Why Are You Destroying My Joy?

A coworker said this to me when I was complaining about my day.

Yes … I’m aware of the irony. I just wrote a blog post on the topic of joy, and here I am stealing someone else’s. Truthfully, it was a comment that was made tongue-in-cheek, and I don’t think I was actually destroying this person’s joy. But it got me to thinking.

Our attitudes affect other people.

It’s an idea that’s so elementary that it’s easy to ignore. So, I’ll say it again:

Our attitudes affect other people.

At times, each of us can behave like an emotional parasite, feeding off the energy of another, or performing for sympathy. I want to be careful to distinguish this from the times we are really in need of emotional support. Our friends, family, and coworkers want to be there for us when we are in need, and more often than not are totally willing to bear our burdens so that we can regain our emotional footing. I think the distinction between being an emotional parasite and accepting emotional support is that so.

What is the purpose, or the motivation for seeking that support? Are you seeking it because you want to climb out of your pit but need someone to offer you a hand, or do you want to pull someone into the pit with you for some company down there?

The idea of drowning is another metaphor that’s often used for depression or emotional turmoil, and is also helpful for getting at this distinction. Are you using the arm that is extended to pull yourself out of the current, or are you pulling the other person into the raging rapids with you?

The same is the case with sin in general. When accountability fails, it’s most often because it’s improperly used. Sometimes it’s a sin contest with one person unconsciously trying to match the other sin-for-sin. Other times, we confess without setting up any battle plan to avoid sin when it comes knocking again. We are content to wallow in perpetual defeat, confession, and repentance. There are too many passages about the power of God to defeat sin (ex.: Rom. 6:14, I Cor. 10:13, I Cor. 6:19-20, Gal. 5:1, Rom. 12:2, II Cor. 3:18, etc.)  for us to be content with the status quo until we escape to heaven and are fully sanctified.

Our attitudes and the way we think about sin will shape the ways we go about defeating it. Like I said in the previous post, Christ drank the bitter cup that we might drink living water. Let’s not go back to drinking nastiness when Jesus has provided a cup that is so much better. Let’s also not steal our friends’ cups to quench our own thirst. There’s plenty of living water to go around. He is, after all, the one who made more wine when it ran out, and turned 5 loaves and 2 fish into a meal for 5,000 with leftovers.

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