I don’t know about you, but I’ve always been told to share my feelings. Get them out so they don’t have any power over you. Let people know what you’re thinking because how else can they help you? I even tell my children when they are upset to ‘use your words!’
But here’s the twist: sometimes my feelings aren’t valid. What if they’ve been shaped by greed, selfishness, and defensiveness? Now sharing them is poison. Now my feelings breed more anger, bitterness, and hurt.
The devil is real sneaky, you know that? Leave it to him to take something so amazing and intricate as our emotions, something beautiful that God created, and use it for destruction.
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
1st Peter 5:8
Now, I’m not going to get into a theological rant about how much the devil ‘gets’ to mess with us. (I think it’s only as much as God allows to teach us.) But I do know that the small voice that fuels our anger, gives us hateful words for when we confront others out of selfishness, and puts us in a defensive mood is not from God.
It’s been a long day, but you still need to pick up groceries. At the store your children fight over which cereal to purchase. You lose it and scream at them in the aisle. Your adversary, the devil.
You go through a rough patch in life. Your spouse, like you, is just trying to hold it together. The little things start to build up and you explode when he asks you what’s for dinner. Your adversary, the devil.
Our unchecked emotions are a welcome mat for the devil to destroy our relationships. Selfish emotions leave us vulnerable, wide open for attack. Praise the Lord that we are not defenseless.
A fool vents all her feelings. A wise woman holds them back.
Your greatest weapon? Just shut your mouth. Take a breath, as many breaths as necessary to sort through your emotions before opening your mouth. Change your motive, take the blame out, and think about what it would be like on the receiving end of your words. Pray over whether what you are feeling is from God or from your adversary, the devil- because he’s hungry for someone to devour.
Sometimes we need to stew silently in prayer. Why are you feeling so upset? What was the trigger of your anger? What is making you feel hopeless? I promise that being short with others will not help you answer those questions. Prayer will. Truthful answers such as “I’m feeling frustrated, but I don’t know what to do about it,” or “I’m really worked up right now, can I have a minute,” will go much further than hurtful words.
Your battle is not against a friend, your spouse, your kids, your boss, a political figure (gasp!) or any mere man. It is against your adversary, the devil. Remember that the people in your life care about you. Don’t give the devil a foothold in your relationships. Guard yourself. Shut your mouth. Pray, then speak.