Tag Archives: anger

F.I.R.E.

California is ablaze. It is surreal to see pictures of an entire town decimated by flames.

No amount of water could stop the Valley Fire from chewing up every piece of timber, plastic, metal, or anything else flammable that was in its path. It is shaping up to be one of the most destructive and costly fires California has ever seen.

Seeing the images and smelling the smoke has churned my thoughts. How does a fire relate to our relationships? Here are a few…

When you are antagonizing a friend – you are “playing with fire”.

When you are making amends – you are “putting out a fire”.

When you want someone (namely your spouse) – you are “burning with a passion”.

Fire has many uses. You can warm your entire home with a fire in your fireplace, wood stove, or gas heater. You can use it as light for your path (torch) or as lighting for a romantic evening with your spouse (candles). You can use it to cook, roast marshmallows, bend metal, heat glass to create beautiful art, purify virtually any metal, boil away contamination in water, and the list goes on…

Fire, if left unchecked, can destroy virtually anything. Have you ever had a spark fly off of a campfire and burn a hole in your clothes, your camp chair, or even your hair? Have you ever gotten too close to a fire and burned your skin? Have you or someone you have known lost a home to a fire unchecked?

In our relationships, FIRE is not the flame, smoke and ash we would normally see.

Two applications of FIRE in our relationships could be the following:

  1. The FIRE we have in our hearts for those we love. We often hear we need to “keep the fire alive” when it comes to our married relationships. A fire cannot sustain itself without something to fuel it. Therefore, relationships need to continually be fed with the right combination in order to keep it alive.
  2. The FIRE of anger and resentment when faced with a difficulty in relationship. Think about it – if an issue in your relationship with someone goes unchecked, gossip, resentment, conflict, bitterness and hurt can rage on to not only damage the relationship with the one you are having the difficulty with, but other relationships around you as well. Remember, though, fire needs fuel to continue to rage. You can stop this kind of fire in relationship by battling it with forgiveness, grace, mercy and seeking reconciliation.

The other kind of fire that comes to mind is that of our own tongue. There is a passage in the Bible that says the following: “Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.” ~James 3:5-6

Well, can you be any more blunt?

I don’t know about you, but I would rather have a fire that warms, comforts, purifies, and incites passion than one that rages, destroys, burns and leaves wounds that take a long time to heal.

Here are four ways you can keep a fire in check and useful for keeping your relationships alive and healthy…

  1. Forgiveness
  2. Integrity
  3. Respect
  4. Empathy

Of course, there are many other positive elements we can focus on, but I can guarantee you, with these four you are well on your way to creating, maintaining, and even growing meaningful long-lasting relationships with others. All of them take work, humility, love and a willing heart.

Keep the healthy FIRES of relationship alive.

To learn more about the Lost Art of Relationship, keep on reading at www.LostArtOfRelationship.com .


LOVE…

LOVE

Ahhhhhhh! Love!

What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear this word?

Romance? Emotions? Honeymoon? Funny feelings in your tummy?

Kissing? Hugs?

Interestingly enough, I put this phrase into Google “first thing you think of when you hear LOVE,” and the first link to pop up for me was a Yahoo Answers link. On it were answers such as these – in no particular order:

Fairy tale

Anger, pain and sadness

…being hurt

It’s an illusion

What IS it?

What was your first thought?

For the most part, we have allowed our society to dictate to us what LOVE is.

The first thing we must realize is that LOVE has no working definition. WHAT?!?! Try to define it and someone else will come up with another definition totally different than yours. Also, some of us define love based on our own experiences – whether positive or negative.

Some would define love as “hugging your children” while another might say what you feel on your wedding day. The two are VERY different emotions/feelings, but is that love?

Some may even define love as a sexual relationship or attraction.

Here is my answer to all of these. LOVE is not ANY of these things!

So, what is love? And cue song… “baby don’t hurt me, don’t hurt me, no more…” (By Haddaway)

Great question! I’m glad you asked!

