shutterstock_42110062Ephesians 4:26-27 (KJV)
26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:
27 Neither give place to the devil.

Recently, I had an experience with an individual that left us both disturbed. I believe that we both want to resolve a difference of opinion that we had. I was asked to give my opinion on a particular topic. Unfortunately, my opinion was not the one that the receiver expected to hear. That person became very angry, leaving me to wonder why my opinion was sought in the first place. Since anger is a universal emotion, I thought this Post would be a favorable spot to discuss it. My position: I was not going to lie and provide a positive assessment when I did not feel that one was due. These are the questions that I would like to discuss:

1. What could I have done to avoid the angry response that I received? Was there something in my presentation that fueled the angry response? If so, could I have sidestepped the issue, rather than be a participant in the disagreement?
2. Was I the cause of the angry response that I received?
3. How does one respond to anger in another individual?

The first thing that I decided to do about the situation was to pray about it. I went to God in prayer, asking Him to search me to assure that my behavior was not the cause of the problem. The Bible tells us to follow peace with all men and I desired to have peace in this situation.

Hebrews 12:14-15 (KJV)
14 Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:
15 Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;

When I went to God in prayer, He did not speak to me directly, but He spoke to me through the upcoming Sunday School lesson No. 11. My answer was found in the Bible Expositor and Illuminator, in the commentary related to Col. 2:9-10:
9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.
10 And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:

I’m going to quote directly from the lesson because it so clearly explained what I needed to know about anger:

Remember that humility is knowing who you are not. Jesus was despised and rejected, so you should not expect praise and appreciation; but love people, regardless of how you are treated. One of the facets of this is that you no longer need to be angry with anyone. Anger is triggered by expecting to be treated in certain respectful ways, and if you are not, you become offended. The problem is pride and a sense of entitlement. If you remember that you are complete in Christ, you can adjust your attitude and love a person who otherwise would have offended you.

“WOW!” I thought. “God gave me the answer that I needed concerning the other person’s problem which is pride. That individual felt offended because they expected me to give one assessment when I gave another.” Wait a minute! It’s so easy to see the fault in another individual, isn’t it? God quickly reminded me that when we seek Him for an answer, we have to be certain that we get what we need from His answer to make us a better person. A disagreement involves two people. Both share the responsibility for the outcome. Examining myself, I realized that I also expected to be appreciated for the answer that I gave. I was also shocked and amazed when the response to my answer was different than what I expected. Therefore, pride was the root of my problem too. *Gulp*

Proverbs 16:18 tells us that Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.

Proverbs 16:32 also says He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.

According to Proverbs 15:1 (KJV) A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.

So, here are the answers to the questions that I posed earlier.

1. What could I have done to avoid the angry response that I received (triggered)? Was there something in my presentation that fueled the angry response? If so, could I have sidestepped the issue, rather than be a participant in the disagreement?

Option A: I could have been more perceptive in this situation. Anticipating that my assessment might not be well received, I could have avoided giving a response. I could have just said, “no” to the request for an assessment.

Option B: Even if I gave an answer, perhaps it could have been softer. We must always be truthful in our response to others, but we should avoid being hurtful, if at all possible.

Option C: Sometimes the truth hurts; we have to be wise enough to know whether or not the individual is really able to receive the truth (as we perceive it). The truth of this option was proven the next day. Another individual requested an assessment and my response was equally as thorough and critical as that given to the angry respondent. The second individual gladly received the assessment, made the suggested changes and left the experience appreciative rather than angry.

2. Was I the cause of the angry response that I received?

Option A: Probably. Since I am so accustomed to having my assessments received in a positive way, perhaps I was a little pompous. (Gotta watch that pride thing. Pride caused Satan to be kicked out of heaven and can infect us all if we are not careful).

Option B: Maybe not. Perhaps the individual had other issues that caused her response. I can only fix my issues (spelled Fix-Me-Jesus) and pray for the issues of others.

3. How does one respond to anger in another individual?
Ans: It depends on how the anger manifests itself.

Option A: When the person is angry, but non-combative. Don’t argue. If the person is willing to talk, stay calm and hear them out. They may just need to be heard. Make sure that they understand that you value them as a person. You are assessing some external object or work, not them. Seek to understand their point of view more than having them understand your point of view. Do everything in love. If you cannot resolve the issue immediately, let it rest. Sometimes a little time or distance is needed to get over a stinging situation. If they are saved, God will work it out.

Option B: When the person is angry, and losing self-control. Maintain a posture that does not intimidate. Pray. If necessary, RUN! (Just a hint of humor. Christian relationships should never collapse this far. But just in case it does…Pray and RUN FAST!) God bless.

6 Comments

  1. Interesting. Just when you think you have people figured out, you find out there’s more to learn. Some years ago, a lady asked me at church a question about work. She didn’t like the answer and became very upset. I couldn’t believe it. I don’t mind answering questions about retirement and disability benefits on my own time, but now I am more prepared for unpleasant responses such as “Why do I have to tell the government about all my income? It’s none of their business!” Okayyyy…..

  2. Thank God for His grace! One thing I’ve learned is whenever I have “bumped heads” with someone, God had something for both parties to learn. That’s the key, I believe. Learning from these experiences what God would have us to know, even if the other person refuses to acknowledge anything. Question 2, option B works for me. I’m all for trying to communicate differences for a positive outcome, but I refuse to get into an arguement. It’s just not worth it (learned by experience). One scripture I love, For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged (1Cor 11:31). God has given us the grace to get better, not bitter.

  3. This was an excellent read and help shine light in some of my own past experiences. . Thanks for the words of wisdom..May God continue to bless you and yours.

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