Last night I yelled at my adult son in a very angry way. Loud, cussing, etc. Then hung the phone up on him. I spent some time this morning thinking about what really went on there. Then, I told my wife what happened and what went on inside of me when I lost my temper. It’s a perfect analogy to physical pain.
You see, God uses physical pain to tell us where on our body something is medically wrong and that we need some treatment. (1) Where does it hurt? (2) What is the cause? (3) What is the treatment? (4) Then let’s apply the treatment.
I believe our painful emotions are just the same. They point to thoughts/beliefs that are spiritually wrong or untrue. Let’s look at how this should work in the incident of attacking someone verbally and the pain you feel in the aftermath. (1) Where does it hurt? I’m feeling really, really angry at him for the things he is saying. (2) What is the cause? I’m feeling demeaned/devalued by him because, say, he told me that he didn’t like how I raised him. (3) What is the treatment? Meditating, for example, on Romans 8:1 and Romans 8:28. (4) Then applying (for example, meditating) that Truth (medicine) to the painful area. I can physically feel my emotional pain subside. But, since this was a pretty major altercation, it will take me a good part of this morning to fully remember and re-digest these Truths of God’s 100% Grace. After my pain subsides, I will be free to do a better job of loving him in the aftermath of this incident.
Can you please ponder this for a few minutes so you can get a clear picture of how physical pain is the same and helps us understand why we feel emotional pain? Believing The Truth always produces Fruit (which includes good feelings including peace and joy, etc. – the opposite of emotional pain). Believing untruth always produces emotional pain of some kind and major “fruitlessness”.
This is also called “Renewing Your Mind”. It’s also related to “Praying Without Ceasing” and “Walking in the Spirit”, the “Truth Will Set You Free” and many other Bible “idioms” (phrases that are used repeatedly to describe spiritual experiences/Truths).
As we practice this, we can get better and better at it. Eventually we live more and more in Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, Self Control (Gal. 5:22 – Fruit of the Spirit). As you practice this, difficult life’s events eventually don’t cause much emotional pain because you carry your “medicine” with you all the time and apply it as needed.
But, be careful because it’s one of those medicines that is addictive. You’ll use it all day every day as you feel fear, anger, sadness, etc. popping up in your heart. You realize you don’t have to experience these painful feelings very much as you get better at applying the Truth (medicine). I bet I apply this medicine (Truth) 100 times a day. Bad feelings are always lurking right around the corner with me. I have to keep my “eyes open” to head them off. As I experience them, I lose my ability to truly love others because I’m focused on MY pain.
All this is hard “work”. Meaning it’s hard to always 100% believe in God’s Perfect Grace. But it gets easier. I’m happy to write in more detail about how to get good at this. But only if you ask. I like to stay somewhat brief if I can.
So, back to yelling at my wonderful son. Because I had let my spiritual “guard” down, I hurt him pretty badly with my anger. The conversation we were having on the phone threatened me with such fear and anger that it was beyond my ability, at that time, to apply the Truth lavishly enough and quickly enough. Once I lost my spiritual bearings, I let it all hang out and produced the OPPOSITE of Fruit – a verbally violent attack on him by me.
Now, this morning, I’m applying “medicine” because I’m suffering emotionally a fair amount because of this incident. But this is going to take some work. I think I’m choosing Rom 8:28 for my medicine this morning. I also use Romans 8:1 all the time. I’m trying it and it seems to be helping me so far. I’ll be “working on” this lingering pain all day, I suspect.
SOME COUNTERFEIT MEDICINES
When we are “in the flesh”, we try to feel better with some wrong, ineffective, counterfeit “medicines” in an incident like this. Like:
- Focusing on the wrong behavior of the OTHER PARTY in the incident so we don’t feel as much that it’s our “fault”.
- Thinking about other people we know who are “worse” than we are in their behavior so we don’t feel so bad by comparison.
- Focusing on other, “good” things we’ve done so we can feel better about ourselves.
- Our addictions. Drinking, shopping, eating, smoking, entertainment, sleeping, etc. To avoid the pain.
- There are many other counterfeits. But you get this idea.
LAST THOUGHT – REALLY COOL!
Want to hear something that is SO, SO, SO VERY COOL!!! This son has embraced Grace as of about 6 months ago. Because of this, here’s the text he sent me after I verbally abused him. He wrote: “Hey, if you truly feel u r forgiven which you are, you shouldn’t feel bad about that phone call. I love you.” He’s been applying the medicine and reminding me to apply it via this text.