Do you have someone in your life that makes your blood boil? You know, the kind of person that when you see their name in your inbox, you just immediately get angry.
In speaking to a group of moms recently, there was an overwhelming agreement that anger pops up most for them when someone wrongs their children. Moms react like a mother bear protecting her cubs totally fixated on the issue and not able to see anything else. Sometimes, the issue is raised in an email, and sometimes the issue is raised in person. Either way, we have to choose how to respond with our keyboard or with our mouths.
It’s a common battle to speak before thinking, because for most of us when a situation goes awry, the thinking instinct goes out the window.Any time we let our emotions control a situation, we step out of God’s will, and those children that we are trying to protect, are watching us to see how we handle the situation.
Anger, in itself, is not bad. It’s just an emotion like any other. The key is how we control it. Perhaps our speed is the key. James 1:19 tells us that we need to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.
Be Quick to Listen
When conflict arises, there is usually a certain point where it’s like you have cotton in your ears. You’re done. You have heard all there is to hear, and you don’t want or need to hear any more. Stop it!
We have to continue to listen.
Just like a recipe, we need all of the ingredients in order for it to work. In conflict, we need to know what is making this happen. What has been put into it that’s creating this result?
- Ask questions.
- Listen some more.
- Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and ears, and to shut your mouth (or stop your fingers from typing).
Be Slow to Speak
- Sometimes, it helps to go ahead and type up the response that you want to say….just don’t hit Send, choose to Save it.
- Let some time go by, 24 hours is usually a good period of time for emotions to cool and to think.
- Pray about the situation. Ask God to either resolve it, or to take away your feelings of anger. Ask Him to give you compassion and clarity.
- Seek godly counsel from a neutral friend. Note the “neutral” part. It’s easy to talk about it with people who you know will agree with you. Choose someone who has no insight to the situation.
- Chant out loud, “May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord.” This can be found in Psalm 19:14 and there is great power in calling on the Word of God verbally, (it scares the enemy).
Be Slow to Get Angry
Okay! You’ve successfully held your words, what then?
- Go back to that saved email response, and revise it in love before you send it.
- Meet with that person, and express your feelings calmly and rationally. Keep that chant in the back of your mind “May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord..May the words of my mouth and the mediations of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord.."
Words spoken in anger can’t be taken back. They can be forgiven, but they are rarely forgotten by the people who you speak them to or by the people witnessing the situation. Keep in mind that the ones we are trying to protect are watching us. How would we want them to respond?
Passages to Ponder:
James 1:19-20 Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.
Galatians 5:22-23 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
Ecclesiastes 7:9- Control your temper, for anger labels you a fool.
Psalm 19:14- May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.
Contributors: Karen Bromby, Jodi Dunbar, Michele Killion, Kim McClure, Brooke Radnor and Kristy Tolley