The Core Negative Heart Issue

Why do I become offended?  Why don’t I consider the interests of others?  Why do I want to control what other people do or don’t do to satisfy my interests?  Why do I find it hard to do what the Apostle Paul writes in Philippians 2:3-7 (ESV)?

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.  NIV – Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,  KJV – Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.  NASV – Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves;

4) Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. NIV – not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.  KJV – Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. NASV – do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.

5) Have this mind (attitude) among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.

Why is it hard to value others as more important or significant than ourselves? God put His finger on the core issue of my heart. PRIDE. When someone doesn’t do or say what we want, then we get hurt or angry. Why?  According to verse 3, we may not value others as more important than ourself.   When God does not answer my prayers the way I want, I get hurt and angry.  Pride says, “What I want is more important than you or what you want.” The fact is, pride fuels every negative thought and emotion we have. To learn more about pride read: HOW PRIDE DESTROYS.

You know you are free from pride when you consistently do what the Apostle Paul exhorted the Philippians to do in Chapter 2, verses 3-4. The Apostle Paul says we are to do nothing from selfish ambition, selfishness, strife, or conceit. HELP. James tells us in Chapter 3, verses 13-18 that selfish ambition is earthly, unspiritual, and demonic. YIKES. I need to repent.

James 3:13-18 state, Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness (humility, gentleness) of wisdom.

14) But if you have bitter jealousy (envy) and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth.

15) This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual (sensual), demonic.

16) For where jealousy (envy) and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile (evil) practice.

17) But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.

18) And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

Are you a person who is pure, peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial, and sincere? Pridefulness prevents us from being wise.  We need to put off our pride if we are to have the same attitude as Christ. We are born self-centered beings, which only gets worse. So, what is the remedy? Since pride generates negative heart issue and is a sin, go through the five steps to heal your heart and purify your soul.  I have added the process for purifying sin from our soul since it was first posted. Remember, sin is doing evil by not loving and valuing others and God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.


I know I am being vulnerable when I share my prayer, but I want to be the example of how to purify your soul.  As I was asking God to show me the things I needed to  put off, I wrote them down.  This was not an easy prayer to pray and I was visably shaking because pride had such a grip on my soul.  It is through our pride that evil spirits can control our thoughts and emotions so it needs to go.  I use the name of Jesus because we are commanded to in John 14:13, 16:24 and other Scripture passages.

Lord Jesus, I confess the contributing issue to not loving others well, and not considering the interests of others, or seeing them as more significant than me is the sin of pride. I loose and put off the sin of pride out of my soul and the negative spirit attachments in Jesus’ name. Lord, forgive me for being prideful and not seeing others as more significant than myself.

Forgive me for wanting others to serve me instead of me serving others in love. I bind in your attitude of humility and servitude into my heart and mind in Jesus’ name. Lord, help me to focus on doing what pleases You and not on the negative issues of (I prayed through the various issues God brought to my mind.)

Lord, I loose and put off the unhealthy belief that my interests are more important, and people should do what I want. I bind in the spirit of humility to every cell of my body, so I can have the wisdom from above that is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere, in Jesus’ name. I loose and put off all selfish ambition from my mind and heart, in Jesus’ name. Forgive me for insisting that things are done my way and becoming ugly and say unkind things. Loose and put off the negative energy I put into my family associated with my prideful attitude and the unkind things I said, in Jesus name.

Remove the guilt from the sin of pride from my heart and mind. Lord, loose and destroy the generational sin of pride from my genetics and the genetics of my children, in Jesus’s name. I thank You, Lord, for helping me in my weakness when I focus on my needs to focus instead on You through praise, prayer and pondering the Scriptures. Thank you for cleansing me from all unrighteousness and making me a more loving person.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Related Posts:

Love From a Pure Heart

Hope for Lasting Peace, Love, and Victory

Thoughts That Create Peace Within and Without

Wise Thoughts vs. Foolish Thoughts

Bondage to Unseen Controls

WHY HEAL YOUR HEART AND PURIFY YOUR SOUL?

 

Psalm 91:11-13 — Guardian Angels and Power Over Evil Spirits

Have you ever wondered if you had guardian angels? Have you ever wondered if you can overcome the evil spirit influences in your life? You will discover the answer to both questions.  To get a base understanding of the unseen Spirit World, read the following post: Four Realities of the Spirit World

The devil used the following scripture to tempt Jesus to sin when he took him to the top of the temple (see Matthew 4:6). So always keep in mind that the devil will use scripture in the unseen battles to tempt us to sin against God as he did with Jesus.

