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Right now, almost everyone is angry. Some people are angry about having to wear a mask, others are angry that people aren’t wearing masks. There are people that are angry that masks are even a discussion topic. And that’s just one issue. Society is becoming more and more divisive. The number of issues seem to keep growing along with our frustration and anger towards those issues.
When Angry, How do We Respond?
It’s okay to be angry. We need some of that anger to drive change. If we aren’t careful however, anger turns into hatred and soon we become the people we say we disdain. Our decisions become erratic and our actions without pure intentions. And I get it. Sometimes our anger gets the best of us. We let it grow inside our hearts because it’s easier to feel anger, than to control it. But what good is an anger that controls us?
Even when we think we’re in control of how we feel, we may not be. When faced with bad situations, we often feel the need to respond. The Bible gives us guidance on the character traits we should have in all situations, including negative ones. With God in our hearts, we should exhibit: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23). Unfortunately, in instances of heightened emotions, self-control can seem like a weak option. We think – I have to say (or do) something right now. Maybe that thought is true, but sometimes, maybe not.
Self-Control Does not Mean Silence
When emotions start to cloud our vision, self-control is what allows us to press the pause button and create a plan. We can think through the next steps and their consequences. We can actively decide whether to engage, wait until later, or completely walk away. Honestly, I think self-control is empowering. It’s a character-building skill that allows us the space to choose how to respond. We can choose to not let someone else’s actions define us. We have the ability to not take the bait and lower ourselves to actions we will later regret. Self-control allows us to regain control of spiraling situations.
In addition, when God is the source of our self-control, we can take this concept even further. We can trust that vengeance is God’s (Romans 12:19) while still creating a space for accountability. We can rest assured in knowing that we are not alone in these situations. We can be at peace because we trust that God will guide us in our responses, and He will do what needs to be done on our behalf.
Adding God to Our Solutions
Right now, we are in incredibly trying times. Life can be difficult, but when you layer on pandemics, tragic world events, the increased stress at work and at a home, life can begin to feel incredibly overwhelming. We become more emotionally fragile. Our responses are more heightened, and self-control is a bit more difficult. When you feel like this, don’t let anyone misguide you. There is no lasting peace without God. No matter what you do, if He isn’t a part of the solution, you will always feel like you’re chasing a goal, but never arriving.
It takes growth in God to learn to let the anger go while still driving towards the necessary solutions. Growth does not come without change and change requires humility. Humility allows us to admit where we are wrong and seek with an open heart as to how to improve them. When we talk with God, we open up the stream of communication to hear what He has to say to us. We receive the Holy Spirit, who brings us comfort. We receive wisdom, forgiveness, self-control, peace, and so much more. It may seem pointless at times because we feel there is no God, or that He isn’t hearing us, but if you try, He will always answer. If you seek, you will always find Him. Put God to the test. Step out on faith, and let God handle the rest.
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