First let me describe what LOVE is not

It is not an emotion. It is not a feeling. It is not sex. It is not getting what you want all the time.

LOVE is a behavior, an action, a decision, a commitment. Let me be more specific:

Love is a choice. You cannot fall IN to love.

Let’s say you are standing on the edge of a cliff and down below about 20 feet is a pool of water. You are contemplating jumping off into the cool water, but you hesitate. Finally you decide it is worth the risk and you make the decision to jump in.

NOW, imagine you are on that same cliff, looking at the same water. You trip and fall tumbling over the side into the cool water. What is your first reaction? Is it one of elation? Or are you unsure of what is happening and how it will end up? Will you be pleasantly surprised? Or will you wish you had not fallen in, and you claw your way out of the water?

Which do you have more control over? YES! The first one!

At least if you make the decision to jump in, you have some idea of what you are getting yourself into. You make the commitment and you jump, understanding there are some things you may not be aware of, like how cold the water is, but nonetheless, you go for it.

We choose who to love, when to love, where to love, and how to love.

The best example I can give to you is this – Jesus. I know, I know – there he goes again talking about Jesus. Well, get over it!

Jesus gave us the best example of LOVE in the face of a most certain painful situation that was imminent should he choose to go down that path to become the sacrifice for our sins.

He had the opportunity to walk away from what would become an extremely painful death. But He was driven by love. That’s right! Why would someone choose that kind of pain and torture for love? Because He realized that from that painful circumstance it would pave the way for us to have a relationship with God.

So what is LOVE?

Love is Patient. When you are faced with a situation where you just want someone to realize you are there for them – patience is an act of love.

Love is Kind. When you would rather respond in vengeance, you decide to show kindness.

Love does not envy, does not boast, is not proud. You make the choice to be content with what you have, to be thankful for others and to look at yourself with sober judgment.

Love is not rude. When your first reaction is to be sarcastic and snarky, you decide to lock up the lips.

Love is not self-seeking – on the flip side, this means you actually look out for the needs of others.

Love is not easily angered. Ouch, that one hurt a little didn’t it. It takes a decision to suppress the anger that rises so quickly to an unwelcome event or comment.

Love does not keep a record of wrongs. When you are in a disagreement, this is the decision to NOT bring up all of the past hurts or offenses the other person has done against you. It is a continual choice to forgive.

Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. Have you ever heard gossip that you know is not true? This is when you decide to push away the lie and gossip and stand with the truth.

This is where we need to discuss the qualities of LOVE that should ALWAYS be present. If these qualities are NOT present, then it is not love!

Love ALWAYS protects.

Love ALWAYS trusts.

Love ALWAYS hopes.

Love ALWAYS perseveres.

If you love someone, you choose to protect them, choose to trust them, choose to hope for the best, and choose to persevere through the difficult challenges.

If we put all of these into effect, than we can always count on LOVE, it will not fail us. Now how many of these are dependent on the recipient of your love?

If you answered none of them, you would be correct! Just as much as you decide to show these qualities, others must also decide to show them toward you. However, you do not need them reciprocated in order to love someone.

This means we can choose to love a complete stranger and provide a need for them. We can choose to love someone that has been rude to us.

LOVE is a choice: a choice to be committed; a choice to place ourselves in a vulnerable position with someone else. When we look at it this way and not as if we are “falling in love” we recognize if we choose to love, we can choose not to love.

Emotions come and go. I WISH I could stay happy all the time, but inevitably something will happen where I will become sad.

LOVE does not have to be as unstable as our emotions. As a matter of fact, Jesus showed how stable it really is, by loving us before we ever accepted Him as the Son of God and the One that takes away our sins. He loved us while we were denying His existence. He loved us while we were living our lives for ourselves.

Maybe this is how we are to love others. With the example Christ gave us, we can love others.

Choose to love.

This is such a big topic. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Shoot me an idea of another aspect of love you might want to hear about.