Psalm 91:11-12 states, “For He will command His angels concerning you, to guard you in all your ways. 12) On their hands, they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.”

How many accidents or disasters could have happened to us, but we will never know because angels guarded us.  Angels are not to be worshiped as they are created beings by God, whom He sends to minister to those being saved. Only God is to be worshiped. The following Scripture passages report how angels protect and guard us:

Genesis 19:1 & 15 states, ”The two angels came to Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them and bowed himself with his face to the earth. 15) As morning dawned, the angels urged Lot, saying, “Up! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, lest you be swept away in the punishment of the city.”

Exodus 23:20 states, ”‘Behold, I send an angel before you to guard you on the way and to bring you to the place that I have prepared.’”

2 Chronicles 32:20-21 states, ”Then Hezekiah the king and Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, prayed because of this and cried to heaven. 21) And the LORD sent an angel, who cut off (destroyed) all the mighty warriors and commanders and officers in the camp of the king of Assyria.”

Psalms 34:7 states, ”The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear Him and delivers them.”

Daniel 6:22 states, ”My God sent his angel and shut the lions’ mouths, and they have not harmed me, because I was found blameless before Him; and, before you, O king, I have done no harm.”

Matthew 18:10 states, “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven, their angels always see the face of my Father, who is in heaven.”

Hebrews 1:13,14 states, “And to which of the angels has He ever said, ‘Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet?’ Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?”

Also read Acts 12:7-11 how an angel helped Peter escape from a jail cell in a dungeon.

We are assured that when we take refuge in God and trust Him with our lives, He will command His angels to protect and deliver us. Joyce Myers believes that as David ran toward Goliath and the word was going forth out of his mouth, that the angels were activated to help him. Psalms 103:20 states, “Bless the Lord, O you His angels, you mighty ones who do His commandments, obey the voice of His word.”

Equally as exciting as angels helping us is the power we have over the unseen demonic world.

Psalm 91:13 states, You will tread on the lion and the adder (cobra), the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot.”

The lion and serpent are both descriptions of the devil, as depicted in the following verses: 1 Peter 5:8 states, Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9) But resist him firm in your faith,…” Webster’s dictionary defines resist as the means to withstand; oppose; fend off; stand firm against; withstand the action of. 2. To oppose actively. 3. To keep from yielding to, being affected by, or enjoying temptations. Revelations 12:9 states, And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. In Luke 10:19-20, Jesus states, Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions [refer to demons], and over all the power of the enemy [the devil], and nothing shall hurt you. 20) Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.

In Genesis 3, the serpent deceives Eve, and is still causing people to doubt God through lies. Remember, lies are false, unhealthy beliefs meant to ruin our love relationship with God and people. Therefore, watch what thoughts you allow your mind to dwell on. The Bible says in Romans 12:2 that we are to renew our thinking with the Word of God. For instance, if we become angry, fearful, depressed, etc., we are unknowingly believing a lie from the devil that God does not care. God cares because 1 Peter 5:7 tells us to cast all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Stop dwelling on lies and renew your mind with the truth found in God’s Word, and you will have peace of mind (see Philippians 4:7). You can bring every thought into subjection to the truth.  Read the following posts: ALL THOUGHTS ARE WITHIN OUR CONTROL and What Controls Your Thoughts? and Identify and Replace False Beliefs

We have authority and power over the demonic world when we put them under our feet. If they are under our feet, then they are not affecting our mind. The demons are in subjection to us and under our feet when we exercise our authority and control over them through Christ Jesus and His name. Authority is the power or right to give commands and enforce obedience. The following verses explain our authority in Christ Jesus.

Matthew 28:18 states, And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.’” Luke 9:1 tells us that Jesus Called the twelve [disciples] together and gave them power and authority over all the demons and to heal diseases. Colossians 2:9-10 also states “For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity (Godhead) lives in bodily form, 10) and you have been given fullness in Christ (NIV), and in Him, you have been made complete (NAS).” The Apostle Paul says in Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” We learn from these verses that because of Christ’s life in those who believe and are followers, they also have all authority and power over the unseen demonic world.

