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Changing Myself for the Better Regardless of What Happens

Changing Myself for the Better Regardless of What Happens

By Paul R. Blake

            The fact that God created us and gave us the gift of self-determination or free will means that we have the power to change ourselves. We are not victims of circumstances that force us to act out and behave poorly. We have the ability to choose how we will react to circumstances; and not just how we react, but also how we feel it as well. Yes, we can choose how we feel about everything that happens. The apostle Paul wrote about brethren who were preaching just to make life difficult for him in prison. Paul chose to be happy that Christ was preached, rather than be angry that others were trying to harm him by preaching (Phil 1:15-18). We can choose how we feel; and in choosing how we feel, we will be enabled to choose what we will say and do about bad circumstances.

            Secular author Albert Ellis in Guide to Rational Living wrote that there are four parts to any action we engage:

            a) The event or circumstance (It is sometimes beyond our control),

            b) The self-talk (It is what we say to ourselves about it),

            c) The emotional response (It is what we feel about what we say),

            d) The action (c & d are determined by b). If we can say something healthy, helpful, or peaceable in b, then our feelings and actions will also be healthy, helpful, and peaceable in c & d.

Let me illustrate it with Road Rage.

            a) Event - driver cuts us off in traffic; we narrowly avoid a crash.

            b) Self-talk - We say, “What an idiot; he tried to kill me!”

            c) Emotion - We are angry, we hate the driver, and we want revenge.

            d) Action - We either act out against him, or take it out on others.

Or we can try to go in a different direction (no pun intended): Road Reasonable.

            a) Event - driver cuts us off in traffic; we narrowly avoid a crash.

            b) Self-talk - We say, “I’m thankful there wasn’t an accident!”

            c) Emotion - We feel relief and thankfulness.

            d) Action - The adrenaline surge passes; we go on with our day without harmful incident.

Would this work in other matters? Consider: Brother Brush-off at church services.

            a) Event - Brother enters grouchy and brashly ignores my greeting.

            b) Self-talk - “What is his problem?! Who does he think he is?! What did I do to offend him?!”

            c) Emotion - I feel upset, hurt, paranoid, and vengeful.

            d) Action - I treat him the same way next time, thus erecting a wall against healthy communication.

Try the following instead: Be brother Bear-with.

            a) Event - Brother enters grouchy and brashly ignores my greeting.

            b) Self-talk - “He must be having a bad day. I wonder if someone close to him is sick?”

            c) Emotion - My feelings are empathy, compassion, and concern.

            d) Action - I offer an encouraging word or some help.

How is the world changed by this approach?

            a) I remain at peace with myself, my brother, and my God.

            b) My grumpy brother gets good treatment that has the potential to change his outlook.

            c) Witnesses are edified and encouraged to do the same.

            d) Brotherly love unity is strengthened.

            This approach is Bible based. There are three clear Bible principles of reciprocity or repaying others:

            a) The First Principle of Biblical Reciprocity: repay good with good (2Cor. 6:11-13).

            b) The Second Principle of Biblical Reciprocity: repay evil with good (Rom. 12:17-21).

            c) The Third Principle of Biblical Reciprocity: love requires that all of our responses be good, regardless of how we are treated (1Cor. 13:3-7).

How to Live a Long Life

            The old man had lived to be 95 and was still healthy and active. One day a friend asked how he managed to live that long and still be so strong and energetic. He said that perhaps a number of things contributed to it, but one thing really stood out in his mind. He said that he and his wife had been married for 75 years; and when they married, they had a little private agreement to the effect that there would be no fussing and quarreling in their house, and if one of them lost his or her temper and was about to blow his top, the other would get up and walk out of the house. He concluded, “Friend, you have no idea what 70 years out in the fresh air and sunshine will do for a man.” (By Roy E. Cogdill, via The Old Path)

A Moments Wisdom

--If you want to hear about the trouble in the church, ask some ungodly person.

--Giving is grace; not giving is disgrace.

--People seldom “lose their religion” by a blowout; it’s usually a slow leak.

--Moderation in sin is no more possible than moderation in hanging.

--Postponed obedience is disobedience.

--Christ will not live in the parlor of our hearts if we entertain the Devil in the basement of our minds.

--When a good man suffers, all who call themselves good must suffer with him. (Euripedes)

--The Christ we will not share, we cannot keep.

--Don’t be yourself; be what you ought to be.

--I was never of much use to the Lord until I found out that God did not intend for me to be a great man.

--Don't resent growing old; many are denied the privilege.

--Defending our faults shows that we have no intention of quitting them.

Test Your Bible Knowledge

What was Saul doing before he was anointed to be king? __________

What was David before he was anointed by Samuel to be king? __________

Both Saul and David were anointed by what prophet? __________

Since Saul and David began with similar humble backgrounds and were chosen by God and anointed to be king by the same prophet, why did their reigns as king turn out so differently? ____________________

What did David do when he made mistakes? __________

What could Saul have done differently when he made mistakes? __________

Upcoming Sermons

4/11/21 AM - Saving the Samaritans; PM - God Wants Us to Be Happy

4/18/21 AM - When I Don’t Know the Answer; PM - Zechariah and the Sharp Dressed Man

4/25/21 AM - “Now You are Speaking Plainly”; PM - “Aaron Shall be Gathered to His People”

  1. Sun AM Bible Study
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