I can be kind of a hot-headed Christian woman. (I’ll pause for a moment so all who know me well can have a laugh.) My Genuflected friends might even remember the time I accidentally yelled at a lady or all those times in my book Forty Days when I lost my cool.
Most people assume that since I’m excited about Jesus, I’ll be a nicey-nicey sweetheart all the time. So when I assert myself, it tends to catch them off guard.
But the thing is, Jesus Himself is a great example of how powerful human emotion can be. The Bible records several times when He showed his emotion through tears, heated conversations, and of course we all remember the time Jesus knocked over all those tables in the temple.
So why do Christian women secretly seem to think it’s a sin to show our strong emotions?
I’m guessing it’s because we are afraid to hurt anyone. After all, Jesus’ big push was for us to love one another. If we let out those strong emotions, can we really still be acting in a loving way toward others?
I say yes. I think we can express ourselves, assert our needs, and let our opinions be known in a way that is both Christian and loving.
I think we can do as Paul suggests: “Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun set on your anger, and do not leave room for the devil. (Ephesians 4:26-27)
It’s not going to be easy, but it’s a lot better than flying off the handle, stressing about the aftermath, and then begging for forgiveness later. And it’s a lot more healthy than trying to keep all those emotions bottled up, year after year.
So when strong emotions slap me in the face, I put them through the Love Filter.
It’s the idea that we check our reactions to see if they are coming from a loving place with a loving intention — before we act.
Here are the steps to putting it through the Love Filter:
1. Take a deep breath. Start by pausing and taking a deep breath, because Brene Brown says that you lose a lot of crazy just by doing that.
2. Identify your motives. Ask yourself why you want to react the way you do. Are you secretly trying to build yourself up? Would it just feel good to put them down? Or do you honestly believe it will be helpful and loving to the other person if you say or do something?
3. Consider the timing. Ask yourself, “Do I have the strength and ability to deliver the necessary message or action in a loving way at the moment?” Just because something needs to be done, doesn’t mean it needs to be done right now. Sometimes — actually a lot of times — the best thing to do is walk away and give yourself some time.
4. Pray for guidance and repeat. Don’t forget to tap into that eternal well of grace and love God has available. Ask God to help you see the situation through His eyes. Then put the situation through the Love Filter again by repeating steps one through three.
5. Take action. Now you are better equipped to handle the situation in a more truthful and loving way. Hopefully, the end result will be even better than you could have imagined.
**The image above is a free printable just for you! Right click on it to save it to your computer or print it!**
It’s a simple thing — this notion of the Love Filter. However, it’s saved me from saying unnecessarily hurtful things, and it has helped me to say necessary things in a more loving way.
[Tweet “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body… (Ephesians 4:15)”]
Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. (Ephesians 4:15)
Questions for you:
Do you show your emotion or bottle it all up inside? Do you put things through the Love Filter, or do you have another way to make sure you are acting in a loving way?
I’d love to hear what you have to say in the comments below!