“My dear brothers and sisters, be quick to listen, slow to speak,
and slow to get angry. Your anger can never make things right in God’s sight.” (New Living Translation)
I notice that I am having a hard time thinking the best of other people. If something is missing, I automatically think someone else stole it or lost it–the nerve of them! I get totally furious. Then, later on the missing item turns up unexpectedly in a place where I remember putting it. Mmmmh, looks like I am the one who is at fault, again. I got angry with someone who was totally innocent.
Does this sound familiar? If you often experience unreasonable anger at other people and blame them for everything, have you ever considered that you might be angry with the wrong person? Maybe you’re really angry with yourself or even God?
For example, we can be mad with ourselves because we made a bad decision that can’t be easily fixed or that causes us discomfort. But, instead of taking responsibility for our own actions, we just blame someone else for our problems. That’s the easy way out. It prevents us from seeing our own faults and weaknesses and dealing with them.
The really frustrating instance is to be mad at God. Since we are not God, we can’t do anything about the circumstances He has allowed in our lives but go through them. Has God ever asked you to be around people you would rather avoid or to serve when you would rather take a break? Or, maybe you’ve experienced this one–paying for someone else’s mistakes.
Trying times like these reveal our level of maturity in Christ.When we are willing to die to our own will, feelings and opinions and take up the cause of Christ we are really mature Christians who can be used by God to help others. This is what we all want, of course, but what do we do when we find out through our own bad attitudes and behavior that we aren’t as mature as we thought we were? Here a few ways to grow up fast…
- Recognize that you are not perfect. Don’t expect that you will always have the perfect Christian response to every situation. This puts way too much pressure on you and sets you up for guilt and condemnation.
- Delay your response to an upsetting situation or person.Give yourself some time to think before speaking or acting. An impulsive response is often an immature response.
- Pray for guidance before you confront a person or address an issue.
- Turn your weaknesses over to God. God’s strength is made perfect in our weaknesses. When we feel we are at the end of our rope, God will take up the slack.
- Develop a strategy. Identify the people and situations that tend to irritate you or make you angry, and then plan an appropriate response in advance. Aggravations are bound to happen again, except this time, you will be ready for them.
- Forgive yourself. If you have lost your temper or behaved badly, it’s okay-we all have. You are not alone and with God’s help you will do better next time.
Today’s Life Key: Accept responsibility for your behavior.