Instead of Anger and Division — Act out Your Faith!

In celebration of my birthday, I’m giving away one copy of my latest book, Go For It! To enter the drawing, leave a comment on this post. More details to follow below.

Live a life worthy of the calling you have received… Ephesians 4: 1.

In America, and in many other countries, we are going through a time of anger, conflict, and division. Each viewpoint is driven home by arguments, scorn, and rejection of those who hold different views.  Friends have told me that they cannot share their thoughts with work colleagues. Others are verbally attacked by family members they once got along with.  And one woman was reported as planning to divorce her husband because of who he voted for in the recent presidential election. Yikes!

What is happening? And what can we do to shine as

lights in a dark and divided world?

Whoever you voted for, and whatever views you hold, God’s Word gives us principles to live by—which is another reason we need to take it in regularly.

This is not the full answer but here are 7 verses that, if practiced consistently, will make a difference in your stress level, your mood, and how you come across to people who don’t share your views!

  1. Psalm 119:105. Get your input from God’s Word, not your favorite network or news source. What does God say about how to handle the situations you’re facing?
  1. Psalm 37:1. Don’t fret. Don’t get unduly upset! Stay cool! Breathe deeply. Step back.  Recognize that worry and anticipating the unknown will not help you. Jesus repeated this principle five times in Matthew 6:25-34.  Your worry will not change a situation, but it will eat away at you! Repeat to God: “I trust YOU!”
  1. Proverbs 21:23. Guard your words! Plaster the old advice on your brain, Think before you speak! In today’s climate, whatever you say can bring derision and division—from both sides of the issue. Check your motive in speaking out, and consider the possible outcome. Is it something that helps or hinders the person or situation? Eph.4:29.faith community friends
  1. Micah 6:8. Do what God requires of you. It’s not complicated. Be fair and just toward others. Be compassionate and merciful. Walk humbly with God. Show God’s heart through your words and actions.
  1. Romans 12:17-18. Don’t play tit for tat. Don’t repay anyone evil for evil. As far as it depends on you, live in peace with everyone. Jesus didn’t respond to insults and we’re to do the same. You can read about my somewhat humorous encounter with a difficult person hereThrive 4 Responses to Difficult People
  1. Philippians 2:14. Shine like Jesus in your universe. Choose to be a positive influence in your various circles. Show interest, learn to listen without interrupting, look for the fears that are driving their emotions, and yours. Pray for insight to identify the values you have in common–and build on those, not your differences. Remember it’s not about winning an argument or a convert to your opinions, it’s about revealing the love and peace God can give in any situation.

Want to brush up on your listening skills? Click here: http://bit.ly/2lWwizw

  1. 1 Peter 4: 8-11. Praise God if you suffer for being a Christian. Don’t assume that all attacks or rejection are because of your faith. Sometimes they come because of insensitive reactions, mean words, accusations, or other negative behaviors on our part. But if you’re on the receiving end of scorn or dislike because of your identification with Jesus, remember His words: Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. Matthew 5: 11-12.

You’ll find more practical principles and help on dealing with conflict of all kinds in my book, Reaching Higher. In his conflict with Lot, Abraham shows us how to handle it.

If your conflict is with your spouse, you’ll find many helps for better communication in Why Can’t He be More Like Me? You can order an autographed copy from my website or from Amazon.

Let’s talk: What’s troubling you the most in our current social divisions? What teachings from Scripture are helping you act out your faith?

Poppy

Now it’s time to enter the drawing! To win a copy of my latest book, Go For It!, leave a comment below sharing about a time in your life when you chose to act out your faith instead of letting anger and division control you. (Winner must be a resident of the Continental United States. Contest ends March 15, 2017.)

Update: Congratulations to Debbie McAlear who won a copy of my latest book, Go For It!, during my birthday celebration!

In case you missed my latest YouTube videos, here are two. One is a hilarious situation I experienced recently and one is an inspirational video regarding transformation. Enjoy!

