8.29.2015

Self-control is not an option.

"If we are feeling uncomfortable from any cause, we have no right, according to the law of love, to diffuse our irritations through the household. If we are in any unhappy mood, in which we cannot suppress the ill-humor, we have no right to vent it in the circle of our loved ones, and would far better go to our own room, or out into the fresh air, alone, somewhere, and stay until we have gotten back our sweet spirit again, so that we can scatter roses, not thorns, among our loved ones." ~ J.R. Miller

This quote smacked me in the side of the face when I read it last week.
I needed the hit.

It is so easy to unleash on the ones closest to us because it is "safe." We do not fear disgust or rejection from our spouse or children because they are always there. They know us. They accept us "as we are." But does that make it RIGHT?
If we behaved in public - at work, at church, in social settings, with friends - like we do at home when we are in a foul temper, we would soon find ourselves receiving few invitations to join the human race.
Why is that?
Why do we have self-control and tight reigns over our mouths, our actions, and our attitudes when in a crowd of people? In a board room? A Bible study? At an engagement party?
We have no, or very little, trouble thinking before we speak, being aware of who is around and how our words might affect them, or speaking with kindness when we are in public.
And then we come home.
We complain, rant, gossip, slander, vent, spew, criticize, roll our eyes, sigh, and respond in ugly tones - because we are frustrated, annoyed, hurt, offended, worried, or exhausted.
We are able to contain all of those sinful, negative actions when we were with our friends, the CEO, and our pastor, but ask us to exercise self-control at home where we are safe and secure? Forget it.

"If we are in any unhappy mood, in which we cannot suppress the ill-humor, we have no right to vent it in the circle of our loved ones, and would far better go to our own room, or out into the fresh air, alone, somewhere, and stay until we have gotten back our sweet spirit again, so that we can scatter roses, not thorns, among our loved ones."

When I read this I was reminded of a scene in Anne of Green Gables when Marilla and Anne get into an argument and Anne refuses to submit. Anne storms off, Marilla is overwhelmed and undone, and instead of following Anne, huffing and puffing all the way, she walks into the field to pull herself together. Her brother, Matthew, watches her with a grin which declares, "She is going to cool off." And she does.
Marilla returns to the kitchen, calm and collected, and graciously accepts Anne's apology when she offers one.

Marilla responded as J.R. Miller encourages us to do.

But J.R. Miller is not the ultimate authority.
God is.
So we need to look to His Word, for His commands, and then - obey.
Self-control is not an option.

Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, 
and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city. Proverbs 16:32

The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded 
for the sake of your prayers. 1 Peter 4:7

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22, 23

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age … 
Titus 2:11-14

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 1 Corinthians 13:4-5

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