Our theme for this month: “Changing the tone of the conversation”
Our Bible verse for today: “My dear brothers and sisters, understand this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger, for human anger does not accomplish God’s righteousness.” James 1:19 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “You are responsible for how you respond.”
I have a workbook I often use in counseling sessions when I’m working with someone who has anger management issues. It’s called, “The Anger Workbook: An interactive guide to anger management” by Les Carter and Frank Minirth. It’s actually a good study for all of us. It isn’t only those people who tend to lose their temper who have anger control issues. Anger takes many forms and is expressed in many ways – it’s not just explosive or forceful. We all experience anger and we all misuse it from time-to-time.
One of the lessons the authors teach is that anger is a choice. There is no valid “The devil made me do it” excuse. It’s not the other person’s fault. Nobody can “make” you angry. You have to choose to allow yourself to get angry. There’s a lot of truth to the old saying, “You can’t control what other people say and do, but you can control how you react to what other people say and do.”
When you allow other people to determine your emotional state you have in effect become a puppet on a string. You have granted the other person access to your mind and heart and you are allowing them to control your emotional state based on the things they say and do. Whenever you allow someone to push your buttons you have surrendered control of your emotional state to that person. You are no longer the one in control.
A mature Christian learns to maintain positive control over their emotions. You don’t allow others to jerk your chain or to push your buttons. You and you alone decide how you will react to any given situation. This is especially important when you’re in conversation with someone you disagree with about an important or sensitive issue. Such conversations can easily get heated, and soon you can find yourself responding in anger or frustration rather than in a controlled and reasonable manner.
In James 1:19 the Apostle cautions us to pause and think about what a God-honoring response to this other person would be. Don’t respond by immediately firing off a return volley. Think for a moment, count to ten if you have to. Take the time to prayerfully consider the God-honoring response, and then make a good choice that will help to make the situation better.