to that.

So don’t put it on yourself to bludgeon people into submission. If you’re going to bludgeon anyone, bludgeon yourself.

You can fight someone else all day long and have nothing to show for it but a fractured relationship. Instead, speak what’s true with love. You can tell people what God says without being hurtful. Do that instead. Leave the rest to God. He’s the only one who can change hearts, and that’s where the root of all our problems starts anyway.

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Pretty yellow flower at the Dallas Arboretum, Dallas, TX

God’s strength is enough

If you’ve been following this blog for any amount of time, you know that I hate waiting. I’m a doer, a performance-driven perfectionist, and I don’t like having to wait on anything, especially if it’s something I can do myself. But I’ve walked with God long enough to know that I can’t do everything, even though I often feel responsible for it anyway. And no matter how much I learn about following Christ, I still try to carry everyone else’s burdens on my own shoulders. If you’re that kind of person too, you know how exhausting it is, physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. We weren’t made to carry such heavy loads, but we try anyway.

Pretty yellow flower at the Dallas Arboretum, Dallas, TX

Pretty yellow flower at the Dallas Arboretum, Dallas, TX

Today’s verse is Isaiah 33:2.

But Lord, be merciful to us,
    for we have waited for you.
Be our strong arm each day
    and our salvation in times of trouble.

I don’t know about you guys, but I’m tired. I’m already worn out, and the craziness that is the fall season hasn’t even started yet. Life is only going to get busier as the year spirals rapidly toward its conclusion, and as wild as the first three quarters of the year have been, I’m just moving forward with the assumption that the last quarter will be wilder. It usually is.

The ironic part is that most of the things that are wearing me down are things I have no control over. Why is that? Why is it that the things that sap the most of our strength are the things we can’t change or the things we can’t fix?

This post isn’t deep or revolutionary this morning. It’s probably not even going to be very long. I’m too tired for that. But I ran across this verse this morning, and I remembered something I already knew: God’s strength is enough.

How obvious is that? Why do we always forget the obvious things? I forget the obvious and stress over the the problems I can’t fix. That’s my human experience in a nutshell. But that’s not the way a Christ-follower is supposed to live. It’s not weakness to rely on God’s strength and His help; it’s what He expects.

We were never meant to struggle through life on our own, carrying our own burdens, carrying other people’s burdens, weary and worn out. We’re supposed to give our burdens to Him. God is meant to be our strength and our salvation when we hit those hard moments in life, when we cross those low valleys where it’s too dark to see and we’re too tired to walk any further. We’re not a disappointment when we lean on His strength; that’s what He wants. That’s what He’s there for. And His strength is greater than ours is any day.

So when you encounter those moments, don’t be afraid to draw on God’s strength. Ideally, if you can lean on God’s strength before your own wears out, you might get through the low points in life without being so exhausted. That’s my problem. I exhaust myself utterly before I start letting God take care of things, but I don’t think that’s the way we’re supposed to live. God is walking with us. He’s in our lives every moment, and He’s there waiting for us to let go of our pride and ask for His help.

We don’t need to be weary. We don’t need to reach the breaking point before we ask for Him to help us. Fortunately, He restores the weary and gives new strength to the weak. I’m counting on that as I forge ahead into the highs and lows that are coming. But I’m praying that I remember this time that I don’t need to hit the bottom before I ask for His help. I can walk into trouble with His strength instead of my own, and His strength doesn’t run out.