 

Photo credits: Dollarphotoclub_69793015, Dollarphotoclub_51199267

    As an international speaker, multi-published author, Bible teacher, mentor, and spiritual coach, it's my goal to encourage women to thrive in their relationship with Christ and in life.

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    10 thoughts on “Instead of Anger and Division — Act out Your Faith!

    1. Continuing your political discontent theme, a couple of years ago I began to feel bitter and disenfranchised, like my country had been stolen from me, very frustrated, and I was angry. I began to ‘chime in’ with every social media post and popular talking point supporting ‘my side’.
      I realized I felt ‘herded’. Instead of carrying on, filling my mind with the stuff that produces more anxiety, I decided to look into this feeling, I found with a little googling, an article about common manipulation techniques. I recognised the ease of utilizing a “False Dichotomy” creates a populace that is easy to control. I know it sounds like I have some crazy conspiracy theory about our government, but I really think our nature and the current instant access to communication, together with the media seeking increased ratings, has resulted in the polarization of our world.
      So, I slowed down ‘jumping on the bandwagon’ and began to calmly consider each position and issue individually.
      My fears and anxiety were eased with considering the books of Revelation (everything is going as God intended) and Proverbs (seek Wisdom). I’m able to relax, and know my Father knows the future, nothing surprises Him.

      • So fun to reply to another Poppy! I’m glad you’ve found that reminding yourself of what Scripture teaches, choosing to be a peacemaker, and keeping the perspective of trusting God has helped you calm down! I also work on being more aware of my emotions and intensity and remind myself to calm down and give the issue to the Lord. Poppy

    2. Hi Poppy,
      Thank you so much for this post. This was very helpful!
      There were many times I had to be quiet and listen to friends and family about their political stance. Every point you made on the blog was exactly what was in my heart and needed to hear.

      Miss our Israel trip together! Please send my regards to Jim.

      Julie

      • Hi Julie, Glad the points and Scriptures I shared were helpful. All that’s going on is giving us many chances to practice some key aspects of following the Lord! Poppy

    3. I live with a difficult situation. A family member drinks alcohol and it affects his moods. He is easily prone to anger and will often not show up at family gatherings though he has said he would. At first I was confused then scared. Angry texts and messages on my phone would unnerve me. I cancelled my Facebook account because healthy boundaries were violated.
      One evening, as I read a stream of angry texts, I saw clearly the hold of addiction. I did not respond, but, instead, prayed for him and, went on a mission trip to Uganda. Living God’s dream for me kept me centered and allowed me to treat this family member with kindness and respect but no longer be taken up into the chaos.
      I don’t know the pain of addiction myself but, I see the pain in my loved one and pray daily for him, pray that what needs to surface and be healed will happen.

      • Teresa, you found a good way to handle anger and division, move forward with your own life as God leads. Know that God wants good for you and the strength you are showing in your walk with Him will be seen. Thank you for sharing how you’re responding to the pain of division in your family. Blessings, Poppy

    4. The day before my mother died, my boss terminated my job. He didn’t give me a good reason. I knew my mother was dying and I just grabbed my things and took off. I went straight to the “foster” home where she was being cared for and joined two of my three brothers at her bed side. She died the next day while the three of us were by her side. My third brother who lived out of state called her just minutes before she died. She was beyond talking at the point my brother called, but her eyes opened wide and she smiled broadly at hearing his voice. She died shortly after we hung up the phone. I could have been very angry at my boss for laying me off that day. He knew she was close to death, but I choice to look at the “bright side.” I’m not saying I didn’t or haven’t been a little upset at his poor timing (and his reason for laying me off — won’t go into that now.) But being without a job made being executor of her (and my dad’s — who had died 9 months before — will) much easier as there were a lot of details to take care of that could only be done during “working hours.” I would have had to have quit my job anyway. My boss did give me a really nice recommendation and while I never did find full time work, the work I’m doing I love better then what I was doing at the time my mom died. AND I got to be with my mom in her last moments and witness the sweet miracle of the timing of my brother’s phone call and my mom’s last smile as she went off to Heaven.

