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There is a limit to how much we can put the cap on emotions. Rather than repressing (i.e. bottling up) negative feelings, it is better to resolve the conflicts that led to them in the first place. Below are a few tips that can help us overcome differences and end repression.

Remember that nobody's perfect: As Christians we should be able to overlook wrongs committed against ourselves, by simply recalling how many wrongs God has overlooked in us. But if this doesn't work, then there are other alternatives below.

Take grievances when necessary: Within our community any grievance can be dealt with (privately first, but then with the help of others if necessary) until it has been resolved. If you're willing to discuss the problem humbly, there is no need to bottle it up.

Be yourself: Living together seven days a week as we do, it's not possible to maintain the unnatural dress, language, and rituals of formal worship. So feel free to let your hair down and drop the religious acts that you would have to maintain in a churchy setting.

Accept your sexuality: One of the greatest areas of repression (especially amongst religious people) is sex. This is an area where some self control is essential; but unrealistic religious teachings about sex have generated guilt feelings in areas where there should be no guilt. By being open and honest about sexual matters, we have discovered that God's list of taboos (no sex outside of marriage, no homosexual relationships, etc.) is really quite manageable.

Hang out with honest people: Finally, there is the tendency amongst organisations (especially religious ones) to practise corporate repression, i.e. pretending that there are no tensions within their ranks. We Jesus Christians don't air all our dirty linen; but we do find that being open about some problems keeps us from getting an inflated opinion of ourselves, and reduces the need for repression.

To sum up, we try to "speak the truth in love." (Ephesians 4:15) Try to be open about problems, but do so in a constructive way.

(See also Disagreements, Reprobate Minds, and When Relations Break Down.)

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