Christmas 2021 #3 Peace Overcomes Emotionalism

 


Christmas 2021 #3 Peace Overcomes Emotionalism

 Psalm 34:14

Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.

 Pursue God’s peace, peace results in God’s favor, peace is God’s favor, peace is His blessing upon those who believe (Luke 2:14).  Do you believe it?  Do you believe this incredible story of the Gospel (John 3:16-17)?  That God took on the responsibility for His creation’s sin, became human like us to give us an example as to how to live in a right relationship with the One He called the Father.  Then He made the ultimate sacrifice, making Himself the sacrificial Lamb of the Passover that you may be forgiven of your sins and made right with God (2 Corinthians 5:18).  Further, He rose from the dead, a validation of His teachings and example (1 Corinthians 15:4).  Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will experience His peace (Romans 10:13, John 14:27).

 The peace of God is different from the peace of the world. Biblical peace is more than just the absence of conflict; it is taking action to restore a broken situation. It’s more than a state of inner tranquility; it’s a state of wholeness and completeness.

What Is Peace In The Bible? - Words of Faith, Hope & Love (wordsoffaithhopelove.com) If you feel your life is not whole, not complete, then this path, the path of acknowledging your situation, believing the Gospel, committing to discipleship, and asking God is the pathway to find what you are looking for (1 Peter 1:18-19).  Here’s a surprise: what you are looking for is not a what, it’s a “who,” and that who is God revealed to us in Jesus of Nazareth (Colossians 1:15).  In our incarnation celebration, we celebrate the peace that Divinity made with humanity. We have divinity and humanity at peace in the person of Jesus Christ.

 Seek Peace, pursue it.  Two antagonists agree, that’s peace.  Two opponents now are on the same side, that’s peace. Two at odds are now reconciled, that’s peace.

 For those who commit to being a disciple of Jesus, peace is your reward.

 1. Peace with God

Due to our sins; recall that sin is the cause of relational disasters, whenever a relationship is damaged or destroyed or just prevented from developing, that’s the result of sin.  “Due to our sins, we were enemies of God and were separated from Him (Ephesians 2:13), but Jesus restored our relationship when He took on our sins and died our death on the cross (Ephesians 2:14). He provided a path for reconciliation with God, and now we are joined to God (Romans 5:10) and can fellowship with Him (1 John 1:3, Jeremiah 31). (What Is Peace In The Bible? - Words of Faith, Hope & Love (wordsoffaithhopelove.com) Two at odds are now reconciled.  That’s peace.

 2. Peace with ourselves

When God accepts your faith in Him, His peace enters you and empowers you to make peace with yourself.  Have you ever felt that you were at war with yourself, not content within your skin; harassed by depression, anxiety, addictions? You feel as if you’re trying to go in two directions at once, with spinning wheels that have dug a rut in which you are stuck.  You’re unhappy with yourself.  When you believe in Him Jesus gives you a second chance to live (2 Corinthians 5:17).  Make your commitment, follow Him and He will make you whole and complete like Him (Philippians 1:6, 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24), ending your internal civil war.   When trials come to tear us apart, He is our peace that keeps us together (John 16:33).  Two opponents, the “you” you are, and the “you” you long to be, now are on the same side, that’s peace.

What Is Peace In The Bible? - Words of Faith, Hope & Love (wordsoffaithhopelove.com)

 3. Peace with others

At peace with God, at peace with yourself, the desire of peace flows out of you empowering you to reconcile your relationships with others, so that you can “live at peace with them (Colossians 1:19-20), have fellowship with one another (1 John 1:9) and can live with others in unity and one accord through the bonds of peace (Ephesians 4:3). He empowers us by His Spirit to be peacemakers with our neighbors, friends, and foes.” (What Is Peace In The Bible? - Words of Faith, Hope & Love (wordsoffaithhopelove.com)  Two antagonists agree, that’s peace. 

 Peace is the favor of God upon those that please Him.  Is the way you are living your life, is it pleasing to God?  [Colossians 1:10, Proverbs 16:7] Faith, fear. Following are requirements and the first steps to a God-pleasing life are to acknowledge, believe, commit and ask.  Today you can have peace with God, let me know if that is your decision.

