When is the last time you were angry with someone?
A family member? Friend? Spouse/partner?
Truth is, unless you have saints surrounding you daily, anger is a normal emotion to think/feel. We all have voices in our heads that push us to see and experience things differently, and sometimes those voices cause us to be in touch with our emotion of anger. There are many scriptures that tell us NOT to be angry. While that is the ideal, it is a human emotion. So what if we learn to manage that emotion, understand it, and then use it for good instead of malice and pain?
The people I have in my life, my best, closest friends, my children, my significant other, they each have times/experiences where they become angry with/to/for me. So, I took a straw poll, “tell me when it is that you become most angry with me.”
The answers were shocking.
I figured it would be things like . . . “when you tell me you are going to be somewhere and then 30 minutes later, I’m still waiting on you.” Or, “When we get in passionate discussions around work things and you won’t compromise.” Or, “when you are unyielding.” (I could go on – I had a healthy list of assumptions.)
None of those statements were true. In fact, I learned a lot by asking them the question.
Their answers all stemmed from love.
And I bet if you were to be vulnerable with those closest to you in your life, their answers back to you would stem from love too.
Those closest to me shared that they get angry with me when I “self-deprecate.” (It’s their favorite phrase, it seems). Or, they are angry when I don’t believe their intentions towards me.
I’ll never forget once, my loved one said, “Do you think I WANT to hurt you?
Do you think I wake up and think, ‘Wow! I want to stick it to her today!!!!!’ No! I would NEVER want to hurt you! I’m angry when you don’t believe how my heart feels towards you.”
Those words rendered me speechless, actually.
Their anger was not based on a list of “don’ts” but instead out of their deep love for me.
Anger is a real emotion that we each feel. But are we feeling it out of self-gain or out of love for someone else? What I learned in having these conversations with “my people” is that their anger towards me only stems from love.
That changes everything.
Love, as you know, changes everything.
One of the questions I ask in premarital counseling is “tell me what a good fight looks like.”
Sometimes they look doe-eyed into each other’s eyes, gently patting one another on the hand and say, “Ohhhhh, we never argue. We never fight!” That’s when I inwardly (and sometimes outwardly, depending on how well I know the couple, say, “Bullsh**! Every couple argues/fights. It’s HOW you argue/fight that matters.”
Other times couples own their stuff. They readily identify two or three triggers for them as a couple and we identify tools to help them work through their anger with one another.
Anger is our natural response to things that threaten us.
If we allow it to . . . it helps us share our concerns, prevents others from taking us for granted, and motivates us to do something positive. But it is up to us how we communicate our anger. Fighting out of love and fighting fair are both real, true things.
Some of the most beautiful words spoken to me recently were, “I love you so much that I’m going to fight with you til we get this right.”
That’s anger put to good use.
My life is richer for it.
How can you use anger in your life for good instead of it becoming a vicious cycle that gets you nowhere?
How can you make sure your anger is born from love?
Have some tough conversations today.
Ephesians 4:26-27 The Message (MSG)
26-27 Go ahead and be angry. You do well to be angry—but don’t use your anger as fuel for revenge. And don’t stay angry. Don’t go to bed angry. Don’t give the Devil that kind of foothold in your life.
You are reading a Musing Meditation by Andrea Smith, Pastor, West Church, Lake Norman, Mooresville, NC.
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