October 16, 2017

Anger is Toxic to Relationships

Written by Boyd Bailey

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – October 16, 2017

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.   James 1:19-21

Anger has a way of coming out of nowhere and becoming a relational wrecking ball. But does it really come out of nowhere, or somewhere more subtle, ready to ruin a perfectly good day? In an instant, a conversation can shift to a defensive, detrimental tone because anger is released like a wasp’s nest smashed by an intrusive shoe on its camouflaged burrow. Poisonous are the stings, causing an allergic reaction of unrighteousness. The best remedy is an EpiPen injection of humility to contain the reddened, swelling of pride. Anger is toxic to relationships.

Paul gives clear instructions on how to prevent pride from pouncing on people who want to avoid human anger and embrace what God desires—righteousness. A patient posture of listening is a highly effective deterrent to the destructiveness of anger. Instead of reacting defensively, “The reason I said what I said was…”, respond empathetically, “I’m sorry, it sounds like you feel really hurt’. Anger is diffused when it is rejected and replaced with patient listening. Put off pride and put on the humble word which is planted in our hearts, our salvation from anger’s harshness.

“Get rid of all bitterness, rage, and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:31-32).

Are you sometimes ambushed by anger, unable to see it coming? Perhaps you react in the moment with heightened emotions in a high pitched voice, instantly ashamed of your actions. If you find yourself in this unhealthy pattern of calm on the surface but simmering underneath, you can dig up the roots of pride with the shovel of humility. Identify the reasons for your anger: fatigue, rejection, feeling hurt or not getting your way. Instead of holding onto your hurt, release it with mercy and forgiveness. Speak forgiveness to another and ask forgiveness from a friend.

Be careful not to justify your anger as righteous, reserve this lofty level for the Lord. A high percentage of anger on earth has its origins in human sinfulness. Grace extends the fuse of your frustrations, so you do not easily blow up and ruin relationships. Kindness deflects the blow of harshness and patience excludes disrespect from the conversation. Like hearty Zoysia overtakes weeds, the good fruit of the Spirit is able to prune and replace the bad fruit of angry actions. Confess anger as a toxic agent to your relationships and process it with patient love and listening.

“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:22-24).

 

Prayer

Heavenly Father, grow my patient love and put off anger from my heart, in Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

Application

Who do I need to ask forgiveness from for my angry attitude?

Related Reading

Proverbs 14:29; Ecclesiastes 7:9; Matthew 5:22; 1 Corinthians 13:5

Post/Tweet today

Confess anger as a toxic agent to your relationships and process it with patient love and listening. #WisdomHunters #putoffanger

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