The following verses illustrate the fact that Satan is under our feet. Romans 16:20 states, The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. 1 Corinthians 15:27 states,For ‘God has put all things in subjection under His feet.’…” Hebrews 2:7-8 states, You [God] have made Him [Jesus] for a little while lower than the angels; You have crowned Him with glory and honor, 8) putting everything in subjection under His feet. Now in putting everything in subjection to Him, He left nothing outside His control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to Him. (Also read 1 Peter 3:22.) Finally, Ephesians 1:22 states, And He [God] put all things (in subjection) under His [Jesus] feet and gave Him as head over all things to the church.”

Being in subjection is being under someone’s authority or control. Though we have authority over the devil and demons, we need to humbly submit to God and allow the Holy Spirit to directed us to the truth of God’s Word. Our authority has nothing to do with feelings or head knowledge, but only because of our position in Christ Jesus. Be watchful for pride because it blocks Christ’s authority in our lives. Remember, God threw Lucifer out of heaven because of pride and he became the devil who resolves to oppress and destroy us because we bear the image of God (see Genesis 1:26). The good news is found in we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us (Romans 8:36b).”

It is helpful to read the previous verses Psalm 91:5-6 – DO NOT FEAR THE UNSEEN

Psalm 91:2–TRUST FOR HEAVENLY PROTECTION

Psalms 91:2 states, “I will say to the Lord, ‘my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’

Our words have power because words create thoughts; thoughts create feelings and beliefs; beliefs produce behavior that influences our destiny. To proclaim the Lord is your refuge is to claim that He is your protection from danger or difficulty and is a place of safety. A fortress is a secure place that offers protection or a place of defense. So, when we dwell in the shelter of God through prayer, praise, and pondering Scripture, then we will be protected from evil and temptations. God wants us to trust Him by believing and having confidence in His protection.  To know more about trusting God, read these blogs: 15 Promises We Can Trust God to Keep and Trust God to Keep His Promises

      What keeps us from seeking shelter in God?

One reason we don’t seek the shelter of God is because we are focused on our problems instead of giving our problems to God. Many times we try to solve our problems without God, which does not work out well. Sometimes we seek the pleasures of this world instead of seeking God.  Also, pride and sinfulness keep many of us from seeking God because we think we don’t need Him. Often, we don’t think to pray and trust God.  And, we think we can take care of our problems or trust in others or the government to help us. My friend, Mary Fisher, shared with me that “Some people let guilt and feelings of unworthiness keep them from seeking God. We need to realize we are never worthy of going before God, even when we think we’ve been good. And we are never un-welcome if we come with humble and repentant hearts. Coming before God honestly is hard because we must face up to our sins. But He wants to forgive us and for us to leave our sins at the cross.”

     What are the benefits of going to God for our protection and trusting Him to help us?

Meditate (think deeply about; reflect; ponder) on the following Scriptures about trusting God. Identify the benefits of trusting Him.

Psalm 9:10 states, “And those who know Your name put their trust in You, for You, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek You.

Psalm 56:3 states, “When I am afraid, I put my trust in You.”

Psalm 56:11 states, “In God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me?”

Psalms 62:8 states, “Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us.

Psalm 115:11 states, “You who fear the LORD, trust in the LORD! He is their help and their shield.”  Proverb 14:26 also states, “In the fear of the LORD is strong confidence: and His children shall have a place of refuge.”

Psalm 118:8 states, “It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man.”

Psals 118:9 states, “It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in princes.”

Proverb 3:5 states, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.”

Remember, words have power, so claim the following verses by personalizing them and praying with thankfulness.  If you are keeping a journal then write out two prayers per Scripture passage beginning with “I will say, I…” and “Thank you Lord for….”

Joel 3:10b states, “Let the weak say, ‘I am strong; NIV, a warrior; ESV, a mighty man; NAS.’”

Psalm 27:1 David states, “The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

Psalm 142:5 David states, “I cry to You, O LORD; I say;’ You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.’”

Isaiah 41:13 states, “For I, the LORD your God, holds your right hand; it is I who say to you, ‘Fear not, I am the one who helps you.’”

Psalm 46:1 states, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”

Psalm 18:2 states, “The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”

Psalm 31:19 states, “Oh, how abundant is Your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear You and worked for those who take refuge in You, …”

Proverb 18:10 states, “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous runs into it and are safe.”

