REACTIONS AND IDOLS
Every one of us has feelings, and we react to the world around us. We are born with a desire to build a kingdom in which we can reign as king. It doesnt have to be a large kingdom where everyone in the world has to bow down before us. It just has to be mine to judge and mine to control.
What we do not realize is the effect of our will on our reactions to the world around us, and the effect of our reactions to the world on our wills. Every reaction that I have to the world around me, supplies me with a new idol of some sort. It will either be positive or negative. It will be someone I want to please or someone I want to hurt.
The theological problem with our reactions is the fact that they are beyond our reach. They place some of the initiative for our lives in the hands of someone or something else. They raise up in our lives another god to pull the strings in our comfort zone.
Our expectations are the normal ground of our reactions. If I expect someone to be proficient in some responsibility that I have given them, and they do not perform up to my expectations, I am angry. I have a right to be angry, but that does not keep anger from being a destructive element in my life.
My expectations are not usually considered when I decided to move in a particular direction. They seem to be hidden beneath the oughts and shoulds of everyday existence. They are usually shared with a number of others who surround me. That makes the expectations more binding in my reaction to the set of circumstances I am facing.
My expectations grow out of a number of sources in my life, beginning with my conception and gestation in my mothers womb. My memory has begun to fill up the gaps in my creation. My perception of life in my mothers body lets me know that I was wanted or not wanted. By the time I was born, I knew that I was expected to be a boy or a girl.
If my mother was sick during her pregnancy, I knew the guilt of being the one who caused her the pain and discomfort. I was the center, and my expectations were being shaped as I lived through the initial days of my life following birth.
I had developed some expectations of myself as well as my mother. If I was not bonded with my mother when I was born, I felt the abandonment the rest of my life, and the fear of abandonment was something that I feared.
FAIR OR PRACTICAL?
There is no doubt in my mind that we are born with a sense of justice that is a
residual memory from the Garden of Eden. There
has been no justice since the Fall, but we are born with the idea of fairness. Perhaps the first words that a child says when he
begins to talk is, Thats not fair.
There is no doubt in my mind that we are born with a sense of justice that is a residual memory from the Garden of Eden. There has been no justice since the Fall, but we are born with the idea of fairness. Perhaps the first words that a child says when he begins to talk is, Thats not fair.
Since there is nothing that we can all agree upon as fair, we might look at the cost of demanding fairness. I get angry because my expectations were not met. When I am young, I hit, kick, bite and scream. As I get older I fight. As I grow in wisdom and see that it is not a good thing to fight someone larger than I, I stuff the anger down within.
Whatever I do, I am hurt. I am bound to the one against whom I hold the grudge. When I think of them I recall the anger also. I let them take the initiative in my life as I spend time and energy seeing how I can get even. When the adrenaline flows, the fat molecules enter my blood stream and are either burned out as I commit myself to exercise or settle out threatening my cardiovascular system.
Some people are charged up when they are angry and get a kick out of the adrenaline rush, but no one truly enjoys anger. While certain people nurse grudges, they cannot enjoy the energy and peace that they cost the nurse.
On the other side of the coin, I find that when I am able to forgive, I can put that person down, and cut the strings that were attached until I was willing to forgive and accept them as Jesus taught me to accept.
When I catch myself in a reaction pattern that is positive, I might think that I am doing the right thing, and all is well, but I am never the less bound to the one to whom I react. When I react negatively, I am bound in a negative manner. In both circumstances, I am not free to walk away, and the strings that pull at me in all directions continue to increase the stress I face.
WHAT CAN WE DO?
The cause of most reactions is expectation. We are born with them, and we continue to accumulate them as we grow old. The remedy for reaction is forgiveness. When we see that we are reacting, we accept the person for what they are instead of what we expected, and ask the Lord what we are to do. What He gives us to do is to release our expectations to Him, and He gives us love to fill the void left when we relinquish our expectations.
We can work at developing an awareness of our reactions. We can note the people against whom we are holding anger and resentment, or the people for whom we feel passionate love instead of Gods love. We can develop a habit of seeking to forgive the moment we see what we have done.
If we are not able to forgive, and we are willing to forgive, then we ask the Lord to forgive through us so we might get in on His forgiveness. We are forgiven our trespasses as we are willing to forgive those who trespass against us. We are set free.
We seek from God the directions on how to express His love for that person. We remember that we are all going to BE the best person we are able to be. In any given moment we will all choose what we believe will best fulfill our lives in any given circumstance.
My expectation of myself must be that I am going to mess up from time to time, and Gods redemptive love will pick me up when I fall. My expectation of God is that He loves me, and no matter what I do, His love will surround and enable me to overcome.