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November 13, 2022 – Sermon Transcript

Managing Myself When I'm Triggered - November 13, 2022

Pastor Mike (00:00):

Your life matters way too much to allow your emotions to be hijacked by these silly triggers. We gotta stop and make a decision like I’m no longer gonna sabotage others or sabotage myself.

Hannah Hunter (00:16):

Hey, beautiful people. Welcome back to Sundays with The Gathering. I’m Hannah Hunter, the director of Digital Breach here at The Gathering Place in Palm Beach Gardens. As we head into the holiday season, Pastor Bike brings us a message on triggers, how we identify and deal with them so that our past doesn’t hijack our present.

Pastor Mike (00:33):

So as I was preparing for this message we’re in this series and I know that the holidays are right up on us. And we remember we started out a couple weeks ago and we talked about are we open to just be with friends with people that are completely different than us? Because that’s like one of the first steps that we’re really gonna be committed to extending God’s redeeming love is like, can we actually do this? Can we just love people for who they are without trying to fix them or see them as a project, but value them where they are? And just the challenge was, is to be their friend. Last week we talked about, we start talking about the triggers that so we don’t fall into the ditch. Because what happens to a lot of us is that when we do get activated or triggered, I mean we just become overwhelmed by our emotions and we’re blind to a lot of things.


And either in that very moment or even the moments afterwards, we just do a lot of things that we regret and it puts us into a place or a cycle sometimes that just is not helpful for us or for anyone around us. And again some of the things that we remind ourselves is like, Oh, how do I know if I’m being activated or triggered, is just when you have a chance to step back and reflect. And if you could see that your response was way greater out of proportion than that circumstance, chances are you probably were triggered or activated. But I want you to know that I felt that we needed to talk about this a little bit further because last week we dug into about our own personal wounds and where the origins of some of these triggers. But let’s face it, we can’t just be hiding in a cave all our lives.


We have to be living and doing life with people. So this message is not so that you can just have a relatively peaceful time with a bunch of dysfunctional people during the holiday celebration, which it is part of it that I hope that will help you. But also my prayer is that your life will change for the better as you seek God’s help to grow in this thing called self-awareness, which sadly, a lot of Christ followers lack that. Also, that in this self-awareness, understand that there’s still some work that needs to be done inside your soul. And you’ll realize that, hey, I got some soul wounds that just need to be brought to the light and that you’ll begin to allow God to heal you. Because this is the good news that Jesus came to save us and he came to set us free. I’m talking about in the real world.


I mean we always talk about Jesus saving us so we don’t go to hell. And I, and I’m with you on that, I’m tracking with you on that. But Jesus also came to set us free from everything in this world that keeps us captive. And you see, that’s what salvation looks like. And salvation is not just, I mean it begins with moments and we have moments, but we also understand that it is a process and God is healing and restoring us as we gather together in community in the name of Jesus. And so my prayer for you today is that you’ll respond to God’s grace by becoming more attuned, more aware of those things that trigger you or put you in that bad state, that then you have these other actions that always this you deeply regret. So I wanna be attuned to those things, but also maybe learn a couple skills on how to manage it in the spiritual world.


That means actually learn how to live in that spiritual gift of self-control, which is one of the fruits of the spirit is how can we do that so that also that your heart can be in a right place, you can be a place of peace. And when we operate from a place of peace, we can faithfully answer God’s call on our lives. I need you to know this, that every one of us, we have a calling on our lives, but we also have to be equipped to live into the purpose that God has for us. And frankly speaking, I am tired. It breaks my heart when I see people that have just some amazing callings on their lives. I mean, they are gifted, they have passion, they have vision, they have all these things, but they miss their God opportunities because they did not give the most sacred part of their lives to Jesus. And that’s our hearts. And I know I’m not talking about the Sunday school version, they just give our hearts to Jesus. No, I’m talking about the very seat of our emotions, the things that we treasure we hold dear a lot of times. We do not give this to Jesus.