Psalm 124:7,8 states, “We have escaped like a bird from the snare of the fowlers (demons); the snare is broken, and we have escaped! Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.

    What does it mean to take refuge?

   What would seeking refuge in God look like in your life according to these verses?

   How would the name of the Lord be a strong tower, and what would it mean to run into it and be safe?

   How can a Spirit be a fortress, a strong tower, or a rock in which we can take refuge?

When you think of a fortress you think of something strong that protects you.  We can trust God to protect us from Satan’s unseen schemes, and troubles from demonic forces of darkness because God is stronger and mightier than the devil and demons of this world.  Just think, He parted the Red Sea to save over a million people, who crossed on dry ground to escape the Egyptian army (see Exodus 14:13-31). Archeologists have now discovered Egyptian chariots at the bottom of the Red Sea. Furthermore, God caused the walls of Jericho to fall except the part of the wall where Rahab the harlot lived, because she trusted and believed God would protect her and her family. She also helped the Israelite spies escape and asked God to save her and her family (see Joshua 6:1-27).

God performed hundreds of miracles of protection and deliverance for people just like you and me, which are recorded throughout the Bible. How can we not trust Him? Remember, “Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world” (see 1 John 4:4b). I highly recommend reading missionary biographies to see that God continues to do miracles on behalf of those who put their trust in Him. I highly recommend reading George Muller’s biography to see how God miraculously answered his prayers of faith.

    Why do we doubt that God can be our refuge?

By saying, “the Lord is my refuge and fortress,” we are placing our mind and spirits under the protection of the Spirit of God our Lord. When we turn to God to shield and protect us, then the evil spirits flee (see James 4:7). Unless we draw near to God, repent of sin, and continually think of Him and His truths, we will be vulnerable to the lies and temptations that demons use to entrap and harm us.

Read my other related posts:

Four Realities of the Spirit World

HOW PRIDE DESTROYS

WORDS HAVE POWER—Part I: Overcoming The Destruction of Offensive Words

ALL THOUGHTS ARE WITHIN OUR CONTROL

Has this ever happened to you?  My son finished his fourth year of college out of five and it is not cool to talk to his mom.  I find out from my husband that he received two awards, one was for having the highest GPA in Architectural Engineering.  So, I took offense and I thought, well, why didn’t he tell me when I asked what has been happening in his life.  Why wasn’t I invited to the awards ceremony?  Who was invited instead of me?  My thoughts kept going like a fire.  I could not sleep; I woke up depressed.  All my muscles were tense with anxiety.  I had the unhealthy belief that my son did not love me.  I believed he will shut me out of his life, and I will never see my grandchildren.  Poo Hoo.  This example is only a smattering of how my thoughts quickly got out of control.

I know all thoughts are within my control.  So I told myself to STOP thinking those wrong thoughts and taking an offense.  I talked to myself and acknowledged that I was disappointed because my expectations were not met, but that doesn’t mean it is the end of our relationship.   The Bible teaches us to forgive, rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and be thankful in everything.  I refocused my thoughts on good thoughts and what I can be thankful for.  I prayed and asked God to take my anxious thoughts and unhealthy beliefs from me and the resulting stress energy.

I decided to text my son to let him know I was disappointed about not being invited to the awards ceremony and how proud I was of his achievement.  He called me right away and told me to get over myself and stop my pity party because the awards ceremony was not open to family and friends.  I had a good laugh at myself.  By that time I was over my obsessing because I accepted that those we love will disappoint us, and we will disappoint them.

So, where did those wrong thoughts originate?  I asked God to show me where those thoughts flowed from.  He showed me that I was feeling insecure about my relationship with my son, and my insecure feelings generated my wrong thinking and unhealthy beliefs.   Could an unseen evil spirt have planted the thoughts that make me feel insecure?  What is generating your thoughts?  Hurt feelings, insecurity, dissapointments, unmet expectations, etc.  My short book on my website helps you to discover the sources of wrong thinking.  1–Healing Begins by Transforming Painful Memories

I know the topic of thoughts is vast and mind-boggling, but my research is specific to the influence of unseen spiritual forces that affect our thinking.  Thinking about what controls our thinking and how our thoughts influence us is hard enough, now I have added the unseen spirit world.  The Bible records many instances of how the devil influences people’s thinking.  I use Biblical accounts because the Bible was written by God, as He influenced men’s minds to record His words.  Therefore, the Bible is the authority on spiritual and relational issues.  To learn more about who God is and the unseen spirit forces around us, read my post called, Four Realities of the Spirit World.

