I don’t know why these two words jumped off the page to me, other than they perfectly described what I was looking for help with.
Agitating. Like a washing machine. The dictionary says it means to move or force into violent, irregular action. Or we could say, rolling something over and over to the point of agitation (or aggravation). Most of us understand passion—that powerful or compelling emotion or feeling, like love (or hate).
Should these two words even go together?
Morality is another conflicting subject because it totally depends on the person’s personal definition of principles as to what’s right or wrong. So therein is why it is followed by the word conflict. And when there’s a collision or disagreement over differing moral positions, things can go awry real fast.
So if you haven’t guessed yet, I had an episode this week involving agitating passions and moral conflicts. I don’t know if I would’ve described it that way before I stumbled across this very accurate wording, but it perfectly fits how I was feeling.
It started out innocent enough (don’t they all?) but within moments we were all agitated because we had different passions stimulating our defense of how we viewed the situation. And then, totally unintentionally, we each landed in the middle of a moral conflict—blindly seeing things from only our own perspective based on what we believed to be right and wrong.
It wasn’t pretty.
Later, we apologized (or to be specific, “I” apologized, meaning I knew I needed to). Right or wrong, it’s never okay to let things escalate into strife. The Bible is clear: “The wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God” (James 1:20).
When I stumble, I go to the Word. And it doesn’t matter how well I know the scriptures. In a moment of crisis, back to the Word I go because it’s my source of strength, comfort, and in this case, correction. And this time was no different.
“My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment” (James 3:1). I take this scripture seriously. Number one, I don’t want to be disqualified as a leader because I can’t get my act together. And two, I’d rather judge myself now than receiver a stricter judgment later. As I continued reading from this verse on, I was reminded what an evil the tongue is. The Bible literally says it is an “unruly evil, full of deadly poison” (James 3:8). And worse, it says it is set on fire by hell. In other words, every Christian is snared by this little member.
As I read, meditated, and reminded myself of this trap, I saw the words that jumped off the page. Verse 18 in the Amplified Bible says, “And the harvest of righteousness (of conformity to God’s will in thought and deed) is [the fruit of the seed] sown in peace by those who work for and make peace [in themselves and in others, that peace which means concord, agreement, and harmony between individuals, with undisturbedness, in a peaceful mind free from fears and agitating passions and moral conflicts].”
If the wrath of man doesn’t produce righteousness, what does? Well, according to this verse, the fruit of righteousness is “sown in peace by those who make peace” (NKJV).
I couldn’t undo the damage of my part in the previously mentioned scuffle of words. But I sowed peace when I owned my part and apologized. It didn’t make me better than the others involved. I’m only responsible for my actions. But I can tell you the agitation stopped. The passion subsided. The conflict rested. And I learned another lesson.
I guess it boils down to choice. I missed my opportunity in the middle of the conflict to choose the high road. But after, when emotions were still ramped up, a choice was in my hand—would I justify myself or follow God’s Word on forgiveness, repentance, and righteousness? I haven’t always chosen wisely, but in those times, I’ve tasted the bitterness of raw emotions. And I’ve seen the destruction the devil creates in its wake. So by sheer experience, I’ve learned it’s always best to follow God’s instructions on the matter.
I hope this helps you do the same. [Tweet “If you ever find yourself ramped up by agitating passions & moral conflicts, you need this.”]