Speaking from my own experience and as I reflect on my journey of learning how to follow Jesus, I realized that I missed a lot of just golden God opportunities because I was too immature to walk in them. I knew the Bible. I mean, I study the Bible. I mean I’m a student of the scripture, but knowing the scripture is not enough if you’re not giving and surrounding your whole heart to Jesus. So here’s what I want you to understand is that triggers left to themselves. If you just like we have these buttons, we live with them, we have them. But if we just let them have their reign in us, I mean they are very dangerous. And the reason why they’re dangerous is because they hijack our emotions. And then when our emotions get hijacked, when we are not in control, when we are not walking in that fruit of the spirit of self-control, we’re not walking with love.


Here’s what happens. We sabotage ourselves and many times we sabotage other people around us. And when we get sabotage or we start sabotaging other people happened, it is virtually impossible to fulfill or live into God’s mission, which is extending the love of Jesus Christ. We say we want the whole world to know Jesus Christ. We say that Jesus really makes a difference. We say that Jesus loves all people, but when you are hijacked, you are sabotaging all of those things because you’re not operating from a place of love. But what happens is you’re operating from a place of woundedness of uncontrolled or unchecked emotions and you’re kind of just in that basic survival mode. Like I said last week, we talked about triggers from the point of view of understanding kind of the rootedness of that. And it was looking at our woundedness, Okay? It’s not the other people that are pushing the buttons.


That’s not their fault. We all have buttons. It’s not their fault that they are pushing the buttons. The problem is that we respond in unhealthy ways when our buttons are pushed. And that is because we are woundedness wounded and we have to ask God to search our souls and to show us these things. And then we have to understand also a little bit about what sets us off, what triggers us, what from my past is being reactivated, what has not been redeemed or healed or cleansed by Jesus. And then we have to understand that with God’s help we enter into this process of salvation. That means that we not only with God’s help, but we do it in community and we ask for help both from spiritual mentors, professionals and all those things. So I’m not pre preaching last week’s message, but what I want you to know is that there’s a lot of stuff in there and I encourage you, I mean it’s a scratch on the surface really, but I hope it’ll get you to think and inquire and dig a little bit deeper.


So check out the podcast. We’ve also put some resources that have been shared to me by some other local professionals. We put that out there so that you know, can look on social media and kind of engaged with us on these things. Don’t just hear Sunday message and leave it. Okay? Now let’s talk about today. Today we’re gonna be responding to or talking about what do we do when we are in those situations that typically trigger us? Or what do we do also when we are a round people who are also triggered themselves? Okay? Cuz let’s face it, the holidays are coming up. We’re gonna be meeting relatives or meeting friends. There’s corporate Christmas parties, social gatherings go to, and we’re mixed with all kinds of people. And just the idea that the holidays are coming up and that we have these expectations put on us.


I mean, there’s already a little bit of stress right there. I mean, it’s not a little bit, it’s a lot of stress. I we have to rearrange our calendars, we have to be prepared of who I’m gonna interact with, how I’m gonna respond, all those different things. And then we have to also understand there’s stuff going on in other people’s lives too. And we can’t control any of that. So to ground our scripturally, okay, here’s what we’re gonna be diving in today. So everyone knows the story of David and Goliath, right? I’m sure if you’ve been in church for a little bit, the story of David and Goliath. Goliath. And if we think about this story, I mean this is a story at least from children Sunday school. This is what really put David on the map. I mean him just having this victory over Goliath. But inside today’s scripture, there’s some things that I want us to glean from. Cause we’re gonna see how one person was, we’re gonna see how one person was able to manage things coming at him and how another person was nine. So for your homework, I wanna invite you to dive into First Samuel chapter 17. But we’re gonna focus on first Samuel chapter 17 verses 28 to 32.


Now, when Eeb, David’s oldest brother heard him speaking with the men, he burned with anger at him and asked, Why have you come down here? And with whom did you leave those few sheep in the wilderness? I know how conceded you are and how wicked your heart is. You came down to watch the battle. Now what have I done? Said David, can I even speak? He then turned away to someone else and brought up the same matter. And the men answered him. As before what David said was overheard and reported to Saul. And Saul sent for him. David said to Saul, Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine. Your servant will go and fight. So I know that’s a weird place to pick up in the David and Goliath story, but I want you to understand why. I mean, usually when we think about the story, we pick up on everything after that scripture text that I read.


