Thursday, April 2, 2015

Zechariah 3: Grace-Empowered Coping Skills

Chapter three begins with Zechariah watching Joshua the high priest stand before "the Angel of the Lord (Jesus)."  Satan is standing at Joshua's right, accusing him.  But the Jesus rebukes Satan and assures him that He continually chooses Jerusalem. (Zechariah 3:1-2)

Then the filthy garments (representing sin) Joshua is wearing are removed as Jesus assures "I have caused your iniquity to pass from you, and I will clothe you with rich apparel." (Zechariah 3:4)

Jesus, stood by solemnly and earnestly protesting and affirming Joshua! (Zechariah 3:6)

Then comes the awesome promise...

Zechariah 3:7
Amplified Bible (AMP)

Thus says the Lord of hosts: If you will walk in My ways and keep My charge, then also you shall rule My house and have charge of My courts, and I will give you access [to My presence] and places to walk among these who stand here.

As a psychiatric nurse, I often discuss triggers with my patients.  A trigger:  to initiate, actuate, or set off by a trigger <an indiscreet remark that triggered a fight> <a stimulus that triggered a reflex> (Merriam Webster).

I ask my patients to list their "triggers," because if we know what precipitates an unpleasant emotional reaction, we can develop a plan to manage ourselves.  Some triggers can be avoided, like developing a progressive study plan in order to avoid cramming before a test which triggers an anxiety attack.

But some triggers cannot be avoided, such as, the bully trigger, which may set a bullied child up for self-esteem/depression issues.

In order to manage their emotional state, I counsel my patient to develop a safety plan, which includes identifying personal coping skills. "In psychology, coping is expending conscious effort to solve personal and interpersonal problems, and seeking to master, minimize or tolerate stress or conflict"(Wikipedia).

As human beings, we all have triggers, but as Christians what we do with those triggers makes all the difference.  The coping skills used to manage our personal triggers includes God's grace! 

For example, we need to remember, when Satan accuses us through a bully, reminding us of our real or imagined faults, that Jesus stands by "solemnly and earnestly protesting and affirming" us.  His grace empowers us to forgive and pray for those being influenced by the evil one.  In this case, forgiveness and prayer are used as coping skills, powerful coping skills!

Forgiveness and prayer not only protect the person being bullied, but also will affect the bully, releasing him/her to our Father.  

These grace-empowered coping skills are tools, which God commands us to employ.  These skills are a way to "walk in My ways and keep My charge" and the resulting promise, "you shall rule My house and have charge of My courts, and I will give you access [to My presence] and places to walk among these who stand here."

Holy Spirit, empower us with the grace to forgive and pray knowing that Jesus stands by us affirming us and rebuking the evil one.  Let us be lights in the dark, encouraging others to utilize the grace-empowered coping skills You have made available.  In Jesus' name, AMEN!

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