A Mind of Peace or a Piece of Mind???

Posted by on Jul 14, 2018 in Signboard | 0 comments

On July 9 2018, our signboard said:

A MIND OF PEACE

IS BETTER THAN

A PIECE OF MIND

 

I’m Gonna Give Him a Piece of My Mind!!!

It seems to happen every time you drive on to a road or enter a parking lot; one of “Those People” cuts you off or steals your parking spot.  They get in your way, inconvenience you and maybe even endanger you.

The classic example happens in the mall parking lot during the Christmas rush.  The place is packed.  Even on the outer reaches of the parking lot where they store the snow plows, there are no parking spots.  You don’t really care about parking close (even though it’s only 20 degrees and a raw wind is blowing).  You just want to park anywhere and get this shopping errand done.  And so you join the competition, weaving back and forth through the parking rows like sharks looking for food.  You search for backup lights.  You follow pedestrians walking towards their car in hopes that they will vacate a spot and end your search.

But you finally find a spot.  You wait for the exiting shoppers to enter their car, get it started, and empty a spot.  You see backup lights and slam on your brakes.  Then you patiently wait. 

But another shark smells blood and out outmaneuvers you on the opposite side of the prey. You were there first!  You did the work of following this person to his car!  And yet, that other driver steals your parking spot.  In anger you lay on your horn, tromp on the gas peddle and speed off.  If it weren’t so cold you’d lower your window and shout out some colorful expressions that you’d never use in church.  You’d want to “give him a piece of your mind!”

 

Why Do We Do That?!?

Much of what we humans do stems from defense mechanisms that compensate for our inner feelings.  We “project”, or use “Sour Grapes”, or “Sweet Lemons” to somehow change our perception of the situation.  This little article doesn’t claim to be drawn from professional psychological advice.  But here’s some “armchair psychology” that might explain this….

 

We think too much of Ourselves…

When that “other driver” steals your spot, you might be thinking things like:

  • I’d NEVER do a thing like that!“…
  • I’m more patient than that person.“…
  • THAT person is selfish; I’M a caring giving person!

Or you might be thinking:

  • How dare this little twit impinge on my schedule!  I’m important.  My time is more valuable than his!

You’re a victim because you’re more important than the other driver.  You deserved that spot more than him. And because of this gross injustice, you feel you have the right to fly off the handle and “Give him a piece of your mind!”

 

We think too little of Ourselves…

Or maybe you’ve got a bit of an Eeyore complex.  Woe is me. You’ve got a cloud over your head while everyone else is being showered by sunlight.

  • I better lash out before it gets worse… ’cause it will…
  • Why’s this always happen to me?!?  It never happens to ___

Or maybe you think that the other person IS better than you; that somehow the other driver had a firmer claim to that parking spot:

  • The other person has a newer car.  He’s probably got a lot of money and deserves the best of things; including this parking spot.
  • I did get lucky last week when I found that penny lying on the ground.  I guess things just even out.
  • Yeah, that driver cut me off on the freeway.  But maybe I deserved it.  Maybe I was driving too slow.  Maybe the turn signals on my old clunker aren’t working…

Maybe there’s even some “Projection” going on.  Maybe you wonder about your own standards, and you need to put someone else down so you can try to raise yourself.

  • I’d never do that…. would I???” 

 

 

A Mind of Peace!

But whatever the reason, we don’t have to react with anger.  And, we don’t have to be a doormat and think that we somehow don’t deserve fair treatment.  We don’t have to run to either extreme! 

  • Jesus said:   “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” (John 14:27)
  • The prophet Isaiah called Jesus “The Prince of Peace.”    (Isaiah 9:6)

But how’s that play out in real life?  Even Jesus experienced anger when He cleared the Temple.  Are we always at peace?

We live in a world that’s full of injustice.  We’re going to be wronged.  We’re going to be hurt.  But we don’t have to loose our temper if we see our value as a person from God’s view instead of the world’s view.  Paul told the Romans (Romans 12:2)-

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

Change the way you think.  Look towards God and seek His will instead of your own.  “The things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.”

Here are some more truths about God that might help you have a “Mind of Peace” instead of giving a “Piece of your Mind”…

God Knows Us…

Yep.  God saw that; He knows you were wronged.  He’s got enough time for you personally; He didn’t just wind up the world and walk away.  Here’s what David said about God in Psalm 139 (verses 1-7):

  • O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit down or stand up.
  • You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.
  • You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do.
  • You know what I am going to say even before I say it, Lord.
  • You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head.
  • Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand!
  • I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence!

You can’t get away from God’s presence.  If you’re shaking your fist, God sees that.  But if you’ve been wronged and you look to God for justice and peace, He sees that too.

Been there Too...

True, Jesus never lost a parking spot at the mall, but He’s not some aloof celestial being either. He knows what it’s like to be human. He knows what it’s like to be wronged. And He knows what it’s like to be tempted to do wrong.  The writer of Hebrews put it like this (Hebrews 4:15):  

This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin.