But let me just give you just a little bit of background, okay? Here we’re talking about two brothers with, I mean total, there’s eight siblings. One is the oldest brother and the other is the youngest brother. Now, a few chapters before this in the Bible, what we learn is that King Saul is not being a good king. And God speaks to the prophet Samuel and says, I’m gonna choose and anointed a king before you. And he brings everybody to go to this particular house, to the house of Jesse. And what happens is Jesse says, You know what? I’m gonna put my very best son forth, my oldest son, he’s handsome, he’s gifted, he has all this. And that’s his brother Eb.


And Samuel looks at him and God speaks and says, No, not this one. And immediately this older brother is rejected. And eventually what happens, what we know in the story is that David, the youngest, the one that’s out there with the sheep, he’s the one that God calls and gets anointed. And we hear this famous thing that man looks on outer appearances, but God looks in the heart and later on we hear that David is a person who is after God’s heart. Fast forward now we see at the Israelites at war with the Philistines and it’s not looking well. And the other thing that we see is that David’s three oldest brothers, so this is all chapter 17, but David’s three oldest brothers, they go out to war and they go to follow Saul. But David stays with the sheep. Okay? So David stays with the sheep.


And the only reason why that we see that David is on the battlefield is cuz that we see that he goes between his duties of the sheep taking care of the sheep and he goes to the battlefield. And in this particular case, his father Jesse said, Hey, can you bring some food and stuff for your brothers? Can you go and bring some nice cheese for the commanders of the soldiers and let me know how things are going. I mean the father’s worry. And he’s like, Hey David, can you go out there? So when David goes out to the battlefield, here’s what he hears. He sees this Goliath that he’s challenging, he’s insulting to Israelites, but we also see that the Israelites are full of fear and all this kind of thing. And before David arrived, King Saul makes this promise that whoever has victory over Goliath, because basically the stage was set, whoever defeats the chief warrior, whatever chief warrior has victory.


That’s the one who wins the whole war. So basically a lot of money is promised to the victor, the king’s, the hand of the king’s daughter. So Saul says, Whoever will kill Goliath, they’re gonna marry my daughter. So just think about that social elevation there and they’re gonna be tax exempt. I mean that excites me already just to be like tax exempt. And so that sets us up to where David’s on the battlefield and he’s talking to people and he’s engaging with them and they’re telling him, David’s like, Who’s this Goliath? And all this stuff? And they say, Oh yeah, and there’s this promise and all that. And that brings us right up to speed on where we are. Now, here’s the thing I want you to understand right away, is that sometimes, I mean we whitewash the Bible and we pull out these examples that sound really good.


And the reason why I love the Bible, cuz it’s filled with a bunch of screwed up people just like you and I who are just trying to figure out how to follow God. And also the Bible reminds us that no matter how screwed up our home life is, no matter how screwed up our work life is, no matter how screwed up our country is, God is with us and God is working in the midst of this thing and that God has this amazing way of filling in the gaps by God’s grace. So I want you to know that there is not a perfect or ideal way even in this scripture on how to respond when we are triggered, okay? Because you and I are gonna be triggered all the time and there’s things happen. So there’s not the perfect way. You’re not gonna fully get it and reach some kind of form of enlightenment where no one’s ever gonna get under your skin and just tick you off.


That’s not gonna happen. But what I want trying and do is just give you some resources and tools from the scripture and kind of overlay it, kind of find that connection from where theology and where psychology meets so that we can live in peace in the real world. So I believe that that God does fill in the gaps. And while this is not a perfect example for us, I mean I think there’s some good things that we can glean. So first of all, I’m gonna read the scripture one more time and I want you to ask yourself or just reflect on this, who was triggered in this story? So when Eeb, David’s oldest brother heard him speaking with the men, he burned with anger at him and asked, Why have you come down here? And with whom did you leave those few sheep in the wilderness? I know how coed you are and how wicked your heart is. You came down only to watch the battle. Now what have I done? Said David, can I even speak? He then turned away to someone else and brought up the same manner and the men answered him as before what David said was overheard and reported to Saul. And Saul sent for him. David said to Saul, Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine. Your servant will go and will fight him. So who was triggered?


