When we are attacked for our choices and feelings, we must fight with spiritual weapons, not carnal, human ones. Our warfare is not against a person, but against the spiritual powers, which operate behind the scenes and through people. Realizing who the real enemy is enables us to fight with the spiritual weapons the Lord gives us (2 Corinthians 10:4).
My father reacted to life as a bipolar, rage-aholic. In my younger years, I compliantly did as I was told; but with age, I learned his behavior and I stood up for myself. I used anger to protect my interests when anyone made a decision that affected me, or when they did not listen to my feelings or my needs, discounted or ignored me, or did not take me seriously.
After I surrendered my life to Christ, I still used anger to make people take me seriously. What I did not realize is that anger is not God’s way (James 1:20). Anger manipulated me into acting as a tool of the devil. He discouraged and wounded people through my outbursts of anger. The root of any issue goes deeper than human decisions, personalities, schedules and life choices.
With time, I learned to gain the person’s undivided attention and to express very firmly that my needs are either not negotiable, or that an alternate decision needs to be made that I am comfortable with. This is an effective method if the other person is spirit-led and listens to my needs, does not discount or ignore me, and takes me seriously.
Otherwise, I make it very clear, without anger, that I am upset about the decision being made; and I will make alternative decisions, which will provide for my needs. Divorce is never an option, and quitting a job before securing another one is not advisable. However, we can protect our self from another person’s upsetting decisions and behavior, by getting counseling and by using a time of separation to work out the opposing issues needing reconciliation.
Father God, remind us that we are all living in spiritual warfare (1 Peter 5:8). If Satan can use some decision to split a relationship, he will do it. Your Word tells us to turn the other cheek and to go the extra mile (Mt. 5:39); but after we do this, we often need to take a stand. Help us to journal our feelings, to pray about the situation, to ask You to intervene on our behalf and then to try to communicate our needs once again. Remind us that a period of separation for the purpose of reconciliation allows both parties to live apart for a time, to get counseling and to find a way to resolve the issue, which is causing them grief.
Thought for the Day:
Put the devil to flight and preserve your marriage and other relationships by preferring one another, never insisting on your own way, laying down both sets of preferences and finding a third alternative with which you can both live happily. – James 4:7