A mature response
For reading & meditation: Galatians 5:16-26
"But the fruit of the Spirit is ' self-control." (vv.22-23)
So important is the point we raised yesterday - the need for selective expression - that we will spend another day considering it. Listen to how the Amplified Bible translates Psalm 73:15: "Had I spoken thus and given expression to my feelings, I would have been untrue and have dealt treacherously against the generation of your children" (emphasis mine). Notice that although the psalmist experienced strong feelings of uncertainty, he refrained from expressing these emotions because they would have had a negative effect upon his brothers and sisters. He acknowledged his emotions, but he refused to express them because he knew they would hurt and hinder the family of God. Expression of our feelings with no thought of another's welfare amounts to sinful, selfish indulgence. We must allow ourselves to feel the full weight of our emotions but then subordinate their expression to the purposes of God. Only if it is Gods will for us to share those feelings with others must we do so. Thus the apostle could write stinging words of rebuke to the Corinthian church because his words were in harmony with God's purposes. We have to be on our guard here, because whenever we feel angry, and vent our anger on someone, it is so easy to justify our angry feelings by saying, "God wanted to use me to teach you a lesson."It more often than not, if we examine our hearts we will find that our goal was not the will of God but the desire to get those angry feelings out from inside us. Selective expression of feelings is a mature and spiritual response; indiscrimate expression is immature and unspiritual.
Gracious God and loving heavenly Father, forgive me for the times I have hurt others by the indiscriminate expression of my negative feelings. Help me understand and apply this principle of "selective expression" In Jesus' Name. Amen.
For further study:
1. What is to govern our sharing?
2. Why are we to be self-controlled?