Big brother. Big brother? Both of them. Both of them, yeah. I think if we look at closely, I think both of them were a little bit activated right there. I mean we see at the brother mean right away, what do we see? We see this anger. I mean it says anger fills this guy. We see that he starts attacking him. He’s like, Why in the world did he even show up here? And I wonder, when I was reading this passage and reflecting on it, did he feel some just that big brother responsibility of what I’m again taking responsibility, the three ELDs went to battle and we’re defending our people, we’re doing everything that’s right. And now you are just running back and forth between home just being papa’s little puppet. I mean I can see that mean. How about in your family? Do you ever have that where you know have these different role responsibilities in the family and sometimes the eldest takes on more than what is even required of the eldest.


And then the youngest feels a little bit of the brunt of that. I mean maybe some of that was going on right here. But also we see that not only is he angry, but he starts attacking David. And then not only attacking David, but he starts judging him. I mean he starts accusing him, he starts going after him. And again, if you find yourself doing this when you’re in someone’s presence and all of a sudden this anger comes from this somewhere and then you’re starting to just all of a sudden your head’s getting very defensive and you’re starting to wanna attack and you’re starting to wanna accuse and you wanna start to do all these different things, chances are, I mean you’re getting activated, your buttons are being pushed and you are just responding to it. But also as somebody you said, I think David was also triggered and I want you to know that just because someone pushes your button and you get a little bit of emotions, a little bit of emotional rise, it’s not a sin.


Okay? It’s not a sin. And I can see kind of David’s response cuz sometimes we have this idea in our head that we, Christians are supposed to be immune to feelings that we only experience like faith, hope and love. And we never get ticked off once in a while. We never get distracted once in a while. We never get aggravated once in a while. But we can see that. I can see David when he says that response, he’s like, What am I not allowed to talk <laugh>? Are you just coming on me right now again, what am I supposed to do? So here’s, I think about though, we see these two brothers, and according to rabbinic traditions, it is old Jewish theology. One of the things that they believe why the oldest brother was overlooked was because he had some real heart issues. And that means that they infer based on his response to David, that he was always overreacting, he was angry, he was just responding.


He could not control his emotions. And so they believed that God did not call him part of the natural reason. God did not call him because he was impulsive, filled with jealousy and anger. Now maybe that’s the case, maybe it wasn’t. But I won’t tell you this. When you respond to this kind of stuff and you act out and you just let your emotions just hijack you, people are gonna say all kinds of junk about you, just be prepared for it. That’s just what it is. But I wonder also what happens to you when you allow your emotions to be hijacked by your triggers? I think about David, we know that he goes to fight David Goliath, but what would’ve happened if he came down to that level and just started just going right at it like brothers do? I think that would’ve been the end of the story.


I don’t think we would ever hear about King David. I don’t think he’d ever fulfill God’s calling in our lives. And I think for us, when you and I and we do this, okay, I do this. I mean I’m a working process, I’m learning and growing this, when we give into this stuff, we miss some golden opportunities. We self-sabotage ourselves and a lot of times we do harm to people around us, people that we actually really care about. But because we’re so emotionally nuts, we just forget that we care about ’em, we do a lot of harm. So there was a resource shared with me a few weeks ago when I asked for help about this because I’m looking from the theological side of it and one of the resources I was given to me, and we shared it online as well, but it talks about this state shifting practice.


And if we kind of look at it, state shifting means, okay, I almost was gonna say a bad word, but we’re ticked off something. Our emotions are hot, the palms are getting sweaty, we’re getting a little bit aggravated and we know that right now we have a choice. Do we fight flight or do something else? And what we wanna do is we don’t wanna embarrass ourselves at the company Christmas party. We don’t want to create another scandal at the family holiday dinner. So we say, You know what, God please just help me to get some control back over myself to help me just a step back and get control. So that’s shifting our state from this survival instinct to back to being a rational person that loves God and loves other people and he knows that they’re called to extend God’s redeeming alone. So the first thing that you need to do when this happens, so these might be the steps and we’re just glossing over it.