 Our Incarnation Celebration, Christmas, invites us to become infected with the virus of peace and to be carriers of the peace virus.  The world needs to get infected. We need a pandemic of peace but one thing preventing peace is safetyism which we explored last time.  In our teaching, we now turn our attention to emotionalism.

 Emotionalism is making decisions based on how you feel regardless of logic or facts.  Forget reasoned thinking, go with how you feel.  Don’t allow truth, rationality, the lessons of history, or careful observation, to interfere, “if you feel it to be so it must be so.”  There is great danger in emotionalism (Proverbs 19:2). 

 Proverbs 14:12 (NLT)

There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death.

Decisions based on emotions seem right, but more often than not, they are deadly wrong.  There is a difference between intuition, following your feelings, going with your gut, and emotionalism.  Intuition and gut feelings can be analyzed.  You can stop, breathe, and think through your feelings to determine the best course of action.  Not so with emotionalism.  Emotionalism lacks reflection.  Emotionalism turns off your investigative powers, it undermines rationality.  When you go with your gut feelings of courses your emotions are involved but your emotions are not in control.

An aroused emotional state is powerfully controlling.  Have you ever tried to comfort someone who is grieving their heart out?  There is nothing you can say that will help them and often what is said increases their suffering.  Their emotion at the moment has them paralyzed.  That’s why it’s best to be silent before someone’s grief and listen and be present.  You can’t use logic or reasoning to help them out of their pain.  They are in an emotional state and are controlled by that emotion.

You can use logic and facts to help a person who made a decision based on emotions.  You must use an emotional appeal to appeal to the motions.  That’s why it's almost impossible to debate someone who has made an emotional decision.

 Emotions are not bad.  Emotions are a gift from God.  Emotions make us alive.  They are expressions of how we are interpreting life at the moment.  We feel things like affection, sadness, apprehension, elation, and anger; this is normal.  Emotions can help us make decisions.  But our feelings are fickle, they can change rapidly from feeling down to enjoying the moment.  Emotions don’t have an anchor.  A media sound bite can cause us to laugh or go on the warpath.  There is are advertisements for abused and neglected dogs, in which the dogs look miserable, shivering in the cold, malnourished, pathetic, all designed to arouse your emotions and donate money to the cause.  Emotions are easily manipulated for good causes and bad ones.  

 Triggering emotions is a way to control behavior.  We’ve seen this in the Church; play the music to match the mood you want, and hype the audience with a rousing repetitive speech, plant people in the audience who know the signal to come forward, and instead of well thought out, count the cost decisions, and emotional decisions are made.  Seldom do those emotional decisions last.

 Hype the emotion of fear and you can control a population.  Fear is a powerful tool.  If I can convince you that your way of life, or your life itself, is in imminent danger, and then tell you that there is a path to safety and security, the majority will not think things through, but simply respond out of fear.  Did you know that there is less crime now than in the 1970s? (America's Faulty Perception of Crime Rates | Brennan Center for Justice )  Most likely not, because of the constant reports of personal threats in the media, no one is safe, so buy a gun, install security systems, carry mace, never go out alone, lock your doors and windows, keep your key fob in the microwave, don’t let your kids play unsupervised.  When such behavior is motivated by the emotion of fear you’ll never be safe.  As a nation, we have given up our liberty time and time again over safety issues (Liberty is more important than security | Pacific Legal Foundation). Think through issues, test for reality, get the facts, be reasonable with your need for safety, don’t get swallowed up in the emotion of the moment.

Emotions make us human. But they are not to control your life (Galatians 5:25). Emotions will influence your thinking but they must never be allowed to control your thinking (Proverbs 16:32).  Emotional thinking blurs the facts and no argument to the contrary to what you feel can even be heard.  Emotionalism sincerely convinces you that you are right.  Emotional thinking can make you sincerely wrong (1 Corinthians 10:12). 

Emotionalism makes your decision a virtuous choice. You are absolutely right, there can be no other choice, you refuse to hear any opinion different than yours (Proverbs 26:12; 28:26).  Anyone who has a different opinion is the enemy and their vile propaganda needs to be silenced, and now we have a “cancel culture.”  No peace.

