This week was our second week in our Battlefield series about relationships. This week we talked about our response to anger.
Conflict between friends, family, and enemies is going to happen. While we should work to be peacemakers, if a conflict is unavoidable, we have to find a way to disagree without being so dysfunctional. At the root of almost every reaction to conflict is anger. You can't control people, but learning how to respond to them may be the very thing that saves your sanity and relationships. Proverbs is a book filled with great advice and honest insights. Even though the author, Solomon, was wise he didn't always do the wise thing. Solomon writes, "Fools give vent to their rage, but the wise bring calm in the end." I bet there were a lot of times Solomon gave full vent to his rage. And he could do it because he was king. It doesn't really matter if you can get away with anger, in the end, you can't get away from the consequences anger creates. The foolish are led by their rage. The wise feel angry but don't let it lead them. There are four things you can practice immediately that will make you better at conflict right away:
Pause: Take a few minutes to breathe and allow the initial anger to lose its power. Respond to the situation, don't react.
Identify: Sometimes we misdirect our anger at someone else and we never take the time to actually figure out what is bothering us. Try to get some perspective and see what is actually frustrating us or making us feel angry. Sure, you may be mad at your mom for being late to pick you up, but maybe that anger is compounded by a rough day at practice. Identify what is really bothering you.
Express: Once we identify what is bothering us we have to be able to healthily express that. Communicate what is making you feel angry in order to be able to deal with it.
Release: Eventually you have to let it go. If you try to respond in a healthy way and nothing feels resolved the way you like it, you may have to come to terms with it and let it go.
You don't have to learn the hard way. Instead, you can put in the hard work now of controlling your response, and reap the benefits now and later.
The Bottom Line
Our response to anger can keep us out of danger.
Fools give full vent to their rage, but the wise bring calm in the end. - Proverbs 29:11 NIV
Continue the Conversation at Home
- What makes you angry?
- When you are angry, how do you tend to respond? Rage? Distance yourself? Denial?
- Why is it a good idea to pause before you act in anger?
- Name two healthy ways you can express anger.