Practically everyday, we encounter a person or situation that tests our patience. I had just such a situation this weekend with a family member. I really felt like I was being wrongly accused of something and I was getting caught up in a maelstrom of anger, frustration, and hurt. You know how when you’re upset with someone else you start having conversations in your head of what you’re going to tell them (or at least would like to)? Welcome to my Sunday morning! I’m really glad there weren’t "thought clouds" hovering over my head because it wasn’t pretty!
19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.
Things to think about:
- When was the last time you got really angry?
- Was being tired or hungry part of the situation?
- Were you able to keep it together?
- Are there some people who just know how to push your buttons?
- What are the kinds of things that set you off more than others?
- People who show ingratitude, selfishness, an attitude of being better, won’t listen
- Situations where you are being overlooked, treated unfairly, taking the blame, not being listened to, lied to
- Does your temper usually win?
- Has this changed in the past 10 years?
- if it has changed (for better or worse) why do you think that is?
- Our verse says we should be quick to listen
- oftentimes our disagreements are really misunderstandings. “well, i thought you did that because…” “I thought the situation was like this…” “ I heard you said…”
- May times the best response is a question. “From your perspective, what happened here?” “Can you help me understand where you coming from on this?”
- it may come as a shock that what we thought were the facts may not be entirely correct or complete
- has this happened to you?
- We’re to be slow to speak
- kind of goes hand in hand with quick to listen. It’s pretty hard to have a lot to say when you’re busy listening
- two ears, one mouth - use them in that order!
- do you have a tendency to blurt something out before you have all of the facts?
- Take a deep breath and be slow to get angry
- in my situation, I prayed and tried to replace the “conversation I want to have” with the conversation Jesus would rather I have
- it occurred to me that this was an opportunity to exhibit some grace when I what I really wanted to do was air a grievance
- How does this approach change the dynamic of a volatile situation?
- The upshot in my story is that bridges were built not burned. After several hugs and a few tears, I learned something about my family member, myself, and the real-life transformational power of prayer
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