The following Biblical account is the first example of planted thoughts, which most of you already know or have heard of it.  God created Adam and Eve in a garden and told them not to eat from the tree in the center of the garden.  Satan (evil spirit) takes the form of a serpent and climbs the forbidden tree.  He causes Eve to doubt what God told her is the truth about dying.  The devil tempted her to eat the forbidden fruit by enticing her to desire it and then persuaded her that if she eats it, she will be like God, knowing good and evil (see Genesis 3:4).  This thought appealed to her pride.  Interesting, the devil’s sin was pride because he also wanted to be independent of God, which broke his relationship with God.  The wrong thought then caused Eve to look at the fruit and desire to eat it.  Her desire then compelled her to sin and eat the fruit.  This process shows how unseen wrong thinking led to disobedience and separation from God.

Temptations also create thoughts of offense, which then generate unhealthy, false beliefs.  Satan’s temptation may have caused Eve to think and believe:  “How could a loving God keep such a beautiful piece of fruit from me?” and “Why should Adam and I not know good from evil and be like God?”

??  What were Eve’s mistakes? 

Her first mistake was to reason with the serpent (the devil).  Her second mistake was to consider disobeying God.  The third mistake was to entertain the wrong thought and be enticed to look at and desire the fruit.  And the ultimate mistake was to give into her fleshly desire and disobey God’s good and just command.  The devil still uses the same temptation of living independent of God on all of humanity.

Until we recognize our thoughts and rule over them, they will continually control our beliefs, feelings, behavior, and destiny.  We daily face temptations that appeal to our self-centered desires to live independent of God.  Satan has not changed his tactics since tempting Eve.  All unseen battles begin as a thought that is within our control.  The girls in the prison system were told that if they withstand temptation for seven seconds, they can overcome the temptation.  I encourage them to replace the wrong thought creating the desire for the harmful activity with a healthy thought based on Scriptural truth.

??  How do our thoughts dictate our actions?

My mind used to be controlled by thoughts of fear, which would cause my adrenaline to go up.  Before I could stop it, I was in a panic—over nothing—except thoughts that needed to be taken captive.  And because of all the conflicts from my past, I realized I was constantly in a flight or fight mode, which created stress in my body.  I would sometimes imagine a confrontation with someone that would never happen.  I would get all upset and angry because of wrong thoughts, which needed to be taken captive and loosed from my mind.

To learn more about dealing with unhealthy beliefs read: Identify and Replace False Beliefs.

 

#1 Destroyer of All Relationships and the Solution

Let’s explore the reasons people break off a relationship, quite a job, or divorce. When we know a cause then we can find a solution. I was the kind of person that was upset about everything though I wanted peace. I was quick to get angry. Why? After many years of research and thinking deeply about causes, I figured out the solution. After trying the solution I can testify it works.  I chose the picture above as an example of what is destroying relationships today and why,

Think back to a time you were upset about something. Why were you upset? What caused you to get upset?  Does the picture of this post upset you?  In this post I want to challenge you to think deeply about what causes arguments and strife. It is helpful to journal your thoughts concerning causes for strife in your relationships.

Let’s begin our exploration with the following understanding. Most of us are self-centered people, and we live and work with self-centered people, who want our own way.  And, we don’t know how to love well. Would you agree?

Whatever the reasons for strife, it always comes down to someone becoming offended, then getting upset. An offense is a resentment, hurt feeling, or displeasure from unfairness, mistreatment, disrespect, betrayal, being ignored or not getting what they want.  Becoming offended can happen many times a day, especially when you have to share the road with other drivers or space with another person or watching the news. So, be mindful of the times you are annoyed, angry, miffed, irritated, frustrated, etc. Why? Really think about why. Why do you think you got offended?

