Why avoiding never works

When humans are confronted with aversive stimuli, one of two things can happen. Either the person prepares for battle or gets ready to flee. This is called the “fight or flight” response. Basically, when we are in uncomfortable situations, we either fight back or fly away. But sometimes we can’t do either. 

There you are going about your day when you see that person. That one person whose presence makes your heart drop. It could be an ex, an ex’s new lover, an old friend, an abuser, etc. Regardless of who it is, their close proximity sends your body into fight or flight mode. Maybe you are filled with rage or flooded with fear. Either way, there is one thing in common- there’s nothing you can do about it.

If you unleash your anger on that person, then you run the risk of causing a scene or worse. If you give in to your anxiety, then you might miss out on something important. Either way, it’s a lose-lose situation. So you start to question why you ever left to house in the first place.

Have you ever heard of those people who have spent years without leaving their house? They are afraid to go outside, afraid to face the world. I used to feel sorry for those people, and I could not understand why they wouldn’t just open the door and leave. But now I get it.

I get what it’s like to want to stay inside hiding from the rest of the world. Personally, I would hide from people that have caused me pain. But I can’t hide forever. Eventually, I must face the world regardless of how desperate I am to avoid a few of its inhabitants.

Despite how bad that person made me feel, how much pain they inflicted, and how much anger I have towards them, Jesus died for them too. If the God of the universe can forgive me for all of my shortcomings, I can make peace with my enemies. Holding onto anger only hurts you. It may be difficult to see them at times, but God will be with you every single step of the way. 

“Forgive others as quickly as we expect God to forgive us.”