A close friend once couldnt help but vent out her frustration at work. She was irritated at some people in her office. She wouldn’t divulge any details but she lashed out at them via her facebook wall.
This experience is no stranger to all of us. Whatever we profess to be, there always comes a time when we will give in to our emotions and allow antagonistic feelings to reign over us. Whether you profess to be a peace loving Muslim, or a devout Christian or a passive Hindu or any other religion, we all have that tendency to feel irritation, fear, anger, hatred, among others. We also have the capability to lose ourselves to these emotions.
“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”
- Yoda, Star Wars Episode 1
When I was in college, I once observed an official meeting of pastors and church leaders. I couldn’t remember what it was all about, but what transpired there shocked me. Some of the pastors, those whom I thought never if not rarely got mad, were red in anger. Others bear that twisted look of sheer frustration when I thought they had always been always calm and serene. It was hard to imagine that these were church leaders. Yet it was easy to confirm that they were all human.
Ask any athlete in any sporting event and they will tell you that their biggest rivals do not belong to the other team. Instead, their biggest competition was against themselves. The battle has always been to be the better than what they have achieved previously. It was never about other people.
The same thing happens to us regular people. Every day, we are faced with the worst kind of power struggles unseen to the public eye. Call it a controversy, a struggle, an inner conflict, or whatever word you can think of, but simply put, it is a battle against yourself. How would you react in a particular situation depends on who wins the power struggle. Would you let the better side of you take the upper hand or would you let yourself be eaten up by your emotions?
“He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.”
– Proverbs 16:32
People in the past have tried. Some ended in failure, while others succeeded. Cain fell when he allowed his hatred to overrule him that eventually led to murder. Esau let go of hatred and forgave his brother Jacob. Abraham lost patience and decided to take matters into his own hands, thus the descendants of Israel and Ishmael are in conflict until today. Hannah and Elkanah decided to wait for God’s providence that became Samuel, one of the most faithful judges of their generation. Samson lost the battle when he followed after Delilah. Joseph won the battle by running away from Potiphar’s wife. Elijah, though successful on top of Mt. Carmel, gave in to fear and hid in the mountains from Jezebel’s men. David, when he was a little boy, stood up in front of a giant, Goliath, and struck him down. These are a few of the men and women whose battles were fought within.
The same battle is being fought within each of us today. The great conflict between Christ and Satan is happening inside our heads as we speak. Who do you follow? The Creator or the creature? The decision is yours.
“And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”
- Joshua 24:15
“I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: That thou mayest love the LORD thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.”
– Deuteronomy 30:19-20