      • Thanks for sharing, Candace. I’ve found that hindsight often shows us that things we didn’t see at first. Pain is never easy to experience, but it does yield good fruit as we reflect on what came out of it. Glad you’re enjoying your current job. Poppy

    5. The time in my life that I have chosen to not act out my anger was just in the past couple of months…

      I have a dear friend of 30 years–a very, very close friend. We raised our children together, we went through divorces together, we loaned each other money during times of struggling as single moms, we served in our church together, we vacationed together. Her daughter babysat my children, I helped her with her daughter’s wedding and helped her move. She has been there for every crisis in my life for 30 years. We have supported each other with scripture, with encouraging emails and 2-3 hour phone calls. During those years we never discussed politics more than in passing. I knew she was more liberal than me, but I don’t base my friendships on political persuasion but rather, who you are as a person. I care much more about your love for God, your honesty, and your heart than I do who you voted for.

      So you can imagine my shock to receive an email from this friend, two days post-election in November 2016, detailing for me how my lack of a vote for her candidate cost her the election. I told my friend I was not any of the names she was calling me (racist, homophobe, mysogonist, etc.) and that I voted for the Supreme Court–to me the most important element of the election. She replied and said my actions showed her that I was an individual “undeserving” of her friendship.

      I wrote back and asked how you could just abandon a deep friendship as sisters-in-Christ and why, in emails as recently as in the past week, the past month, had there been no sign of what had to be long-time-brewing resentment?! Her reply was curt and accusatory and I did not email again. There was no use.

      But she was on my heart over the next month. At Christmas time, I prayed and prayed about writing her and sending a Christmas card. I ended up writing a short letter, apologizing for anything she might have taken offense for and telling her that I believed as sisters-in-Christ, we needed to reconcile and find common ground again. I told her: “I hope someday you can relate to me again. I do know that God is not happy when Christians are at odds with each other. I love you and I am praying for you. Thank you again for responding.” She replied in a curt email that she simply “could not tolerate” someone with my beliefs.

      It’s been a long process, struggling with so many emotions. I first cried, reading and re-reading the words that so hurt my heart. Sadness and shock gave way to a sense of utter betrayal, and experiencing anger myself. Finally I moved on to accepting and grieving the loss of her friendship, and then after a few weeks, to forgiveness. I have finally understood the Serenity Prayer’s advice to have the wisdom to know the difference between the things I can change, and those I cannot.

      I have tried to focus on how I can respond with compassion to her/or others who may be angry. I have prayed for her to get past the anger but I know that it is not something she wants to give up right now. I’ve come to accept that even someone so close can disappoint you, without any warning. And that to allow someone else’s actions to “break me” is not relying on the one who is to be my real strength, Jesus. I have accepted that my friend may never get past this, and I likely may never see or talk to her again on earth. I am heartened by the fact that, regardless of what happens here, we will be reunited in loving relationship in eternity.

      Thank you for your article with the great advice and Scripture support. Your blog post was sent to me by a fellow BSFer who knows what I have experienced with my friend. And thank you for allowing me to share my story with you. God bless you!

      • Dear Debbie, I am so sorry to hear of your very painful experience. It certainly amplifies why I wrote this article. I have a good friend, also of many years, and we realized last year that politics was not a good topic for us, so we didn’t discuss our views. I am glad to say we are still friends. I appreciate how you handled this hurtful rejection of you as a person because of your different views. Pain, disappointment, shock, anger etc. are human reactions but you have come through this with maturity and strength from the Lord. I hope that one day your friend will seek you out and see that our unity is in our One Lord and One faith, not in our political views. Blessings and continued strength from Him. Poppy

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