My husband was telling me about how he was practising his golf swing. As I’ve mentioned before, he loves to play golf. He practices and studies it. He coaches children and takes care to keep improving his handicap. He said that there had been a situation that had upset him before he went to practice and the things that had been said kept resonating in his mind. The shots he hit were all off target. He then purposely decided not to think about what had happened and just focused on his swing. There was an immediate improvement because his mind wasn’t trying to focus on two things at once. That happens so often in our daily life. We get distracted by something or someone and we can’t put our full attention on what we are supposed to be doing. That causes mistakes. I expect my employees to focus on work when they’re at work. If they serve the public they must smile and be courteous. They cannot walk around with a long face because something happened at home to upset them. If you’re in the service industry that’s just the way it is.
We allow all kinds of things to determine our mood. We don’t get enough sleep and we’re grumpy. Someone says something hurtful and we get angry. We have some aches and pains and we forget how to be friendly.
When does putting on a positive outlook become a mask? We know that we mustn’t wear a mask because we are hiding the true person that God created us to be. But we also have to be positive when we’re not feeling so great.
I see it this way: When we put on a mask there are a lot of lies that ensue and we are basically doing it in order to please someone. We are hurting ourselves in the process and quite probably also hurting a lot of people who are close to us too. A mask does not allow our true feelings and character to shine through. A mask is solid and opaque and has no room for grace.
Putting on a positive attitude on the other hand is self control. It is self control if you don’t gossip about someone who offended you. It is self control when you really feel like being rude back to a customer, but you smile instead. I had the experience of a customer who told me that I am as ugly as a dog. He was intoxicated but that is no excuse. I did not react in any way at all except to thank him for supporting my business. If I had reacted negatively it could have been a potentially explosive situation.
Proverbs 15:1, A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

We cannot afford to antagonise people. They are already watching us because we say we’re believers and if we are to erupt like a volcano every time someone offends us we aren’t going to be a very good reflection of Jesus.
I just want to add that there’s nothing wrong with having a friend or two who we can share our feelings with. People we can trust and rely on and who will be praying for us.
What do we do with all the negative stuff that comes our way every day? We give it to Jesus. He’s really good at handling that kind of thing. He’s so good at it that He was willing to die so that we wouldn’t have to take it.
Romans 4:23-25, Now it was not written for his sake alone that it was imputed to him, but also for us. It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was delivered up because of our offences, and raised because of our justification.
We can take all the offences we pick up during the day and give them to Jesus. In fact, He already took them all at the cross, so we shouldn’t be getting offended, but in case we feel slighted Jesus is there waiting to take them. We just must not take them back. Once we have given them to our Saviour and asked Him to forgive us for having been upset, they do not belong to us at all anymore. We can take off the masks and live in the freedom God has granted to us. We need to have the fruit of the Spirit of which self control is one. We can smile because we have so much to be grateful for and we have a Saviour who loves us.

Don’t take offence, be happy

Yesterday I saw a shop assistant looking very grumpy. She had offense written all over her face. I don’t she thought it amusing at all when I asked where her smile was. The look I received said it all. ‘How am I supposed to smile when I’ve been treated like that?’ But I was being very serious. If someone does something you don’t like, if they insult you or reprimand you without reason, it shouldn’t be your problem. Say, for instance, my colleague says that I am as fat as a hippo, I can choose my reaction. I can decide whether I want to be affected by it or not. I can inspect his motivation and decide whether there is any substance in what he says. If I am overweight and I decide that I do actually need to lose weight, I can start eating healthy foods. If I am not overweight it can be that he is reacting either to something I said, or something someone else said. He could be teasing or he could be malicious. Whatever the reason, you should think about your reaction and never react emotionally as far as you can.

Proverbs 29:11, “A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back.”

Proverbs 15:13, “A glad heart makes a cheerful face, but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is crushed.”

Proverbs 15:18, “A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger quiets contention.”

Proverbs 25:28, “A man without self-control is like a city broken into and without walls.”

Proverbs 16:32, “Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.”

Joshua 1:9. “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”


God needs us to have control over our emotions, especially the negative ones. How are we going to be his ambassadors. How can we claim to be made in God’s image if we do not have self-control, which just happens to be one of the fruit of the Spirit. James 3:9-10, “with it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.” Romans 12:2,”Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”


It makes such a big difference to our own souls if we don’t react out of anger or spite. Just imagine this: Someone insults you, throws out a careless remark and instead of walking around with a long face all day, you just smile and go about whatever you do as you would do when you are happy. Don’t allow him to get inside your head. Just think of his reaction. He won’t understand what is going on. He might think that you have lost some of your cognitive sense, but he definitely isn’t going to understand. 1 Thessalonians 5;16-19, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit.” I cannot feel bad if I’m smiling. There’s something about smiling, and I mean really smiling brightly, that you can’t fake. You simply have to feel better if you smile. You must really practice not taking offense. It must be a conscious decision. So the outcome will be that you are feeling good and can carry on doing good things and praising God. It’s hard to praise when you’re angry or upset. Proverbs 25:21-22, “If our enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat; And if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; For so you will heap coals of fire on his head, And the Lord will reward you.” Now who doesn’t want to be rewarded by God?


Let’s use self-control and not throw tantrums like children, let us keep rejoicing, get into the habit of rejoicing and praising, no matter how bad the circumstances. Don’t rent out space in your head to anyone except the Holy Spirit.