What ticks you off? Is it the crazy fast or slow drivers that seem to surround you on the road? When someone doesn’t appreciate or tries to take credit for the work that you do? The words that come from your least favorite political candidates? When your words or actions are taken the wrong way? The list of what seems to upset people anymore can include almost anything. Just turn on the news and you can listen to hours of discussion and arguments over what anyone did or said. The world is full of people who love to chime in with their opinion, solicited or not, about what they think of others, which often offends a whole new segment of the population. This is especially noted with comments on Facebook, Twitter, and other internet discussion forums. We have always been able to say things to offend others, now we can do it in a greater variety of ways. Blessings and Curses are now possible with the touch of a button.
“In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. Ephesians 4:26-27
A few days ago, I had several things happen within about 30 minutes that elevated my frustration level from normal to nuts and made me act in ways that I later regretted. I was trying to get several things done within a short time when I got a phone call from a person upset at me for something they failed to do. Afterward, I was trying to help my dad with some things and started a load of laundry, then found I needed more water pressure in another part of the house. I ran back, hit the shut off button on the washer, and finished my other project. When I returned, I found the water would not fill on the washer, and in fact, nothing worked. I later looked it over and tried for 30 minutes to figure out what was up, but concluded I must have broken something when hitting the shut off button earlier when frustrated. In hindsight, taking a few more seconds to do things calmly, may have saved me a couple hours of effort and a working washing machine. Maybe this is just a reminder from God, that my words and actions have consequences, and better a washer than a human damaged as a result. Have you ever used a little more force than you should when angry and ended up with more things broken than necessary? Or maybe the family pet was in the way or someone else was on the receiving end of harsh words when you were upset. We all know things can escalate quickly if we let them. How do we avoid getting to that point or beyond?
My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. James 1:19-20
If you have been married for more than one year, or in fact, if you have had any relationship that has lasted through the years, one of the likely components of your relationship is that you are not easily angered by the other person. If you are offended in some way, you at least must be willing to forgive them regularly. Unforgiveness in any relationship drives a huge wedge between you and eventually drives you apart. Unforgiveness brings up past hurts and offenses and uses them to justify retaliation and other hurtful actions. How easy is it for us to retaliate with harsh words and actions when we feel slighted, even by our spouse? Be quick to forgive, just as we have been forgiven, and avoid going down a road you will later regret.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. Matthew 5:43-45
So, with all the opportunities to be upset and angered that we face each day, what is our response? The world usually says you are justified with equally harsh words or actions. An eye for an eye is not justification for retaliation, but is a reminder not to respond with twice the insult given. Christ reminds us that murder starts with growing anger in our hearts. We ought to recognize the early signs of this and be quick to forgive, before things get out of hand and we act out in ways that we will later regret. How about when you see others escalating an argument, is our role to play mediator or to help resolve the conflict? Sometimes helping others work out an issue instead of yelling at each other takes much work and patience, especially when everyone wants you to take their side, but tempering anger is usually better for everyone involved when all is said and done. Find a way, each day, to keep anger at bay.
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1
Strength and Courage in Christ,