Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. -Ephesians 4:2 (NLT)

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. -Colossians 3:13 (NIV)

You know the feeling…that slippery slope when someone or something has broken the camel’s back…when the line has been crossed. You can feel yourself giving in to the temptation of being nasty, short, or downright ugly…and you give in.

In the Star Wars science fiction movies, there is an evil leader called the Emperor, and he delights when Luke, the hero, gives in to the Dark Side: hatred and rage. The Emperor would say, “Good…let the hate flow through you.” Luke’s been worn and beaten from relentless attacks, and isn’t composed or thinking straight any more, so he gives in…at least for a few moments.

Satan, like the Emperor, is delighted when we’re worn down and give in to the dark side. But God is the one whose grace we need to channel and flow through us…if only we’d stop plugging up the grace He freely offers us!

More than likely, it’s not just the immediate situation that’s beaten us down, but it’s the sum of everything that’s been wearing us down for some time. When we recognize this is happening, we can step back and take a deep breath…then breathe out the stress.

When you feel yourself on the edge of the slippery slope–or even if you’ve already started down it–close your eyes and take a deep breath. Let God’s grace and love flow through you, and you’ll find the spiritual and emotional struggle is only on your shoulders until you surrender it to Him!