May we give a soft answer, which turns away wrath, and avoid harsh words, which stir up anger. ~ Proverbs 15:1
A couple months ago I attended a Women’s Conference with other ladies from my church. One of the ladies in attendance has, in the past, been difficult for me to love (my sinful heart speaking here). I was anticipating the weekend being hard. On the other hand, I know God can transform hearts and I was looking forward to what God was going to do in me as he transformed me more into His image.
Within moments of arriving at the conference this sister in Christ spoke harshly to me and then said hurtful things two more times in the next day. Needless to say I was hurting and feeling vulnerable.
MY FIRST MISTAKE
When she asked to talk to me the next day I was defensive and expecting more of what I’d experienced the previous few days. Assuming what she was going to say instead of letting God work was my first mistake. The conversation started out on a sour note because I conveyed I was hurting and had tried talking to her about it earlier without any success. She adamantly denied my position and I felt she wasn’t letting me talk so I spat out, “Shut up and let me talk,” which only added fuel to the fire of misunderstanding and hurt.
I found out later she was trying to apologize for how she’d hurt me over the weekend. Because I let anger rule my heart instead of grace I damaged a precious friendship. We have since reconciled and are moving forward relying on God to help us love each other as He loves us!
God has been convicting me of my harsh words many times, particularly in the last couple years. I’ve prayed, asking him to help me speak peacefully to my kids and my friends. I’ve read books on anger. I’ve asked friends to pray for me and hold me accountable. But I really didn’t want to change! I enjoyed feeling hurt and reacting in anger. When a friend or one of my kids hurt me or inconvenienced me it felt good to yell at them or hurt them in return. Due to struggles with migraines and anemia I was tired A LOT and I blamed my anger on that. I felt entitled to being angry or to speak harshly because my family should know I’m feeling bad. They should treat me special and cater to me.
I really don’t think that’s how God wants me to act and think. His Son, Jesus, set the example for me to serve not BE served. When He was oppressed He didn’t open his mouth (Isaiah 53:7). That’s how I should respond when I’m hurt or tired and am tempted to get angry–with humility, with calmness, and a quiet answer. I still speak harshly to my children or my husband or my friends on occasion but the Holy Spirit strengthens me and empowers me to treat my friends and family with respect, quietness, and grace.
WHAT ABOUT YOU?
Have you ever experienced times when you just didn’t care if your emotions were under control?! I’d love to hear your story! My dear sisters, you are being prayed for today as you battle anger in yourself or in your children.
Throughout the day, pray the ten scripture prayers found at the end of the Anger chapter in Praying for Boys!
Jen is an “over the hill” home school mom to 4 elementary age kids ages 6-12 and the wife to a California dude for almost 16 years. She grew up in Southwest Virginia and loves living in the Blue Ridge Mountains. In addition to her “jobs” as mom, wife, daughter, and friend, she also works very part time as a Nurse Sonographer at the local pregnancy center. Her hobbies include reading, playing with her 4 blessings, and quilting. She also blogs at http://blessedwithfour.weebly.com/.
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