Saturday, June 12, 2010

Not Being Easily Provoked toward God

In my New Year's Resolution post last week, I mentioned that being not easily provoked entails more than just being angry. It includes not acting in the heat of any negative emotion - or not reacting in kind to negative actions of others. I focused primarily on those situations where someone else does something that affects me negatively - and on not reacting likewise in response. I mentioned specifically that the hardest situations in which to avoid being provoked are those that are completely unexpected. That probably is obvious, but . . .

This week has brought something else to my attention - something about which I hinted near the end of my post last week. In that post, I said:

I don't have to pursue them; they will find me completely on their own.

I have come to realize clearly this week that there is more to not being easily provoked than responding to the actions of people directly explicitly at me. As I said last week, things happen naturally in mortality that aren't "planned" in any way - things that are negative and can cause someone "to react in anger, rage, exasperation, vexation or resentment". (to be easily provoked) I have known this, as it is obvious when considered, but focusing on this aspect of charity this week has brought these instances into very sharp relief for me.

I have found that it is even harder sometimes not to react to "life" when it is naturally difficult than to "people" when they act in a hurtful manner. This probably is because people are tangible and easily identified, while "life" is ambiguous and intangible. When someone is hurt by "life", often the only way to personify or embody the hurt is to blame God. In these situations, when hurt needs an outlet (someone to blame), God is an easy target. This is true especially if someone views God as a micro-manager - someone / something that controls all events of one's life (or, at least, those that seem important).

What struck me is that those who view God as responsible directly for all the good things in their lives can have a very difficult time not holding God responsible for the bad things in their lives - at least when those bad things appear to be unexplainable. Sometimes, this actually can result in a "positive" conclusion (like when someone dies and those left behind conclude that "God must have needed her more than we do"), but if such a conclusion is not available readily or comforting the natural "anger, rage, exasperation, vexation or resentment" that would be directed toward a tangible target can be re-directed at God - and the more "tangible" one sees God, the more likely he might be to transfer negative emotions in such a manner.

I honestly have no idea why this stood out so clearly to me this week, but it is what I "learned". I simply hope it helps someone in some way.

1 comment:

loquaciousmomma said...

This is the one thing that I have struggled with the most in my life.

So many painful things in my life have led me to the exact conclusion you mentioned here: believing that God is responsible for the good, leads to the idea that He is also responsible for the bad.

Even more difficult, I was told in a blessing to do a specific thing. A few years later, I experienced a tremendous amount of hurt that would have been greatly lessened had I not followed that counsel. To clarify, the blessing told me to continue my associations with a certain person, but then later I was betrayed by that person in a painful way.

I have been struggling with my anger at God for advising me to stay in a situation that He had to have known would lead to the later pain.

I trusted God.

I got hurt.

The logical conclusion in the deepest reaches of my soul is that He let me get hurt.

I realize that there are more important good things that happened as a result of my obedience, but my mortal heart would not have chosen the pain in order to achieve them.

I think you are suggesting that having the "true love of Christ" in our hearts means that even in situations like this, we are to to let go of the hurt toward God for allowing such pain and continue to love and serve him.

I hope you will clarify if I am misunderstanding!

Thank you for pointing out something that I hadn't considered before.