Like I said, you gotta do the deeper work, but they say is to name this stuff. So the moment you feel like something’s off, you gotta start starting this internal dialogue with yourself to regulate things, to get calm, to get down. It’s called self-awareness. Starting to realize to say what my button is being pushed and I don’t like it, I don’t feel comfortable, I’m not happy. We see that David was in triggered. And so what we have to do is we have to tell ourselves and hopefully if we’re at a rational state where we could just tell ourselves, Hey, you know what, Mike? You’re getting off the falling off the tracks right now. You’re about ready to lose it. They got under your skin, okay, you are upset. You are unhappy. Hopefully, you know, can get some red lights and say Come, just come Holy Spirit, help me get back in control.


So for myself, some of the things that I have to do for myself is I have to get rooted back into my identity in Jesus Christ. That I am a child of God, that no matter what people throw at me or say at me or all these same things or accuse me what I have been forgiven by Jesus, Jesus is working in my life. I have still faults and issues and all that, but I know that God’s not done with me. The other thing that also that I have to just do this is to understand that I gotta understand where I’m at. And you gotta understand that this is not the time to try to win an argument. This is not arguing time, this is unapologetic time. This is not time to just prove them wrong or tell it like it is. It’s not the time to fix anyone.


So what we have to do for what I have to do is also just start naming things and say, Okay, that person that’s in front of me is not my enemy. And when I just start beginning to have that little bit of internal dialogue, it kind of gives me a chance just to step back just a little bit. And then, and that’s the second point that they say, so name what’s going on. I think the problem is where we get in a lot of trouble, all of us, is that we just try to go through life and plow right through things. Like right now, I mean there’s a kid that’s got all your attention, half of you, and let’s just name it and be like, let’s just name what’s going on. That happens. But a lot of times we get so tight fisted and we gotta like, no, I gotta get through, punch through this instead, what would happen if we just acknowledge what is going on?


I think a lot of us as Christians, if we acknowledge what’s happening inside of us, we’d be a whole lot better if we start just naming and becoming aware of what’s happening. The next thing is that you need space. Talk about kids. I have a toddler and there’s some things that sometimes that time out, that little space just to step back from the heated emotions helps so much. So we see that David did this, okay, yeah, you could tell that he was triggered. He’s like, Hey come on brother, what are you messing with me for today? But then we see that he doesn’t get engaged in this big fight with him. And maybe this is not the perfect example, but we see that David turns to the other people <laugh>, he starts engaging other people with them. And so maybe some of the examples that when you’re in that holiday moment or you’re in that family dinner and all of a sudden people start, you know, can see it starting to escalate, you starting to feel it, you name it, you talk to yourself, you know, say, Hey man, I’m being triggered.


And also understand that no matter how well you think you’re responding, you’re probably not doing as good as what you think you are. Okay? So just remember, keep that in the back of your mind. But what we have to do is we have to let go. We have to step back. And sometimes that means maybe engagement with another family member or maybe pulling somebody else in if it’s at a work party and moving the conversation differently. Maybe sometimes even in the workplace, people will just jump on you and you get a little bit overwhelmed, you get flooded. And so instead of just coming back at ’em, you say, Hey, well let me just get back with you. This is a lot. I gotta process, do some of my research. One of the best almost fail safe things in the family gathering is like I gotta go to the bathroom.


You know what I mean? That really does help a lot. And I have a mushroom allergy that does some crazy stuff to me. And so if I’m really into it, it’s like Jane’s Bond taking that pill he is not supposed to take. I take a mushroom man and I’m just gone, you know, won’t see me for half a day. But what I’m saying is what I don’t want you to do is this. Don’t be this super arrogant and light and triggered Christian that says what my pastor taught me. That the way you’re behaving, you’ve been triggered and you know what you need to just go and cool off. That stuff doesn’t work. And the reason why it doesn’t work is because people what they don’t like to be labeled. And very rarely do people like to be told what they need to do or what they need just especially when they don’t ask for it.


