Are You An Emotional Sniper?

Are you an emotional sniper—shooting at others from a hidden place?

You’ve heard the saying “Hurting people hurt people,” and I’m sure you’ve been victim of a hurting person.  What’s it like when that happens?  You could walk into your house, workplace, lunchroom, etc. as happy as can be.  You say something nice to someone there, and they straight bite your face off.  It’s shocking when people react to goodwill with emotional acid and total disregard.

But that’s what snipers do.  Over time, they build up a case of unfair treatment in their minds and emotions.  They watch others be mistreated in a similar fashion, and it strengthens their case.  It starts to heat up in their thoughts, and then it boils over and scalds their normal rational thinking ability.  When situations don’t change in their favor, they begin to internalize how they’re being treated, how others see them and how no one cares enough to do right by them.  They feel like victims who have no power.  Next, they become convinced that they have to look out for Number One and they make the decision to proactively retaliate for perceived wrongs done to them.  They feel they now have the right to throw off restraints, and a sniper is born.

They become bold and they shoot at you from a hidden place of hurt, either real or imagined.  You don’t know what they’re thinking.  You don’t know what they’re feeling.  All you know is that you’ve been shot at.

Are you an emotional sniper, and what’s your hidden place?

Is it jealousy?  Fear?  Offense?  Lack of self-confidence?  Doubt?  Past hurts?  Confusion?  Feelings of superiority?  Love of your comfort zone?  Impatience?  Unwillingness to be kind?  Hatred?  Unhappiness?  Selfishness?  Lust for fame and attention?  Ignorance?  Are you a professional scorner?  A scorner has the feeling or belief that someone or something is worthless.  So they harbor contempt and use mockery at every opportunity.  Or maybe you’re disloyal, fickle and sometime-y?  Brash and entitled?  Hopelessness?  Outraged much? Or you’re the authority on every topic because you’re way smarter than most people.  Given to fashionable outbursts and cussing people out because you believe that’s the quickest way to personal justice?  What’s your hidden place?

Let me take a little sidebar so you can follow.  Do you know what your makeup is?  You are a spirit.  You have a soul (mind, will, emotions and intellect).  You live in a physical body.  You are spirit, soul and body.

Some of those hidden places just listed (jealousy, fear, lack of confidence, hatred, etc.) grow in the emotions.  Some take root and grow in the mind.  Some grow out of willfulness.  Some are even attitudes born from intellectualism.

You may never go as far as taking a high powered rifle, find a good hiding place and begin shooting people, but if you decide you’re hurt enough to retaliate, you could become an emotional sniper, shooting at the ones you love when you throw off all restraint.

Galatians chapter 5 verses 22 and 23 tell us that when we accept Jesus as savior, there are nine characteristics that take up residence in our reborn spirits and those characteristics can be developed to a greater degree to benefit not only ourselves but also those around us.

Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Those are your tools.  The more you use them, the more skillful you become.  But rather than use the tools in our reborn spirits, we often reach for what’s in the soulish realm to deal with life.  We’re more comfortable reaching for what our body, mind and emotions tell us to do rather than pulling a tool out of the toolbox.

Instead of using love, we choose hate or worse, indifference.  Instead of joy, we choose doom and gloom.  In place of peace, we choose an uproar or worry.  Instead of patience, we choose short-lived enthusiasm or uncontrolled appetites and lust.  Instead of kindness, we give way to being inconsiderate, ungrateful and dismissive.  We throw goodness off in favor of selfishness and immorality.  Faithfulness is traded in for fickleness, lack of devotion and a self-seeking mentality.  Instead of being gentle, we become abrasive, harsh and inclined to put others in their place.  We practice self-promotion and schmoozing so that we’ll be chosen over others who are equally as talented as we are.

When we give in to the opposing forces in life, they don’t help us get what we want.  They frustrate more, harden the heart and ruin relationships.  When you get born again and begin to develop the tools (those powerful forces that are in the reborn spirit), they help us achieve enough strength and peace that we’re no longer emotional snipers, taking people out from a hidden place.

Practice using your spiritual tools so that the world can be a less harsh place! Put the gun and bullets away, and you’ll end up having a great deal more peace.


Do You Flinch When Spiritual Topics Come Up?

Do you flinch every time a spiritual topic comes up?  Does it feel like someone pulled a stun gun on you when someone mentions the guy whose name starts with the letter J?  Have you allowed yourself to think about why?  Do you consider spiritual things to be private, not concrete, not clearly defined, scary and definitely not fun?  Are you afraid to be educated in spiritual matters, afraid to learn something not talked about in your family, your neighborhood, your culture or even among friends?

People establish values in order to organize their lives and to organize society.  While some value systems can be good to build a life on, they can also build walls and divide.

A value system is a set of beliefs and attitudes that members of a group all share.  They buy into those beliefs (which come with certain attitudes and protection mechanisms), and a cohesive group is formed.  It’s the very definition of ethnocentricity—when members of a group or culture believe that their values and way of living is better or more important than others’.  A comprehensive list of values is too large to list here, but imagine if you were born into a group whose top values were:

GROUP 1 :  accomplishment, higher education, ambition, wealth, status

GROUP 2:  nature, adventure, travel, environmental concerns

GROUP 3:  art, culture, music, entertainment, amusement, celebrity

GROUP 4:  affection, community, family, devotion, friendship, faith

The values of either of these groups become the beacon that leads them, the driving force for all life decisions.  Group 1 enforces their primary values with their young, pushing them to accomplish certain milestones in order to be the next generation who maintain the status quo.  They may admire some values of other groups, but the values of other groups are secondary.  Their primary values are placed on a pedestal above all else.

All groups tend to function in the same way, but I’ve said for years that whatever your strength is can turn out to be your weakness—a strength on one end of the spectrum and a weakness at the opposite end.

This is a simple example of how value systems become set in stone, unshakeable, unmoveable and not open to compromise.  This is also an example of how some value systems build walls and divide one group from another.  What if your future best friend or spouse was in one of those other groups, but rigid boundaries and beliefs restricted you from crossing the line?  But that’s a topic for another time.

So when someone asks you “Are you a Christian?” you may flinch for a number of reasons.  You know instinctively that others nearby are flinching, too, because they looked up to identify the one who asked the question or they changed their location in the room.  They flinched at the openness of someone whose values were different.  They’re now prepared to gather in cliques and decide how to avoid the person who brought up an unorthodox topic.  How dare they not realize that some topics are private and to be discussed in “safe zones” only.

Let’s talk about true Christianity for a moment—not the fake stuff you see in the mainstream media or in social media for that matter.  The values that are found in true Christianity include faith, virtue (morally good behavior), knowledge, temperance (self-control), patience, godliness, kindness and love.  These values can be embraced by any group. [2 Peter 1:3-8]

The truth is that when Christianity is mentioned in some circles today, the waters part, people get ostracized, labels are assigned, promotions go elsewhere, phone calls are not returned, walls get erected, and the fate of companies is placed in the hands of a trusted clique member who can affect hundreds of lives for better or worse.

Be honest with yourself if with no one else.  Why are you flinching when spiritual matters come up?  Have you discovered any meaningful value in Christianity?  Does it have any power?  Does it have the potential to improve your life in any way?  Could it help you with your academic scores, job problems, relationships, or your own personal health?

If you achieved great accomplishments, became wealthy, enjoyed nature, promoted culture, made great music, showed natural affection, raised a family and had wonderful friends, then discovered that you had left the single most important value untouched and unexplored—to your detriment, how would you feel?

Consider it because God loves hard, and there’s a great deal more in store for you!