“We all have reasons to be angry towards injustice, abuse, or a harsh fate. Anger can either become a positive force for self-improvement and success or a destructive force of revenge and violence.
Our choice determines whether we live a productive and happy life, or a life of anger and hatred. As a whole, negative emotions are essential for living the good life because we need them to learn rules and boundaries.
These unpleasant feelings can shape us to become responsible and decent human beings. It follows that the productive way to change society is to bring order and progress to our own life first; when people reverse the order, it will only result in more frustration and chaos.” (Solving the Problem of Evil and Suffering through Meaning (Meetup 2018, Lesson 3) (Paul T.P. Wong. com)
The biblical worldview acknowledges pain and suffering as part of life and scriptures are full of men and woman who endured emotional responses to their suffering. (read a few Psalms)
Scriptures were written to display God’s activity in this world and how He relates to men and woman. It was in the midst of life’s difficulties, God became an integral and vital force who influenced productive and positive change in the everyday lives of the men and woman in biblical times. This often birthed new ways of being in promoting social changes within societal systems.
This same God is at work today in lives, changing people and transforming them into His agents, who in turn inspire others towards practicing spirituality as a Christian lifestyle, in knowing this God is one of caring compassion, spurring ways of being promoting peaceful relations.
The biblical model exemplifies the teachings of Christ as the way to be in this world, offering to us a power that supernaturally transcends our own self tendencies in responding to others. This power is called the Holy Spirit, who is integrally united in the Godhead of love; Father God, Jesus Christ, Holy Spirit.
Scriptures guide Christians in how to apply godly principles as the motivating force in their lives in adhering to spiritual ways of being. These ways of being are possible as the Holy Spirit, whose life source has been deeply infused within the human soul, gives all those who believe in Jesus the ability to become God’s Hearts upon this earth.
My belief is that we were created by God. God gave us free will. Free will to choose. Free will to choose God. Free will to choose how we relate to our own selves and how we conduct our lives. Free will to choose how we relate to other persons. Free will to choose how we relate to adversity, pain and suffering.
How we choose to relate to others and how we choose to relate to our own painful experiences makes a difference in who we are becoming as a person. Our choices determine our character.
“More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” (Romans 5:3-5)
When we learn to choose those things in life that will enhance our inner realm in fostering traits such as kindness, caring compassionately, peaceful exchanges as human beings, we are in turn, pouring into our own souls these same positive attributes that will build us up in our inner person.
When we learn to accept that both pain and suffering will always be a part of life, we will not be so caught off guard when it knocks on our door or when we see it being displayed in world events.
“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.” (1 Peter 4:12-13)
I have come to know that it is only when I enter into my emotional responses to my experiences where I learn to become integrated as a wholesome balanced person.
When I do not run away from challenging emotions, but face them, allowing difficult feeling states to be sensed, felt, and accepted, I am learning the tough challenge of integrating light and dark emotions.
God created us as humans to have complex emotional states and just as Jesus entered into the suffering of those persons He related to, so He enters our suffering today as we live out our faith lives.
Jesus learned obedience through those things He suffered and so do we, when we choose the Christ way of love, peace, and compassion in the midst of suffering in our own self and with those we relate to in this world.
Often our circumstances will not change, nor will they change in those we serve, but our hearts can and do when we allow the One who is love to inhabit our service and interactions towards others in our relationships .
Love girds us up, helping us to persevere in the most trying of situations. Love is the force that births new ways of relating and is the power that changes hearts, one person at a time.
It is the love of God who dwells in those spaces of our humanity, where we fail to understand suffering, who becomes the source who gives us ability to continue this forward journey as humans who walk in the adversity of pain known in this world.
Realistically engaging in this world, means that we understand human suffering and pain exists. When we know this exists we will not be surprised when we see it at work in this world. We do not have to like it or even know why it is happening, as we will not have answers to the many things we experience.
Light and dark emotions are inherent components of our own humanity and are at work in our own being. When we choose to not respond to others in a moral, decent and respectful fashion, we are choosing to feed the human tendency in us that is dark, which can then lead us down a road that breeds strife, conflict and chaos in relationships.
When we choose the Christ way of relating with others, we are putting to death our own human tendencies, and we are stepping into the Grace of Christ who gives us the compassion, love, and ability to carry out His work in lovingly being His heart towards all.
“And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that you always having all-sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.” 2 Corinthians 9
God’s grace is accessible, available and unlimited. His grace becomes the bridge in our limited understanding of pain and suffering, giving us a way in it, to become compassionate beings, spreading the loving way of the cross in our relationships, spurring change in our world.
