If someone steals your wallet, you feel anger. If you come home after a much-deserved vacation and discover your house has been ransacked and burglarized, you feel violated and angry. If someone says something insulting to a member of your family, your anger may be so intense that you want to punch that person in the mouth. These are all understandable emotional responses.
You would hardly be a responsible human if you allowed these events to pass as if nothing had happened. However, we are also capable of doing irreparable damage to ourselves while we’re intent on attacking others. The missile of anger and hate that we launch will return to us every time.
Here are four useful ways to rethink your situation when you start to get angry:
1. Be your own person. Even if your anger has festered for yeas, you don’t need to let the actions of others dictate how you feel. Determine what you want out of the encounter. The old idea of counting to ten is still a good rule of thumb before saying anything at all. It will give you time to think about the situation and your response.
2. Don’t intimidate, and don’t be intimidated. Isaiah 1:18 says, “Come now, and let us reason together.” What a great idea. Be assertive by asking the person to be reasonable in your debate, even as you promise to return the favor.
3. If the shoe fits, wear it. There may be times when you will be confronted with the truth, but you may not want to hear it. That’s when your defenses may rise up like a ten-story building. Again, take a moment and listen to what’s being said. If you need time to think about it, say so. Then ask God to give you the courage to accept the truth and confess your fault if necessary.
4. Practice intentional kindness. God’s Word says that a kind word turns away anger (Prov. 15:1). Think of something positive to say to the person — even if it’s, “I hear what you are saying, and I need to take your comments seriously.” Take the offensive in praising the accomplishments of others. Edify those with whom you work and live. Tell them when they do good work. Anger and honest praise have difficulty living together. Be known as someone who sees the best in those around you.
SOURCE: Chapter 3: “The Poisons of Anger, Fear, and Guilt” in How to De-Stress Your Life by Gregory L. Jantz, PhD., founder of The Center for Counseling and Health Resources Inc.
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