Untamed Emotions, Nasty Manipulators and Michael J. Fox–Why we must guard our hearts.


back to the future

I grew up with three sisters and two brothers. The youngest one barely survived because the rest of us

  • messed with his mind.
  • played his emotions like he was some kind of computer game.

Oh, I’m sorry. Maybe you were an angel growing up. Perhaps your halo is glowing with virtuous pride this very moment.

Well, think about this. Maybe those fancy wings on your back knocked a few old grannies in the face when you walked down the street.

Come on. Get real. We all do stuff we regret.

Now, about my brother. I must refer to him by his fake name -Michael J. Fox. That way, his privacy is protected and his love for Back to the Future movies is acknowledged.

And, seriously, I’d love to say that say that anything and everything I’m about to relate to you is utter nonsense made up in the middle of the night after watching Nacho Libre.

But, it’s not. Made up, that is.

When my brother was barely school-age we bossed him around all the time. 

“Michael J. Fox, go get my book off the shelf,” I often said as I lounged on my bed.

“Buy me a candy bar at the corner store,” one of us would demand when we had some spare change.

It was Michael J. Fox do this and Michael J. Fox do that.

But, that’s not the worst of it. One evening, I  decided to make him cry. 

“Hey, J.,” I yelled from the living room, “Get in here. I want to tell you a story.”

Michael J. Fox ran into the room and plopped onto the couch. His fine blonde hair shone like the golden ticket from the book Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. His eyes blazed with wonder and anticipation. 

“It was the war of the worlds,” I explained to Michael J., “Every town everywhere was a battleground. Soldiers came and took your whole family away. You were playing the back yard. When you came in for a drink of water, they were gone.”

As M. J’s eyes got bigger and bigger I described how he searched for his family. Day after day. I told him about how he fought in the final battle. His team won. 

“When the smoke cleared,” I said as Michael J. now leaned against me in a state of emotional exhaustion, “You climbed the hill when your family was supposed to be waiting for you. There, you looked around. Everyone was gone. You were all alone. Forever alone.”

My brother cried.

For just a second, I felt powerful. Then, I looked away. Even a kid like me knew when she had crossed the line.

Emotions are a powerful force. When reason fails to convince us, an appeal to our emotions can sway us.

The question is, how can we keep our head on straight in an emotional world?

“Above all else,” said the author of Psalms 4:23, “guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.”

We must consciously protect what we know to be  true by questioning our feelings to see if they are in line with God’s truth.

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