Friday, August 07, 2015

Praying for a De-buttoning

I'm counseling a marital couple, helping them learn healthy ways to communicate in the middle of conflict. Their anger towards each other keeps escalating. He protests, "She keeps pushing my buttons!"

I respond: "But they're your buttons. She didn't sew them onto your soul!"

If we didn't have "buttons," like the need to always be in control, or the need to always have things go our own way, or the need to not be interrupted when we am busy, or the "denial button," then no one could push our buttons because there would be none to push.

Jesus didn't have "hot buttons." People kept trying to push him, but he didn't hang on the cross and complain "That's it - when you just mocked me you pushed my buttons!!!" Instead, Buttonless Jesus responded with, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."

Every "button" has a sign saying "I am a victim." Hot-buttoned people are clothed with the spirit of victimization. Things are always being done to them. Every time a person cries "My buttons got pushed by you!" it indicates a refusal to take responsibility for one's own behavior. It's a sign of emotional and spiritual imprisonment. Buttons confess: "I am controlled by your behaviors toward me. You push; like a machine, I react."

That's not good. Bondage: bad; Freedom: good.

Paul wrote: "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be set off again by a button of slavery." (Galatians 5:1; Piippo translation)

How do we get de-buttoned and enter the arena of freedom? The only answer I have found is: dwell in Christ. Live the connected-life. Be a branch, connected to Jesus the Vine, and His nature shall flow into you. He gives you His peace. Jesus said: "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."

As Christ is formed in us (Galatians 4:19) when people try to push us to our limits, what they encounter is a love knows no limits. This changes things. We wear different clothing, and if this clothing has any buttons at all they are labeled "love," "joy," "peace," "patience," "kindness," "gentleness," and "self-control." (Gal. 5:22-23)

Remove my hot buttons, Lord.

Take away my reactiveness and free me to respond as you did.