There is a word that has an old-fashioned ring to it, and it is not used very often in every day English. You might hear it from a pulpit and it’s often associated with traditional street preachers. It is never associated with stress management.
That word is repent. If you ask for directions when driving and you come to understand you are going the wrong way, the person map reading is unlikely to say, “repent and go down that road”, they would more likely say, “turn-around”.
The word repent has the idea of turning around and it carries in its heart another idea of changing your mind. To repent is to change your mind and go in a different direction.
If you want to reduce stress in your life you will need to develop this skill. Let me illustrate.
Here are three big beliefs that a frustrated shopper brings to the surface in the checkout line at the supermarket. One; people should have their money ready to pay and not spend ages looking for their purse or wallet. Two; supermarkets should open more checkouts and three; everybody should move more quickly in my line (because the one next to me seems to be moving faster!)
Moses came down the mountain with Ten Commandments, but I could list as least twenty just to cover the supermarket checkout system.
Now look at two people in that same line. One is getting irritated, agitated and frustrated, the other is chatting to her friend, smiling and relaxed. They’re in the same queue but one person is stressed and the other is not.
The agitated shopper may not even know it, but he is reacting to his beliefs that the line should behave how he wants it to, but sadly it does not. He is not reacting to the queue itself but is reacting to his beliefs about the queue, there is a big difference.
What he needs to do is to believe something different, change his mind and opinions about his world and reframe his thoughts. He needs to repent.
Here’s three new beliefs he could adopt. “Some people have their money ready and some don’t, and I can’t change that so will relax and smile”. Second; “I will prefer it if there were more checkouts open, I can either ask or accept it, but I will not get angry about it”. Three; people will move at their own pace and I can celebrate their characters (or leave a bit more time for my own shopping).
Doing a mental turnaround and choosing new beliefs is a central stress management skill. It can apply to driving, working, family life or church life. The cost of not doing it is poor health (mental, emotional, physical and spiritual).
Two of Jesus’ closest followers, James and John, got very angry at the lack of welcome they experienced in a Samaritan village. They, along with their countrymen, had all kinds of negative beliefs about Samaritan’s. Hundreds of years of bitterness existed. The two brothers asked Jesus if they should call down fire from heaven on this unwelcoming village!
It’s a classic angry reaction but note James and John were not just reacting to the rudeness but their beliefs about Samaritans. Jesus immediately rebuked them.
If you want to know what Jesus’ view of Samaritans was then look up the story of the good Samaritan and the story of the woman at the well.
Jesus wants his followers to find new beliefs and react differently. He wanted them to repent, and he wanted them to be less stressed, and he wanted no fire to fall on anyone. He still does.
Work well today,
© Geoff Shattock March 2019
51As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. 52And he sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him; 53 but the people there did not welcome him, because he was heading for Jerusalem. 54 When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?” 55 But Jesus turned and rebuked them. 56 Then he and his disciples went to another village.
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