So recently I was scrolling through social media when I saw something that made me really angry. Honestly, this isn’t normal for me. I mean, I hear people talk all the time about how upset people make them on social media and I usually don’t get it. Talk about your politics, advertise your newest product, I’m usually pretty un-phased. I just scroll past, looking for pics of my friend’s adorable kids or for the funny stories my friends tell about their lives. For the most part, social media gives me joy not frustration. However, this post was different. Almost as soon as I saw it I went from being relatively calm into a pretty decent impersonation of the Incredible Hulk. I. Was. ANGRY. In my anger, I was ready to take action. This could not be tolerated. The situation was wrong and needed to be addressed. Thankfully, while I was going on and on about how this post shouldn’t have been made, my brother pointed out that most of the world was in bed, and there was nothing I could do about the situation until morning. That was kind of frustrating. Well, the night passed and morning came. In the light of day I began to see that there was really nothing I could do to change the situation that was angering me except pray and wait for God to address the issue. And then a funny thing happened. While I was identifying why the other person was wrong, what was causing them to make bad choices, and how they should have handled the situation differently, I felt the Holy Spirit say, “Why don’t we talk about the way that YOU reacted?” I. HATE. THAT! I don’t know about you, but too often in my life, right about the time that I think God needs to deal with someone else, the Holy Spirit wants to try to make ME a better person. (sigh) And yet, I have to admit that the Holy Spirit was right. Had my brother not been the voice of wisdom, I would have responded to a situation in anger rather than remaining calm and using wisdom to address a problem. Call it hormones, call it passion, give whatever excuse you want, but the truth is that the Bible calls it sin. I needed to learn to handle my anger differently (even if I don’t get angry very often). Proverbs 14:29 says, “Slowness to anger makes for deep understanding; a quick-tempered person stockpiles stupidity.” (The Message) James 1:19-21 says, “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. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.” (NIV) You gotta love James, because he says it just the way it is. No matter what the situation, as Christian women, our response is to be: —Quick to Listen (Get all the facts before we respond) —Slow to speak. (This is really hard when we have so much we want to say) —Slow to become angry. Why? Because God’s righteousness doesn’t grow from human anger. So I’m working on it. Along the way I’m learning that even though I can’t really keep myself from initially feeling angry when something is truly upsetting, I can control how I respond. (Ephesians 4:26) I can wait. I can pray. (I know this sounds super-spiritual, but practically, I’m learning that when I pray the Holy Spirit is able to show me things that help me handle every situation in life better.) Sometimes I need to get all the facts, and other times I just need to let God be in control. In every situation, I am learning that I need to control my anger and respond from godly wisdom rather than human emotion because this is the only response that allows the Holy Spirit to move in a situation. As a godly woman, I am called to be led by the Holy Spirit rather than anger. So I’m listening, and I’m learning and I’m trying to do better. I’m sharing this because I thought there just might be someone else out there who deals with this issue. Perhaps from time to time you feel angry. Rather than waiting, you want to respond out of your anger. Maybe it isn’t just sometimes—-maybe it’s all the time. Either way, I hope that my life lesson will help you to deal with your anger. One of the keys that I’m learning is that the best way to defuse anger is to move in slow motion. Don’t respond immediately. Give yourself time to calm down. Pray about a situation and maybe even seek godly counsel (not gossipy counsel—-godly counsel). Then respond from a place of calm, peace, and the dignity that is worthy of your calling as a daughter of God.
Choose to walk in peace and not anger. If you can’t handle social media—-take a break. I’m learning that sometimes the “unfollow” feature can be invaluable.
But mostly I’m learning to remember that I’m not responsible for the attitudes or actions of others. However, I am responsible for my actions and behavior. As a woman of God, I need to lay aside anger and respond from a place of peace and wisdom. Otherwise, I’m just doing foolish things and spreading the anger rather than being a peacemaker who helps bring resolve. This is who you and I were called to be.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Matthew 5:9
If you're looking for more tips to Overcome Anger, Read Finding Healing.