A Premeditated Response
Have you ever lashed out in anger? I have more times than I would like to admit. It’s so easy to want to speak your mind when you get your feelings hurt, you feel disrespected, or threatened. I am pretty good (or bad, depending on how you look at it) with words in arguments. It is because of this I normally shy away from confrontations. I know how damaging words can be, I have been crushed by words spoken to me and on the flip side I have hurt people I love saying things out of anger and hurt. There have also been times I said something that got misinterpreted. My heart was in the right place but I didn’t consider how it would sound from the other person’s point of view. As Christians, we must be so careful how we respond to those around us. We are the only Jesus some people may ever see. It is so important to be spirit led. Let me be honest, this is easier said than done.
The bible talks about anger.
Ephesians 4:26-27 NKJV
26. Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath,
27. Nor give place to the devil.
I love the message version of this verse.
Ephesians 4:26-27 MSG
Go ahead and be angry. You do well to be angry – but don’t use your anger as fuel for revenge. And don’t stay angry. Don’t go to bed angry. Don’t give the Devil that kind of foothold in your life.
I have found a couple of basic tools I use every day (yes, I need them every day) to ensure a graceful response when angered. Here are a few of those tools. I am happy to share them with you.
When angered take a minute, hour or even a couple of hours to respond. It is perfectly fine to tell someone you will have to get back to them with a response. Don’t take much longer than a couple of hours. One: You need to have the conversation fresh in your mind. That being said you will want to be cooled down if you got angered by the exchange. Two: You don’t want to go to bed angry. You won’t end up sleeping well if you are upset. Trust me I can vouch for this. I have noticed when I take a moment to respond it always changes the response. I know my volume goes down quite a bit, that’s for sure.
Ask yourself why?
Why are you so upset? Unpack your feelings. Are you hurt? Insecure? Disappointed? Stressed? Be sure you know what you are feeling and have a game plan before you address the issue with the person that upset you. You don’t want to tell someone they hurt you only to find out later you misread your own feelings. Also be sure you know who you are upset at. Many times, I’ve been upset with someone or something and took it out on those around me (Most often my poor husband)
How would you want to be responded to?
If you hurt someone’s feeling how would you want them to respond? We have all said things to hurt someone’s feelings and probably will again in the future. I wouldn’t want someone I offended to say nothing and go on being upset. I also wouldn’t want them to blow up on me in anger. Wouldn’t you love them to come have a calm conversation with you about the issue? I know I would.
Do to others as you would have them do to you. Luke 6:31 NIV.
Have God proof read your response.
Get alone with God. Often this can be as simple as walking into the next room. Talk about your hurts. Tell him how you feel. Rehearse your response. Ask for wisdom, direction, and understanding. The response he would have you give isn’t usually our first choice. Be prepared for that. God may not talk to you in an audible voice. He will however, give you peace with the right response.
I am just crazy enough to believe most people want to live in harmony with those around them. I believe the problem most of the time is that we don’t practice our responses. If we leave it up to chance we will most likely respond negatively. We must plan ahead. Prepare in advance to give the right answer to hot topic issues.
Check this out: Pro basketball players don’t just wake up one day and sink every shot. They practice day in and day out. Many times, they miss more shots than they make. It doesn’t matter how many years they have been in the game, players still practice for hours before heading out to the court . Even with practice every day, shots are still missed each game. No one is perfect but we can all try our best. The same goes for our response to things that make us angry. We must adjust our shots. We must practice being a Christ follower and acting Christ like. There will still be times we shoot and miss. Thankfully God has grace for times like these. After those times, we fail to respond gracefully, we need just ask forgiveness. Go back to the drawing board (The Bible is a great place to start) to create a new response plan. Let the spirit lead you. We will be as successful in this area as we plan to be.
Be Blessed my friends,