To start off with, I know that life is a tricky business, too, but here I really meant triggery in the following sense. Take for instance a few little children playing in the sandpit. They are not related and are basically happy to play together. You are sitting on a bench, enjoying the first warming sunrays of springtime and you are watching those kids gladly until something unexpected happens. Right out of the blue you might hear exclamations like,
“This is MY shovel!! Give it back to MEEEE!!!!!” (You can easily imagine the picture you can see now… 😉 ) or,
“I don’t want to be your friend!!!” (Because “I hate red hair!”… “Your nose is too huge!”… “Your parents are silly!” – whatever the accusation)
Indeed, this is the beginning of our triggery life. At an early age the human being will certainly experience pain through hurtful words from others and thus man develops triggers inside his heart that make him extremely vulnerable and highly reactive in similar situations later. I just spoke of verbal abuse, of which the Bible testifies by saying,
“So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God.” (James 3:5-9 ESV)
Isn’t it interesting that Scripture points to the impossibility of taming the tongue as long as we try to do it on our own? Before giving an answer to that question, let us look at our normal ways of reacting as soon as someone pulls our triggers, since there are indeed two different kinds of reactions possible. However, none of them will ever set us free.
(1) Emotional outburst aka aggression
One might also say, “Offense is the best defense.” As soon as we feel that we have been hurt deeply, as “avengers” we try to hurt the other person too, hoping that we, in so doing, won’t feel the pain any longer. But alas, the pain is only covered by a superficial layer of anger and another person has been hurt at that. More pain to deal with then…
(2) Emotional withdrawal aka as depression
From the outside a depressive person might seem loving and kind if he or she does not react to an offense that pulled one of their triggers. Nonetheless, if you could take a look into the inside of the hurting heart, you would see a different picture. In fact, depression comes from suppressing (both negative and positive) feelings. An introvert would rather harm himself by turning the anger perceived against himself. Not a sound solution, either…
Is there a solution at all? Or is it true what some Christians say that man remains a sinner who can never tame his tongue as long as he walks the earth? If you happen to have read more than this article, you might know that I would not write about an issue if I did not believe in solutions of seemingly unsolvable problems. 😉
Well…I was just reminded of the way the prophet Jeremiah was called by God. He was a rather young man, insecure and full of fear to serve God, as it had been the case with Moses, too, who had not dared to speak up for the Lord on his own. All prophets of the Old Testament needed a certain experience so that they could become useful for God’s service. They needed to realize that they could NEVER do on their own what God wanted them to do. Therefore they needed true self-knowledge, something man naturally is not inclined to learn about unless he or she has already encountered their bare nakedness and uselessness in the light of God. But if they know that they will never be able to serve Him in any useful way, they will eventually be empowered by the Holy Spirit to do so, though. We read for example how God made Jeremiah speak up for Him.
Then the Lord put out his hand and touched my mouth. And the Lord said to me, “Behold, I have put my words in your mouth. See, I have set you this day over nations and over kingdoms, to pluck up and to break down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant.” (Jer 1:9-10 ESV)
The “method” of being empowered by the Holy Spirit has not changed in New Testament times. If there was indeed no certain call nor power received from on high, man is never able to speak the words of God. Instead, he will always be captured in his old man that cannot change – ever.
“Solution, Susanne!!!” Okay, okay. 🙂 Jesus said,
“But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person.” (Mt 15:18-20)
That is a fact. Nevertheless, God also promised,
“And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.” (Ez 36:26-27 ESV)
Finally, the apostle James confirmed that out of a truly new heart only good words will come since he wrote,
“For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body.” (Js 3:2 ESV)
Also, the fruit of the Spirit includes self-control which is something the old nature does not possess. As soon as the old Adam and Eve feel triggered, they react. Either by turning into the attack mode against others or by attacking their own soul. However, the new man is eventually able to open up his heart to God and others and to let them see what is inside. If we open our hearts to one another, God’s light will heal all our wounds and we may experience His love deeper and deeper the more our wounds have been healed.
Dear reader, I would be interested to hear your thoughts, impressions and/or experiences with that topic.