Conflict is an inevitable part of life. When someone hurts us, anger is a common response. Yet anger is like a wildfire. If not properly handled, it will quickly barrel out of control and cause immense harm. In James 1:19-20 we are taught an important lesson on anger: “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.” Anger does not produce the righteousness that we are called to.
What are the most common responses to anger? Some of us rehearse in our minds exactly what we want to say to the person who made us angry, and even how we would deliver the message so it gets across how we intend. Other people take the rehearsal a step further and actually deliver the message, and perhaps physical blows. Both of these methods of coping can be harmful. While anger is identified as one of the “7 deadly sins,” it is also not good for your physical health. Anger has even been linked to heart disease and high blood pressure. Clearly, anger can be a very dangerous thing.
So, what is the answer to conflict and to anger? The reality is we can’t go through life without conflict. There are even times when anger can be justified. Even Jesus got angry at the moneychangers in the temple, as they made it a marketplace instead of a sacred place. But it is our response to our emotions that we must be careful about.
- It is important to not respond right away–rarely has a response made from anger been healing or productive. Find a constructive way to deal.
- Seek people concerned about the same issues. If your anger is caused by injustice, find a path to fight for justice.
- When someone hurts you, find a way to take care of yourself so that you don’t spiral into negativity and cause further harm to yourself. This could be going for a run, deep breathing, taking a boxing class, or talking to a counselor.
- Tell the Lord how you are feeling. He can take it. Ask Him how you are to respond, both internally and to the person who made you angry in the first place. With any conflict, the Holy Spirit can help us find a way where there seems to be no way.
Conflict is something I dread. Yet I’ve learned that conflict can be an opportunity. Instead of wallowing in anger and falling further from righteousness, our response to conflict can be a way to grow in character.
By seeking the guidance of the Holy Spirit in times of conflict, we can also grow closer to the heart God has for us and the person who hurt us. Instead of letting anger dictate our responses, let’s work on Spirit-filled healthy responses and watch how we grow in virtue.
Hello! My name is Lianna. I am 28 years old and live in Cleveland, Ohio. I am a Master’s student studying to become a counselor. My favorite things are traveling, learning other languages, singing, and journeying with others. I blog and hope to inspire others at sunflowersojourn.wordpress.com.