So again, you might just need to sometimes also be honest and name things. I mean, remember one time I was talking with a person and I was just like, I could see that it was getting tense and I could feel myself getting tense. And I remember just talking to person saying what? This is very close to both of our hearts and I can see that we already see this at a different place. So why don’t we just take a break from now because we’re really passionate about that. And sometimes just speaking those things just all of a sudden gives us that space to get our composure back to remember who we are in Christ and remember who the person is in front of us. Cause the person who’s standing in front of us, Jesus died for them too. Jesus loves them too. They are not our enemies.


We’re called actually if you think they’re your enemies, remember Jesus said that we’re called to bless our enemies and do good to them. Now how do we make the shift or the pivot? Pivot our state. There’s practical things of breathing, deep breaths count and to 10, all those kind of things. I’ll be honest with you, sometimes I don’t do that. Well I, I don’t know, I just don’t. I’m reading cause I’m still in that mode. But for me, what helps me is to start praying and it’s like, God, just please just help me. Or sometimes I realize as asked, why am I feeling this way? And I realize that there’s still some stuff in my heart that I’m still have some pain and I’m like Jesus, I still have some pain in my life. I’m still hurting. I remind myself that person’s not the enemy.


And then also another thing that helps me is I look around on what’s happening in the environment. Because sometimes when the situation is not safe, and I wanna stress this, my goal for us as a church is that we’ll be a safe church. In other words, a place where people are growing in their faith, but we have this emotional and spiritual maturity that we are safe people, we are trusted people. And when people do not feel safe, I’m talking about whether it’s at a physical level or emotional level and they’re filled with fear, they come out fighting or they come out running. And so sometimes I have to ask myself, it’s like what’s going on? And here where it’s not safe. Sometimes if you’re dealing with addictions and you’re in a place where it’s like, hey man, I mean there’s all the time to say it’s not safe for you.


What is going on? Going back to what was happened in David’s situation mean they were in the middle of a war and they were losing and they were afraid of this big bad Goliath. And so sometimes we have to recognize what’s going on. We have to recognize what’s happened in the environment, what are also the external triggers for me. If you see that I am irritable and snippy with you, nine times outta 10, I’m hungry. You know what I mean honestly. And so sometimes that environmental change is just like what? I need a snack. I mean I just need something to eat. Sometimes we need just a support from a friend, but we have to just recognize what’s going on. Because what you don’t wanna do is that when someone’s activated, you don’t want to go and reactivate them and to start triggering each other back and forth.


You don’t want to create that system. And so I looks like David kind of moved away from his brother and got involved with some other people and maybe that’s sometimes what we have to do. Sometimes we just have to step back, calm down, not keep fighting with the brother, love your brother, but then get engaged with some other people. Get engaged with some other things not to totally avoid, but so you can get yourself under control so then you can deal appropriately with what is going on. And that’s the fourth step is dealing with the situation. See, another thing that we Christians are really good at is being passive aggressive. In other words, we got a bunch of stuff that we don’t like but we think it’s not Jesus that you like to actually talk about things directly or we try to cover with spiritual cliches and all that.


And there’s all these problems that are sitting there right in front of us and we don’t do anything about it. And we talk about everything else. But cuz we’re afraid that we’re gonna offend people or people are gonna get hurt or we’re gonna make be feelings upset. And what there is an appropriate time to be passionate about somebody. There’s nothing wrong with having conviction. So we have to deal with what’s going on. And I think sometimes we have to also deal with what’s going on beneath the surface. What is the real issue going on? What is really happening? I mean maybe David and his brother, maybe they have dad issues cuz the dad was playing favorites. We see a lot of that in the Bible. But what is really happening? And I think one of the best things, again, this is a tool that I use and I’m learning to use and I find to be helpful because I did the other thing.