Relationship EXPLOSIONS!

Some of the most intense moments I have ever watched on television or even in the movies have been when a bomb is found and it needs to be disarmed.

Can you picture it? The timer clicks down in red numbers like an alarm clock from the 1980s; someone who knows more than the average Joe about disarming a bomb comes across THIS one that has motion sensors, wires that all look the same and hidden booby traps that would trigger its early detonation.

No matter how many times I see them, I find myself clenching my teeth and I find my hands in a fist because of the tension.

I am sure there are more bombs being set than we would care to admit, but we never hear about them because of the incredible talents of men and women who have made it their lives to know how to disarm bombs, learning the countless ways someone could build one and being familiar with just about every technique ever developed.

For most of us we will never actually come that close to an actual bomb. The closest many of us will ever be is when we go to see the fireworks during the 4th of July or a New Year’s celebration.

However, many of us – if not all of us – will be faced with incendiary relationships at some time or another. There are issues that arise in relationships that are explosive in nature.

Someone you know could be having a particularly bad day and their internal “I can deal with this” clock is ticking. You may just be unlucky enough to be in their general vicinity when that ticking time bomb goes off. You get caught in the blast of your friends frustration, anger, rage, or venting diatribe.

You may be at the grocery store and a customer in line is giving you or the cashier an extremely difficult time.

How about if you’re married? The argument (excuse me – discussion) can escalate to code red proportions because the blast of a disagreement can destroy an evening, week, month and unfortunately a marriage.

I can think of hundreds of situations where relational explosions take place. Sometimes it only affects two people. Other times there can be innocent bystanders (friends or family) negatively affected and there have been organizations that have split in two due to a relationship time bomb – affecting hundreds of people.

The imagery is meant to grab your attention.

So when we are faced with escalated situations – or potentially explosive relationships – how do we handle it?

We can respond in several ways…

  1. We can turn and run like crazy to avoid the conflict
  2. We can ask a close friend or family member to speak on our behalf to settle the situation
  3. We can go in with a verbal arsenal and detonate the relationship
  4. OR, we can follow some steps – that may work or may not work – depending on the situation.

First and foremost, when we are faced with a potentially damaging situation in one of our relationships, remember this…

When someone escalates – it is NOT the time for debates!

Arguing, getting angry, blowing up verbally NEVER defuses a relational bomb – unless in a controlled and safe, mediated environment.

Then we can do our best to follow some steps in order to de-escalate the situation.

  1. Defuse: This means to make a threatening or dangerous situation safer. In a relationship this involves calming a potentially damaging verbal exchange to minimize the damage. Plus – you cannot negotiate or rationalize with someone who is in a fit of rage or anger.
  2. Deflect: Meaning to cause (something, someone) to change direction by interposing something, or to cause someone to deviate from an intended purpose. In this step, we are interposing an objective point of view to deflect away from the argument or verbal explosion in order to change the direction of the conversation to the underlying issue.
  3. Direct: In this step we aim (something) on a particular course, at a particular person, or at a particular issue. When you have routed out the underlying issue, which would detonate the relationship into pieces if not disarmed, you then want to direct all your energy or the energies of those involved toward addressing that issue. Once this issue is addressed you have the best chance at de-escalating the relationship explosion and in most cases deactivating a potentially harmful conversation.

Will this work all of the time? No. It will not. It truly depends on the people involved and how long they have allowed this underlying issue to click away on the relationship time bomb.

Here is the cool thing. Most relationships can be reconciled. However, this takes great effort, work and daily choices in order to piece the relationship back together.

Oh and one more thing! When you place God at the center of your relationships, spend time praying with and for each other, encouraging each other, you can grow in your ability to Defuse, Deflect and Direct.

I would LOVE to hear your stories and how you may have worked through an escalated, explosive relationship issue – whether work or personal. You can leave a comment on this blog OR email me at TheSophosGroup@gmail.com. Thanks for reading!