PUTTING OUT FIRES BEFORE BURNING BRIDGES
By Carolyn Dale Newell
”Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath,
Ephesians 4:26 NKJV
I hate confrontation, but her web of lies and deceit could not continue. Instead of responding with repentance, she hurled verbal assaults attacking my morals. My flesh came up with good artillery to shoot back, but I thought better. For once, I submitted to the Spirit with love and self-control, as I ended the conversation.
Was I still angry? Yes, but I did not sin. Did it guard the relationship? Perhaps, but it definitely gave me a clear conscience. Looking back on that day, there are no regrets.
When the sparks of anger arise, we can employ the “Stop, drop and roll” technique we learned as children in case of fire. It seems to work as well with the flames of anger.
Stop, pause and be silent. Drop the words of retaliation on the tip of your tongue. Roll, as they say, with the Spirit. Allow love to take precedence. Let gentleness emerge from your lips rather than harsh words which can never be taken back. Extinguish the flames of anger by expressing the fruit of meekness and love.
When we get mad, we have a choice. We can choose to react in the flesh, or we can choose to respond in the Spirit. When we walk in the flesh, we allow Satan to have a victory, and we dishonor our heavenly Father. When we walk in the Spirit, we please God, resist the devil, and send him running. The emotion of anger is not sinful, but the choices we make can be. As with all fire, we must make sure no spark remains to reignite. We must not allow any bitterness to take root. Speaking kindness into a volatile situation may not preserve the relationship, but it will protect us from sin’s ugly shame. Follow the Spirit and choose obedience.
Dear heavenly Father,
It is difficult in the midst of anger to act in a manner which pleases You. My flesh wants to lash out and go on the defense. Help me remember to Pause choosing my words carefully. Only allow the right words to come to mind. Thank You for forgiving my fleshy choices and for guiding me to Spirit-filled ones. Amen.
Read Ephesians 4.
HIKING THE TRAIL
What are some spiritual choices you can make the next time you find yourself in a dispute? Prepare a few well-chosen statements to recall in the moments you pause before speaking such as:
- I love you, and I refuse to argue with you.”
- “I understand that is the way you perceive things, but I feel…”
Copyright 2016 Carolyn Dale Newell.