I did the fighting a lot and I’m tired of fighting. I wanna be a person of peace. I wanna be a safe person. I hope you want to be that too. But listening to people is key. And I’m not talking about listening like okay talker, peace and just shut up. Now I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about some deep listening where in emotionally healthy spirituality or emotionally healthy relationships, we talk about this empathetic listening, which involves us deep listening. And when you’re calm and you’re valuing what the person is saying, you’re actually taking what they say for what it is at face value. And actually, you know, repeat what you heard. So that way maybe you misunderstood things but you repeat what you heard. But the goal is for connection. You’re trying to reestablish connection there and a healthy connection. So you might say something like, Hey, I hear what you’re saying and that sounded like that was really hard for you.


Or maybe, I know dad does this stuff all the time. And yeah I can see, and I didn’t go out to battle with you guys and I could see that why that would tick you off. I appreciate you always being the responsible one, but maybe I, and make sure it’s sincere and honest. But this kind of just reflecting back and this honest listening, it requires a lot of grace. And that grace is to realize that man, we all miss the mark and we all need to be forgiven, we all need to be loved. And Jesus does all that. And so we should do that and give that to each other. I mean that is one of the most incredible gifts that we can give people. Maybe intellectually they won’t understand that as Jesus, but we can really practically give them Jesus that way. It requires self-awareness.


In other words, being honest with what’s going on and willing and willing to look at the mirror. And when you have that, I mean I’ll tell you one thing, it really does a job on our self righteousness and it really helps you to realize that man, you know what? I shouldn’t be so arrogant, I should be a lot more humble. And then finally another, not finally, but another thing is that what I see that David did, he connected people to a greater purpose. So for them the greater purpose was the fate of the nation of Israel. We have a enemy out there, we have to do something about this. And sometimes the first great purpose a person needs to know is that, you know what, we’re still family, we’re still colleagues and I still care about you and I still love you. And sometimes the best way to shout that you love somebody is just to listen to them.


Just to be quiet and just listen to them. There is a higher purpose. And again, for me when you’re think, let’s bring back to our family situation, just I have a bunch of people that are coming to my mind right now and this is a time I kind of mentally prepare ourselves to say, okay, what’s really going on here? But for me, the higher purpose is why do I put myself through all this? Hell sometimes is because that relationship matters to me. Those people matter to me and I want to have a healthy connection with them, their family and I love them. And then another thing that to me is I think really neat, and this is the hard part that a lot of us avoid a lot. This can also be an opportunity for you. This could be a gift for you. And I mean God could be working through that person that’s in front of you to refine your character.


God could be working through that person to give you a personal growth opportunity of deeper. So when people are obviously triggered, it’s so easy to say, Oh man, they’re just being triggered. We just dismiss it. The problem is all them. But sometimes you are actually the problem. Sometimes you’re just an annoying little butt that people just get tired of being around you and you’re aggravating, you’re arrogant, they don’t like the way you talk or whatever. It’s just hard to be around. And so this is an opportunity for you to step back and reflect on how am I contributing this situation? Am I escalating the problem? Am I gaslighting things?


Did I purposely do something to tick them off? And then another thing that I really encourage you to do is to talk to other people about this when you have some time to again do some self work, talk to those trusted people, maybe talk to your counselor. For me, I mean, I’m just gonna say my journey. I talk to my wife a lot and she’s very reflective to me and helps me see things that I don’t see about myself. I also have a clergy covenant group. I have friends that I can talk to local friends and friends of far. I work with a counselor and a coach. And you know what, I’m still struggling with this stuff. But these tools and these friends and these relationships and people, I believe that God has put in my life and they help me to be a better person.


And it helped me to learn and grow from these things. And that’s what I want for you is not to be stuck and not just to be. Just perpetuating that cycle that’s been in your family almost feels like a generational curse. Remember Jesus came to set us free. I read this one quote and I think we have this one on the internet, but I’m not gonna even try to pronounce the guy’s name, but he’s the founder of aqui, which is a martial arts. And someone asks this teacher master, how do you say, centered all the time again, sometimes we have this image that the Christian’s supposed to be centered all the time in which the teacher replied, Oh, I’m not centered all the time. I simply recover faster than before. And that’s what we’re trying to do is this, to be recover. Not just fall flat on our face every time, but even when we fall on our face, let’s just get up with some dignity and allow ourselves to let go of some things and to be laughed at and laugh at ourselves.


