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Sep 15 2012

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Reacting to Someone Else’s Anger

angry call

She’s yelling at you. What do you do?

What do you do when someone is angry at you?  Maybe he’s insulting you.  Maybe she’s raising her voice?  Maybe he’s telling you off.  Maybe she’s accusing you.

The normal thing is to have a Fight or Flight response.  Either argue and defend yourself.  Or get away.

But neither of these solve the problem.  Does Scripture hold any keys for us?

Ed Welch from CCEF shares these insights:

Your preparation for a more effective confrontation is counterintuitive, as are most of God’s ways. Humility is the way of strength. Weakness is the new unstoppable force. “A gentle answer turns away wrath” (Proverbs 15:1). The cross of Jesus Christ changes everything. Satan himself – the angriest in all creation – is disarmed through self-sacrificial humility. The way to be a true human being, in all its strength, is now portrayed clearly in Jesus and is available through the Spirit.

For us, this path begins as we hold loosely to our desires. For example, most of us want something from the angry person – love and respect are high on that list. There is nothing wrong with wanting love and respect, but you would do best to shoot them yourself before the other person does. You will find that you won’t die. Instead, as you put to death the things that you want from the angry person, you will notice—perhaps for the first time—a hint of freedom and even boldness. When you have nothing to lose you can perform some unusual feats of strength.

Think about it. The angry person is screaming about how you are such an idiotic jerk, and if you aren’t as concerned with pleasing people or bolstering your own reputation, you can respond with something other than anger or fear. If the angry person’s pleasure or your own reputation is critical to you, you will be controlled by the angry person. So kill these before the other person shoots. The result is that there is nothing left to shoot….

Track the life of Jesus and you will see that he was never angry because of the insults and derision of the religious leaders. He never took the attacks of others personally. That’s what happens when you live to enhance the Father’s reputation, you empty yourself of any interest in your own personal honor and reputation, and you love other people more than they love you. That’s what happens when you know that your Father is the perfect judge, so you don’t have to be the judge pro tem.

When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. (1 Peter 2:23)

….Divest yourself of all the things you desire and cherish for yourself. Do you want love? Toss it and keep only the necessities, such as the desire to love. Do you need respect and understanding? It will only be an encumbrance. Get rid of it.

Move toward the angry person in love and humility. Fear runs away, anger attacks. Humility and love move toward. In a surprise attack they blindside angry people with weakness. Your timing will be important. Sometimes you can say something while the gun is aimed. Other times you will wait and speak later.

 Read more at http://www.ccef.org/how-disarm-angry-person

This advice may not be easy to follow, but the more we let Jesus be first in our live, the more He will help us to not be looking for what we need from other people.  Instead we’ll be receiving all we need from Him.  He will give us gentle answers to speak when we cannot possibly come up with them ourselves.

If you have someone in your life who is angry at you, pray for God’s wisdom and focus on how God meets your needs and fulfills you.

You can visit the Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/ccef.org?ref=ts

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