July 23, 2010
When Love Trumps Anger
"My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires" James 1:19-20 (NIV).
Friend To Friend
"I'm a terrible mom!"
Do you ever say these words? I do. I just did.
I was working in my office, minding my own business, when my oldest son threw a paper airplane at the back of my head. Not one to normally welcome an air attack, I gave him the stern "mom voice," and asked him to stop messing around and give me some private time so I could get some work done. He agreed, and turned to leave. Surprisingly, he then jumped around and threw it at me again! Well, let me tell you, my grace-o-meter was reading pretty low at this point! I barked like an angry dog. "What in the world do you think you are doing? I just told you that I needed to be left alone so I can get some work done! Stop it!"
"There's a message on the plane," he tenderly replied. "Read it, mom!"
As I unfolded the airplane made of orange construction paper, I saw this message written in pink marker: "I Love You."
"Nice!" I said to myself. "Loser-mom strikes again." I had scolded my son and reacted out of frustration with an unkind tone. All the while, my son was trying to communicate love to me.
I felt horrible … so, naturally, I started to beat myself up.
But as shame tried to fill my heart, the Spirit of God within me gently nudged - reminding me that condemnation is not from Him ... that His conviction was purposed to spur me on toward choosing a godly response. So I chose love - God's love alive in me. As I chose God's better way, His love trumped my anger. It's weightier. Praise God!
I called my son back into my office, and apologized for my behavior. I welcomed this tall, lanky teen to sit on my lap and told him that - while I'm not fond of airplane attacks, especially while I'm working, I am fond of love attacks. We held each other and had a very sweet moment.
As I held Preston, God reminded me of this principle: When we allow His love to trump our anger, we are able to experience restoration in relationships.
"My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires" (James 1:19-20 NIV).
The Bible tells us that we are to be slow to anger. It is a lesson that I am still learning. Now, that doesn't mean we should never be angry. Jesus exhibited righteous anger in the Jerusalem temple when he drove out the merchants that were buying and selling there. Righteous anger is permissible. We should be angry about sin and injustice. But when we respond to others in anger, it becomes our sin.
Got any relationships that are in need of restoration? Is there any anger, unforgiveness, or bitterness in your heart that might be gaining a stronghold in your life and keeping you from God's best? The benefits of allowing the love of God to trump the anger in your heart are tremendous, but the application can be very challenging. We can't overcome our natural, sinful tendencies to react, and overreact, in anger alone. We need God's help. His strength will meet us at our need when we call on Him. The Holy Spirit will help us to respond in God's strength, not our own.
Call on His strength today.
Holy Father, I need Your help! I confess my anger/bitterness/unforgiveness right now with _______________. Please forgive me. Please bring restoration to the relationships that have been affected by my anger. Help me recognize when I over-react or when I respond in anger that is ungodly. Give me the strength to respond in love, so that You can be glorified through my behavior.
In Jesus' Name,
Now It's Your Turn
Do you need to trade anger for love? In what relationships? How?
Ask God to bring a fresh awareness to your soul each time you react in anger.
Are you in a Bible study? Knowing God's Word is essential to growing in faith. Join a local Bible study today, or begin reading a book of the Bible on your own. Try James!
More From The Girlfriends
I'm a very passionate person. When my kids were little, I over-reacted far too often. And although God has been working in my heart for years on this issue, I humbly confess that anger still comes much too easy to me. If you struggle with this, you are not alone. Need prayer? Let's meet on my Facebook page - www.Facebook.com/GwenSmithMusic - to PRAY for one another today.
NEED HEALING for some heart wounds? Got a friend going through a difficult time? Gwen's book, Broken Into Beautiful, takes the reader by the hand and shows her how God delights to transform lives. To order the book, go to Amazon or, for a signed copy, go to Gwen's website: www.GwenSmith.net.
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