It’s okay because here is what I don’t want you to miss. This is your calling. You and I are created in God’s image. And when we come to Jesus, we experience a love and grace that we know that we didn’t earn on ourselves and that we don’t deserve. And Jesus promises you and do work. And the proper response to that is to extend this redeeming love to others. You and I were created to be gifts, good gifts to other people and to our community. So why are we talking about this triggers and why we brought this Bible example is because you know what Jesus said that those who are peacemakers shall be called children of God. And you have a calling to fulfill and your life matters way too much to allow your emotions to be hijacked by these silly triggers. We gotta stop and make a decision.


I’m no longer gonna sabotage others or sabotage myself. And you know what? I’m tired of being a Christian baby. Okay? I’m tired of being immature. You know what? Because it’s like, as Pete Ero says, it’s impossible to be spiritually mature when you’re emotionally immature and following Jesus requires attention to personal growth. So here’s what I want to ask you to do, is I want you to reflect on this stuff. I want you to think about this message. Think about what God is saying cuz you’re what? Do you take what I say or totally ignore it. You’re gonna face it. It’s gonna hit you. And you know what? It’s all in your hands on what you’re gonna do. If you see that you have a problem with this, ask for help. And don’t be ashamed. I mean there’s nothing wrong with asking help for to God, but don’t be ashamed to ask for help to confess it to other people. If you have some deep seated wounds and some deep trauma in your life, I mean there’s some heavy stuff, you know, might need some professional help. There’s no sham in this because the scripture promises when we confess our sins to each other, Jesus is faithful in just to heal and forgive us. I like this scripture. Just write this one down. Didn’t make the slide. Romans chapter 12 verse 18.


If it is possible, <laugh>, as far as it depends on you live at peace with everyone.

Audience (42:59):


Pastor Mike (43:02):

I mean the God says, hey, it’s possible. I mean it’s gonna be hard, but if it is possible, it depends on you. Can you see that way of peace? Can you see that way forward? And I guess what I’m leaving you with is this. Can you see what I’m talking about? Can you see that we have a God that we could put full faith in a God that did it all in the cross, that showed us the way, that took the penalty and pain and punishment and all those things, and then promise us to give us freedom. Can you see that you are not alone in this world and that Jesus is promised victory? Can you grasp it? Can you believe it can? Do you have that hope? Can you see a new future? Can you see a way out of that cycle? Can you see that God wants to restore and heal and make all things new and God wants to redeem those broken places and those places where there’s abuse, those places where you’ve been just rejected and left out. Can you see that? God’s saying it stops right here and I have a future for you. And that future is good.


Can you see it?


And then finally, love, can we walk in love? It’s not by our own strength, it’s just by receiving love and trusting that God’s doing all this stuff and saying, You know what? I can do this. Not cuz I’m afraid anymore. Cause fear has been taken away. Not because I’m hopeless. No, I have a hope, but I can do this because I am deeply loved. Let us pray. So God and thank you that you do something so amazing in our lives that’s greater than what we could possibly sometimes take in. But Lord, I pray that as we look ahead and especially during this holiday season, that will not be overwhelmed arms and that we’ll not be just stressed out and allow our emotions to be hijacked, but God, that we can have hope that there is another way that that cycle can be broken, that we can have faith that just as you conquered everything on the cross and you came to set us free, that we could be free today. And Jesus, thank you for your love and by your grace, help us to genuinely love other people as you have loved us. Make it so you ask. In Jesus name. I’m Him.

Hannah Hunter (46:16):

Hey beautiful people. This is Hannah Hunter. I’m the director of Digital Reach here at The Gathering Place in Palm Beach Gardens. Thank you for joining us this week. We love getting to share our journey in Christ and community with you. And if you’re in the Palm Beach area, we’d love to get to connect with you in person at our Sunday worship service at 1115. For more information about our community and faith, check out our website at the gathering place Thanks for.