This does not mean we never express anger, resentment, or hurt towards others. But it is in learning how to express these darker emotions in an appropriate manner that allows us to continue to grow as the spiritual creations we have been birthed into becoming as the sons and daughters of God.
Having a moral conscience (Holy Spirit) calls us to take this higher road which is walking the narrow path of faith, in being Christ like in our inner thoughts, attitudes and ways of being, that manifest with healthy behaviors in our relationships.
We can enhance our lives, along with those we are in near relationship with, when we choose to continue in this growth process as humans, becoming spiritual beings, in allowing the Spirit of Christ to be the moral compass who drives our motivations and ways of relating to ourselves, others and life challenges.
It is only when we learn to embrace all of life; difficulties and joys, tragedy and pleasures, pain and happiness, suffering and peace; where we take charge in owning up to our responsibility in changing our own individual lives as a priority, before we set a course in trying to change others.
In order to effectively bring change to others in our world, we must be willing to do the hard work in allowing Christ to change us, bending to His Spirit to do this miraculous work in us, so we can walk as the new creations we are in Him.
We as a people are able to lead others along this journey towards an improved way of being in our society, only if we ourselves have walked this road ourselves. We cannot lead anyone anywhere unless we have learned through our own hardships and trials how to manage our responses to others through effective communications.
It is when we implement our learning in relating to others in ways that are conducive to open discussions, we as a society can bring about the changes needed to build stronger and healthier communities.
In allowing the Spirit of God to transform our own blindness into the light of Christ who shines love as the way of being, we become effective agents in bringing productive change in those circles of influence we participate in and with. This has a ripple effect in our relational encounters, for others will see our genuineness, sincerity and love and these traits will draw them into an environment where communications can occur that have the potential to drive others in promoting positive changes.
When individuals make these positive changes in their own lives, they will become agents inspiring change in their relationships and also in their outer lying networks .
When we become the change needed in our neighborhoods, in our communities, in our churches, in our part of the world, instead of waiting for this change to happen, we are forging new pathways of understanding.
When we remain steadfast in our endeavors in serving beyond our own self needs, we are forming holy alliances where Christ’s love becomes our motivation, bonding and securing our relationships in peaceful interactions.
It is only in conducting my interactions in this way, will I bring about constructive social changes in those around me, inspiring them to in turn, become the vessel of bridging the divide among people and build pathways in peaceful relating.
The way we live matters and how we choose to relate in our most intimate and personal relationships cause us to be either productive influencers, that inspire positive change in others, leading the way to peace, compassion and love as ways of being; or we become part of the problem in negatively influencing others, leading to chaos, violence and death.
Those of us who profess Christianity as a lifestyle, have been gifted with this power, called the Holy Spirit, who gives us ability to weather all that comes to us in this life; the good and the bad. Whether we understand the why of situations, or not, it is when we learn this process of entering into being present with our own pain and in being present with others in their suffering, where God’s greatest gift of love is demonstrated.
To conclude, it is not when we deny, dismiss, or bury our emotional responses to pain and suffering, (including the suffering we encounter in others and in this world), it is only when we learn to bravely acknowledge, accept and allow light and dark emotions as intricately designed components of our humanity, in learning to be present in them, where we become all of whom God created us to be, authentic men and woman who are called His beloved.
It is in being real with ourselves and with others we learn to enter into all our life experiences in a courageous vulnerability that becomes our strength in our weaknesses.
It is when my faith becomes experimentally challenged in the reality of this suffering do I realize my need in continually embracing the Christ way of being, in my daily spiritual practice in choosing to allow the Spirit to be my moral conscience in how I am walking this narrow path as a Christian.
Social change is inspired when I promote those acts of compassion, empathy, understanding in my own sphere of influence, in my neighborhood and outer lying community.
Change does occur and I can make a difference in my own realm of the world, when my lifestyle and inner attitude is one of serving others, continuing to grow in maturing as a godly woman, and treating others with dignity, respect, in embracing them with lovingly responding as a life choice.
This is part 3 in a series in learning to stop reacting and begin to respond Christ like in our relationships.
Part 1 and 2 can be viewed by clicking:
Part 1 We can choose to say No
What are your thoughts to this article? What types of responses does this bring up in you? In what ways are you influencing others towards productive changes?
Please share in ‘Penny for your thoughts’ section at the end of this post!