There is no denying...we serve a "happy God". I want you to take a deep breath, right now. Let your neck and shoulders relax. Your God is in a good mood.
Most of us know what it feels like to be in a somewhat manipulative relationship. There are people who try to use their emotions to control the emotional atmosphere of others. Have you ever known someone who, if they feel unhappy, they seem to radiate a soul-curdling negativity into the very air around them? I'm able to overlook this in anyone once in awhile...we all become hurt or angry now and then, and sometimes we simply can't hide our heartbreak, or un-invite a guest who happens to be arriving at a bad time. But when I encounter someone who, time and again, shrouds the people around her with her own gray, depressive cloak...well, I know I have encountered someone who does not understand the grace of God.
I'm one who is very sensitive to the spiritual condition of others. I can detect the emotional "temperature" of a room and of a person, usually within moments. In the past I have unwisely accepted the responsibility for it. If there was tension in a room full of people, I felt responsible to say something funny to deflect it. If someone felt angry or depressed, I took up the job of improving their mood. This is fine, as I said, once in awhile. It is part of our ministry, one to another, in the body of Christ.
But now if, more than a few times, I walk in a door, or get around someone, and sense manipulative despair....I have no option but to speak of the gospel of the grace of God with that person. I can be patient for as long as necessary, if the gospel is willingly heard, received, and the dear one takes it and applies it not just to her destiny, but to her day. I will walk with her, because I understand that some things are a long process...renewing the mind with the good news of the grace of God in Christ Jesus is absolutely a process, and no one can skip it or short circuit it.
But if the good news of grace is not received, if it is in fact rejected (some reject it, if you can believe it!) I am bound to ignore the manipulation from that point on. I will not wear any one's shroud. I will not have my soul infected by any one's need, consciously or unconsciously, to have emotional power over others. I have spent far too long dealing with symptoms that were in fact not my own, but that of the sickness of another. No more. It is great to be discerning and sensitive and walk with others in their pain, if one is also wise and walking with prepared feet, ready to share good news. I hope to become wiser as I get older.
This is why it is so comforting and empowering and utterly blessed to be a friend of God. I am telling you, He is always in a good mood - always confident that what He has promised or begun, He is able to perform and complete. I come into His presence, and unlike a friendship with an emotionally controlling person, I leave with a full heart-tank. His good mood rubs off on me every time. There are such pleasures and rivers of joy that come with just being with the Lord. I long, with every part of me, to be a carrier of Him. I want Christ in me to minister to you, so that when you are around me, if you can at all receive grace, you feel hopeful and happy, filled and whole.
How do I know that an emotionally unstable and manipulative person needs grace? Because grace says I have been given the gift of righteousness, and the Scripture is clear:
The work of righteousness will be peace, And the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever. (Is. 32)
The gospel of grace gives me a hope that is an anchor to my soul, keeping me from being blown about by every wind of doctrine. Emotions that run all over the map are a sure indication that somewhere I am not submitting my reality to the reality of the finished work of Christ. (We all experience being a bit blown about...we just don't all impart our unbelief and negativity to those around us, hindering their appropriation of the power of God unto salvation that is available only to those who believe.)
Relax, dear one. God has been in a good mood for a long time, and His equilibrium is unaffected by your issues. What a friend...consistent and faithful and full of grace!