Being Objective about Grumpiness


I think about as good a test of our sanctification as any is whether or not we are able to be objective about our grumpiness, and our negative emotions in general. It might sound silly, but I think its a huge part of wisdom. “Fools give full vent to their rage, but the wise bring calm in the end” (Proverbs 29:11). “Whoever restrains his words has knowledge” (Proverbs 17:27). “Do you see someone who speaks in haste? There is more hope for a fool than for them” (Proverbs 29:20). When we are grumpy or upset, it seems to me that we often need to say these kinds of things to ourselves:

“I’m under-slept, so the annoyance I’m feeling right now is probably exaggerated. I shouldn’t act on these feelings. I should not let them control me.”

Or: “given my current level of stress, I should be self-critical about this feeling of impatience. I should pray about this before I say anything. After all, I’m not perfect in this situation, either.”

Or: “this anger might feel justified, but my feelings can deceive me. A couple of days distance, and an objective opinion, might cause me to see this very differently. Lets give it some time.”

Lord, help us to be appropriately hesitant and self-critical. Help us to remember to talk back to our emotions, rather than merely hear what they are saying to us.


  1. Lauri Morrill

    Love it! Great advice (from a new sleepy dad?)! Love and prayers to you, Esther, and Isaiah! Oh, and HAPPY RESURRECTION DAY! Love, Lauri

  2. There are many Christians who believe that we are supposed to vent all of our feelings. I believe that we are not to vent. Of course David vented to the Lord and I think that is right. Lose of sleep can do strange things to people.

  3. Anonymous

    Well done, Gavin.

  4. amy faith martin

    excellent message Gavin, thank you!

  5. Or this might not be the best time to send this e-mail. Wait until after lunch and read it again before sending. :)

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