Pushing Our Buttons

November 2, 2021
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Listen while you read: "O That Will Be Glory"1 (Lyrics)

Romans 12:9-10 – Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. (ESV)

Have you someone in your life who is angry and resentful, who really knows how to bug you, who knows your weaknesses and how to exploit them, who pushes your buttons? I have certainly worked with such people in my career; one individual can poison an office environment, divide families and even communities, and create unrest in a church community, too.

The apostle Paul counsels that Christians should be genuine, not masquerading love or being stand-offish. It's all about relating to our brothers and sisters in the Christian community to which we belong. One of the deceiver's strategies is to destroy relationships and poison hearts, and nothing does it like bitterness! Resentment and suspicion are the opposites of growing in love and trust.

I've had acquaintances who stopped talking to me, who deceived me, who took advantage of me, and who seemed to enjoy criticizing everything about me. What I have learned, and what is so challenging to practise, is how I should respond. With God's love and power, we can control how we respond, which speaks volumes about our Christian character.

Have you ever grown a mint plant? Wise gardeners grow it in pots, because, unrestrained, its roots invade the whole garden.

Hebrews 12:15 – See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no "root of bitterness" springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled. (ESV)

As mint roots grow unseen under the soil, resentment invades the soul and drags down others; they act differently, aren't as helpful anymore, and don't talk as much.

How do we kill off bitterness? How do we let go of hurt? As Paul instructs in today's verse, "Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good."

Ephesians 4:32 – Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. (ESV)

If God has forgiven us of every sin, we can extend that gift of grace to others. Compassion is powerful in healing ourselves, and shows Jesus' presence in our lives. Let's pray for those who persecute us, those who push our buttons, that they may partake in Jesus' power, and wounds may be healed. It may not change them, but be sure — it will change us!

Prayer: Dearest Lord, give us the grace today to remember our salvation and extend the gift of forgiveness to others. Heal us of the hurts that we hold onto, so that we can truly love each other with brotherly affection. Amen!

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About the author:

Shirley Moulton <shirley_moulton@yahoo.ca>
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Thank you.


    Amen! Well said! Blessings.


    Thanks for the encouragement, Shirley.


    Inspiring post, Shirley. Thanks and blessings!


    Great message neighbour.
    (QC)


    Thank you, Shirley. Not only did I learn about the mint plant’s invasive root system, but I am encouraged to rid myself of bitterness. I appreciate your work.


    Oh wow. Thank you, thank you. I retired several years ago and find it hard to run into a very mean coworker still. Professional jealousy I was told by others. Still struggle as the barbs continue to this day. I will read your excellent devotion often.


    Thank you, Shirley,
    Your devotion is a refreshing reminder to pay attention to how I respond to criticism, harassment, and the growing bitter roots. Not always easy, so a reminder is a welcome gift.
    Grace and peace to you.


    Greetings Shirley,
    Thank you for this very mindful devotional. Truly showing compassion is an action that benefits not only ourselves but also the one to whom we show compassion. Jesus certainly is an excellent model to us for being ever ready to reach out with compassion. Blessings for these special writings you do.


    Oh Shirley, our Lord is nudging me this morning. He has put scripture and your devotional in my pathway this morning for sure. I was tripping over myself needing to talk to a dear friend, rain on her parade, squash her enthusiasm for something she feels she must do. In so doing, it will put me in a bad light. Pushing my buttons so to speak.
    Thank You Lord for showing me how as a Christ follower I should be acting with grace and compassion and leaving difficult situations in your hands.
    Thank you, Shirley, for your devotional this morning.


    Good morning, Shirley,
    I love the title and your thoughts and Bible passages. I know that I have let my “buttons be pushed” too many times in my life. I know that it is simpler now that I am retired but it still happens. I think I forget sometimes to ask God to heal the hurts that I hold onto. I need help remembering to do that. Definitely if we respond differently, it offers the opportunity for others to react differently, but their action is not the important one. It is our actions which God can help us to control.
    Great message. Thanks for sharing. May you have a wonderful month of November and receive many blessings.

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