A major cause of strife is pride. Pride caused me to be offended most of the time.  I would think the following thoughts: “How dare someone (fill in the blank).”  “They had no right to do that.”  “Who do they think they are?”  If you were honest as to why you get upset, you too would recognize a pride issue.  Please read my post on pride to learn more: HOW PRIDE DESTROYS

Another cause for strife is when someone says something hurtful that creates an offense in our hearts. Often words hurt our pride. A person’s words reveal the condition of their heart.  Therefore, the person saying the hurtful words is also hurting from offenses they have stored in their hearts. Read the following posts for a better understanding:  WORDS HAVE POWER—Part I: Overcoming The Destruction of Offensive Words  and WORDS HAVE POWER—PART II: Words produce death or life energy

Another cause for strife is unrealistic expectations. For example, I became upset with my husband because he did not take care of me when I was sick like his father takes care of his mother. This is an unrealistic expectation because my husband is not like his father, and it is not reasonable for me to expect him to be. Once I realized why I was offended, then I could deal with it rationally. But before I rationally thought through why I was irritated with my husband, I said a hurtful things to him. My hurtful words caused him to become offended, then he said hurtful things back. Do you see how this situation could escalate quickly and dissolve the relationship?

Unresolved negative issues also causes strife. For example, I became offended by the words on an anniversary card my wonderful husband gave me.  The card reminded me of an unresolved painful issue with my first husband.  Unfortunately, I allowed the offense to get into my heart and control my feelings, and I became miserable and said hurtful things.  When I dealt with the negative issue with my first husband that caused me to be offended, then I could resolve my offense and live in peace. To become free from the control of our past negative heart issues and painful memories, I invite you to visit my website and read my short book: 1–Healing Begins by Transforming Painful Memories

As soon as we recognize we do not have peace, we should ask if we are offended.  When we become offended, we enter the fight-or-flight mode. The fight-or-flight stress response stimulates the lower brain and we enter survival mode. Survival mode stops us from thinking rationally about the situation, which is why relationships dissolve quickly. You know you are in survival mode when you become upset when a goal or expectation is not met.  If you see yourself losing control of your emotions, walk back your emotions and ask, why am I upset? Why is this important to me? What is my part in this disagreement or unexpected negative situation? What solution do I need for a win/win? What am I willing or not willing to do?  Consider if the concern causing you to lose peace is within your circle of influence.  If it is not, then let it go or pray about it.  These are only suggested questions to help you think rationally and not reactively. 

Think about the last argument you were in or the last time you were frustrated. Using the definition of an offense, which is a resentment, hurt feeling, or displeasure from (fill in the blank), can you identify what you or the other person was offended about? As you may have already figured out, being offended is the single most destructive force in any relationship. But, once you discover the cause of the offense then you can work to solve it. My book called “Hope for Complete Healing” on my website identifies many causes for offense and the solution. I encourage you to read it so you can have stronger relationships.

Follow these seven actions for a great relationship; eight for SUPER GREAT!

1) Always stay in forgiveness and do not hold grudges. Expect that your partner/spouse/friend will let you down and may not meet your expectations from time to time. Being offended blocks love, kindness, peace, joy, and patience.
2) Be thankful for strengths and abilities and focus on these. It is easy to focus on what you don’t like and tell them about it.
3) Be committed. Genuine commitment is to be wholly focused on what is best and what will strengthen the relationship.
4) Communicate complete thoughts.  Don’t assume the other person heard you or understands. Have a respectful discussion to help you convey your meaning and expectations.  Don’t mind read and make assumptions.  Seek to understand what the other person is thinking without being critical.
5) Resolve conflicts using the “pen method.” The person holding the pen explains their perspective and logic. Then hand the pen to the other person, and they reflect on what they heard you say and explains their perspective and rationale. Go back and forth until you come to a win/win for both people.
6) Create a relationship vision or mission statement. Ask yourself and each other this question: “How do I want our relationship to be in 5, 10, 15, or 30 years. Write out a plan to accomplish your vision or mission.
7) Work through past issues, so your reactions and expectations are not controlled by your past.
8) Make the Lord and the Word of God a priority in your life and relationships.  The Bible says the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, so if you want to be wise, then God needs to be your source.

If you ever get a chance, go to a Mark Gungor marriage seminar called “Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage.”  My husband and I went to one of Mark’s seminars and he is funny and to the point. https://markgungor.com/.  On this website is a test that determines what motivates you the most.  He calls it the Flag Page, because it determines what country you are from: Control, Perfect, Peace, or Fun.  Finding out what motivates me is very helpful to understand why I do what I do.  It was also very helpful to know what motivates my husband.

I also encourage you to read about the adapted summary of “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey. Healthy Thinking and Behaving from Seven Habits of Highly Effective People