 Matthew 5:9 (MSG)

"You're blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That's when you discover who you really are, and your place in God's family.

As a believer, you have experienced peace with God.  You are experiencing, growing in the experience of enjoying peace with yourself.  At peace with God and growing in peace with yourself you are empowered to make peace with others.  Peace begets peace.  Peace occurs when two antagonists are no longer trying to compete but rather co-exist. 

To be a peacemaker you must learn to manage your stress.  Stress is the confusion created in your mind that overrides the body’s basic desire to choke the life out of some idiot that desperately deserves it.  The best way to manage your stress in the moment is to breathe deeply.  [Technically, breathing prevents amygdala hijacking, i.e. losing control of you-- Amygdala Hijack: What It Is, Why It Happens & How to Make It Stop (healthline.com)]  The pause allows you to get control of your emotions and the oxygen gives your brain the energy it needs to think.  You now can assume a calm, non-defensive attitude with your words and a body language that communicates respect (Proverbs 15:1)

To be a peacemaker you must learn to listen (James 1:19).  Listen not only to a person’s word but their body language.  Take some time to learn about body language, there are links to that education in your notes.  [(95) Former FBI Agent Explains How to Read Facial Expressions | WIRED - YouTube ; (95) 8 Ways to Read Someone’s Body Language - YouTube ; (95) Reading minds through body language | Lynne Franklin | TEDxNaperville - YouTube ]. Recognizing body language helps you communicate.  Next, listen to hear their heart.  Why have they taken the position they have?  Listen to their story so you can see the issue from their perspective.  Listen, don’t be judgmental.  Listen, don’t be dismissive.  Listen, don’t worry about your response. Listen, collect the reasons why this person holds the position they do.  Acknowledge their point of view asking if they think you understand them.

 To be a peacemaker you need to know how to respond to emotional arguments (1 Peter 3:15—have a reasoned response for your position).  With emotional arguments a person’s feelings define the reality of the situation; “how they feel about it, is how it is.”  Feelings become irrefutable facts.  With a logically based position, you can explore the facts together.  But with an emotionally based position you need to use an emotionally based argument of your own, but one that is backed with facts.  For example “Defund the police.”  The idea behind “defunding the police” is to move to fund away from police departments and into community resources such as mental health, housing, and social workers.  An emotional rebuttal might sound like this:  “My friend experienced a home invasion robbery, the police were short-handed and didn’t arrive in time after a frantic 911 call, he ended up in the hospital.  I feel that defunding police emboldens criminals making the community less safe, and promotes vigilantism. Are there other alternatives to defunding police departments to solve the problem of an abusive officer?”  Consideration of one’s assumptions may lead to changing from competitive opponents to problem-solving collaborators.  That’s the goal of peace, bringing people together that collaboration may occur and working together happens.

 “Peacemakers are people who breathe grace. Inspired by the gospel, they draw continually on the goodness and power of Jesus Christ, and then breathe out his love, mercy, forgiveness, and wisdom to dissipate anger, improve understanding, promote justice, and model repentance and reconciliation.” The Slippery Slope of Conflict - What Is Your Response to Conflict? - Relational Wisdom | Ken Sande | Biblical Emotional Intelligence | Peacemaking | Institute Christian Conciliation | Reconciliation (rw360.org)

 Peace, changing competitors into collaborators.  Emotionally based decisions disregard facts, logic, and thereby bypass rationality.  Emotional appeals are designed to manipulate, and people are easily manipulated because we tend to be compassionate, empathetic, and generally want good for everyone, especially if it doesn’t cost me anything. Emotionally based decisions become your truth regardless of reality and that creates division, often hostile division among people.  Because of God’s favor, you are empowered to be a peacemaker.  To be an effective peacemaker, learn to control your stress, learn to listen, learn to use a counter emotional argument to open up dialogue.  Real dialogue changes competitors into collaborators.  You’ve given peace a chance.

 God’s peace is a sign of His favor upon you.  There are three peace destroyers, safetyism, emotionalism, and next time we will consider tribalism.  Until then:

 Romans 12:18 (NIV)

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.


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