Life Hack #2:
Embrace these life hacks, and it may be safe to say our foundation will be one of trust - not in ourselves, but in God himself. They help to hold us accountable for our actions and attitudes. The company we keep, as well as the company we don't keep, makes a huge difference in the choices we make in life. "Life Hack #1" dealt with our attitude toward the 'poor and needy' - how we interact within the "boundaries" of Christian love or not. "Life Hack #2" focuses on those we associate with the most. Why is this important? Wrong relationships are as dangerous as wind is to fire. Pick the wrong ones to engage with and you will find your world set on fire, but not a fire you can control!
Don’t hang out with angry people; don’t keep company with hotheads. Bad temper is contagious—don’t get infected. (Proverbs 22:24-25)
Angry people make life miserable for others, don't they? Anger is an emotion with overwhelming potential to destroy both in word and deed. Words spoken in haste, without forethought, aimed at hurting another will leave lasting scars. Words spoken in a rage of anger, not really aimed at anyone, but spoken nonetheless, have just as much potential to leave scars because we never know who will latch onto them and take them as a "truth" they will hold onto about themselves, their work, or their abilities. The emotion of anger is more than a simple "feeling" - it may include an outburst, or vindictive twist. It is not always measurable, nor is it quickly identified before it has a chance to affect those in its path.
If you have ever been around testy people, you might have recognized how easily you were caught up into the "testy" attitude. It was probably because it made you a little uneasy to be around them. Be around it long enough and it may become you agreeing more and more with the things which set them off. Bad attitudes have a tendency to rub off onto others - infecting them with their poison. This is the reason we are warned to avoid hanging out (keeping regular company) with those who have an issue with anger and the resulting outbursts. Unfortunately, anger turns us inward, but it directs its "flow" outward. Anger is often a result of perceiving your rights have been violated - someone has not respected your space, they've invaded your "territory".
You may begin to feel like people take you for granted - not appreciating you. You have turned inward - it is all about you. In time, you might even begin to express this feeling of being taken for granted in short jabs toward another, rehearsing the times they have done you wrong, and even taking shots with sarcasm. Little by little, you begin to nurse your feelings of being wronged. In time, these feelings (validated by your own rehearsal of events) take on a life of their own - expressed often in outbursts (turning outward). From mothers everywhere: "Don't hang out with the wrong crowd - they will corrupt good morals!" Anger has so much volatility associated with it, so it becomes a destructive emotion almost without warning. Associating with those who are given to such volatility is dangerous ground to trod.
If you don't end up injured yourself, you will eventually become what you associate with! Then you will be the one so inwardly focused that all your outward actions are harsh, brutally unkind, and just plain miserable to be around. Emotions are real - we cannot deny them. We need to "hang with" those who will help us to reveal our emotions in reasonable, upright, and consistent ways. Those we choose as our closest relationships - those we "frequent" most often - will go a long way in helping us develop reasonableness in our emotions. Hotheads need to realize how they drive those away who may have their greatest potential to change their life. Just sayin!
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