By Gary, on February 14th, 2012
A friend of mine pointed out the Bible passage of Galatians 5:22-23.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
Dumb question: Have you ever had an event or series of events that sparked anger within you? I have and I can probably assume that you have too. What caused the spark of anger? Was it the event? Was it your memory of a similar event? Could you let go of the anger or did the anger consume you? If you could let go, how did you do that? If you couldn’t let go, how did it feel? Want a suggestion?
Well, I think our emotional responses have a lot to do with our thoughts. Emotion, I believe comes from our thoughts and how our thoughts define the truth of the event.
Have you ever been told to “count to ten” to reduce an angry outburst. Most likely you have. Well, counting doesn’t work to reduce anger. After all, it is a product of your thoughts, not from your ability to count. Since emotion comes from our thoughts, what would help is to re-think the truth about the event. Once you find the real truth, then you come closer to the actual reality of the event which changes your thoughts about the event which changes the emotional reaction you would have.
So, when the spark of anger occurs, don’t ignore it. Experience the anger for what it is but then train yourself to “re-think” or “think twice”. During the re-thinking, focus on the real truth about the event and you will come to the correct emotional response.
In his book, “When Everything Changes Change Everything” Neale Donald Walsh challenges us this way:
“… your mind will always pay primary attention to ‘bad’ past data, and scarce attention to ‘good’ past data …” “… it explains why in so many situations the first thing many people think is ‘what could go wrong’ , the first thing they focus on is ‘how bad things are’, the first thing they tell themselves is ‘what a bummer’.
What if we re-thought the reality of the situation?
Could we change these thoughts?
‘what could go wrong’ to ‘what could go right’
‘how bad things are’ to ‘how good things are’
‘what a bummer’ to ‘what an opportunity’ ?
Philippians 4:8 says “Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”
Remember that your thoughts sponsor emotions. Anger is a powerful emotion, sponsored by your thoughts. It is your choice and under your control. Choose your thoughts to match reality.