This is what I learned:
Sometimes pre-teens can get confused by the onslaught of emotion they might feel in a certain situation. I believe maturity creates opportunity to feel things that are new and strange. Things like guilt and remorse, for example. Hormones most certainly play a role in this onslaught.
All these new feelings can be overwhelming and unpleasant. It might be wrongly assumed that to ease the misery, one must create conflict. What a crazy idea. Conflict can't bring peace. Where in the world would anyone get that idea? (Any thoughts Church Lady?)
Maybe if the miserable person can get you to lash out, suddenly the misery will be YOUR fault, not theirs, and they will feel better.
This never works.
The only thing that will bring peace is forgiveness and repentance.
The great thing is, forgiveness and repentance not only bring peace to angsty pre-teens, they also bring peace to irritable, cranky adults.
Along with this great insight, I also remembered that sometimes when you are about to make a really important decision in your life, when you are choosing the path of righteousness, shall we say, all kinds of opposition pops up that is specifically designed so that you will not have the Spirit.
The Spirit, as popular motivational youth speaker John Bytheway points out, is our only piece of offensive equipment in the Armour of God (Ephesians 6:13-17). Everything else, the shield of faith, the breastplate of righteousness and the helmet of salvation, etc., are all pieces of defensive equipment. The sword of the Spirit is for fighting. He pointed out that the adversary will do whatever he can to get us to lay down our swords, our only weapon. In other words, to put ourselves in situations where we can not have the Spirit of the Holy Ghost with us.
Contention and anger are just a few of the things that drive the Spirit away, so it's important that when we feel anger and want to lash out (because we all feel that way at some time) we quickly do the things necessary to get past those feelings (forgive and repent) so we can pick up our sword again in our fight off those fiery darts.
Forgiveness and repentance will bring us peace.
That is what I learned this holiday season.
Happy New Year!