Last summer 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). So 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, changing me 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.
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. That was my 1st mistake - assuming what she was going to say and not letting God work. 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 denied that adamantly and I felt wasn't letting me talk. So I harshly told her to "Shut up and let me talk!" Oh my, what a disaster.
I found out later she was coming into the conversation wanting 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 peace 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.
However, 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 on occasion but the Holy Spirit strengthens me and empowers me to treat my family with respect and quietness.
Have you ever experienced, as I just relayed, 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.