The High Priest is Jesus.  He faced temptation in the wilderness.  He cried when a friend died.  He know what it was like to be a human.

God Values Us…

Eeyors of the world take heart; Your value is in God, not in what others think of us. 

But prideful, self-sufficient ones be warned:  Your value is in your relationship with God, not in what you have or do.

You probably remember what Jesus told Nicodemus one evening (John 3:16-17):

“For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.

God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.

Before saying that, Jesus told this religious man, “You must be born again.”  Your value isn’t in what you do, it’s in what God does through you.  Here’s how Paul put it (Galatians 2:19-20):

For when I tried to keep the (Jewish) Law, it condemned me. So I died to the law—I stopped trying to meet all its requirements—so that I might live for God.

My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

“Crucified with Christ” sounds pretty crude.  But Paul’s saying that the things he does doesn’t define his value; God values Paul (and us) because Jesus died for us.

So if we keep that in mind instead of trying to constantly defend our own evaluation of who we are, we’ll be less likely to lash out at someone.  And we’ll be more likely to be a peace with ourselves and with the people around us.

Justice will Win Out!

Yes, you WERE wronged!  Somebody did a bad thing to you and you’re right in recognizing that this person needs to pay a price of some sort.  But we have the freedom to leave that to God.  WE don’t have to set things right.  Here’s what Paul told the Romans (Romans 12:17-19):

Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable.

Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.

Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say,

“I will take revenge;  I will pay them back,”   says the Lord.

Billy Graham once commented that he “read to the end of the book- God Wins!

God Wins!  Just take a look at the final chapters of Revelation; God certainly gives His enemies “a peace of His mind”!!!  Because of that, we can rest in the Peace of His justice.

God Provides Our Needs…

Parking spaces right by the door may not always open before us, but God knows what we need and He provides for us.  In Matthew 6 (the Sermon on the Mount), Jesus tells the crowd to keep things in perspective.  Don’t worry about life’s necessities, or even about little things like parking spaces.  God will provide (verses 25-27):

“That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? 

Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are?  Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?

Instead of worrying and focusing on the things you need, “seek the kingdom of God.”  In other words, trust God and know that your value is in your relationship with Him (verses 31-33):

So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ 

These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. 

Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.

True, He may not always give you a parking spot right by the door.  But if God supplies our basic needs so that we’re free to seek Him instead of those needs, then maybe we shouldn’t worry so much when someone steals our parking spot.

People Care…

We’re not alone!  God has given us the opportunity to be surrounded by other Christians who will help us.  The Church is God’s way of providing our needs, giving us encouragement, giving us comfort and love, and for giving us a value that’s not rattled when somebody cuts us off. 

Jesus said that when someone loves us (or fails to love us), it’s as if that person is loving (or not loving) Him.  Jesus takes us under His wing and takes us personally.  Here’s what He said in Matthew 25:34-40:

 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world.  For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home.  I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’

 “Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink?  Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing?  When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’

“And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’

If someone does us wrong, Jesus knows it because the wrong was done to Him too.  We don’t have to give a piece of our mind.  God, through the love of His Church, will give us a Mind of Peace.

Be Joyful…

God’s not telling us to turn a blind eye, and live in a world of “ignorance is bliss” or “Don’t worry, be happy!”.  Our relationship with injustice isn’t to ignore it.  But we diffuse anger and claim peace when we simply place our trust in God’s justice.  God wants us to be free from worry and anger.  He wants us to be joyful!

When Paul wrote Galatians, he was in agony about how they had turned from the faith.  He then implored them (Galatians 4:15):   “What has happened to all your joy?

Anger and turning our thoughts inward robs us of of the peace and Joy that God wants us to have.  Here’s how Solomon put it (Proverbs 17:22)…

A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.

God doesn’t want us to have a “broken spirit.”  How can we love Him and serve Him if our focus on ourselves?  Anger saps a person’s strength.  (for more on this thought, check out Pastor Jim’s 1016 Camp Meeting Sermon, “What Ever Happened to Laughter?….)

 

It’s Your Choice…

What kind of mind do you want?  Do you want to be on the edge of giving someone a “piece of your mind” or have you refocused your mind on God so that you can have Peace?  In Galatians 5 (19-25 ) Paul contrasts two different mindsets.  One is when we determine our own value and give a piece of our mind.  But the other is when we allow God to value us, and we let the “Fruits of the Spirit” give us a Mind of Peace.

Here are a few items from that passage that compare these two attitudes:

 

PIECE OF YOUR MIND  MIND OF PEACE
  • hostility
  • quarreling
  • jealousy
  • outbursts of anger
  • Love
  • Joy
  • Peace
  • Patience
  • Gentleness
  • Self Control

What’s your reaction when something goes wrong?  Do you immediately jump to giving a “Piece of you mind”, or are you controlled by God’s Spirit which allows you to react with a “Mind of Peace”?

All quotations in this post are from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation ®, copyright © 1996, 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.

 

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