I originally wrote this post as a guest post for my friend Kristie's blog. Now I'm sharing it with you. You should definitely go check out her website :)
There is such a thing as godly anger. Godly anger is anger towards the things that break God's heart. It's anger towards bullying, injustice, and cruelty. You aren't necessarily in the wrong just because you are angry. What is wrong, however, is letting your anger make you cruel. You can be angry, but still be kind. You cannot, however, be cruel and still be kind.
CrueltyCruelty comes when we feel we have a right to be hateful because someone has wronged us. Cruelty can be as brazen as murdering someone to pay them back for their wrongs, or it can be as small as personally attacking your husband because he didn't clean the house like he promised.
We tend to feel that we deserve justice for every wrong committed against us. But God says justice belongs to Him (Romans 12:19). We are not to become cruel in order to get what we feel we deserve.
Cruelty says, "God isn't in charge- I'm in charge". Cruelty says "I don't care how I make this person feel. I want to hurt them, because they hurt me". Cruelty says, "I am the most important person around. How dare anyone hurt me".
Cruelty has a way of turning us into selfish monsters who forget that we make mistakes too.
Turn It AroundIt may sound cliche, but turn the situation around. How would you feel if people were cruel every time you made a mistake? What if they gave no grace? Maybe you didn't mean to do wrong- maybe you were truly sorry. Regardless though, if no one showed you love and grace when you did wrong, you wouldn't think it was fair. You'd expect them to change their tune a bit, wouldn't you? I know I would! And that's because there is something inside all of us that tells us that grace needs to be a part of our lives. We know that without grace, we would be lost. And so when we do wrong, we hope and long for people to forgive us, let it go, and give us another chance.
Channel Your AngerSo what do we do when someone does make us angry? How to we handle it in a way that pleases God, but also solves the problem?
I believe that the answer lies in real, solid communication. First of all, communicate with God. Ask Him to help you forgive the wrong. It may even be necessary to ask that He help you want to forgive the wrong! I've been there many times!
After giving the issue to God, we should communicate with the person who has made us angry. Sometimes, this won't be feasible- like when we are mad because a random person flipped us off in traffic, or when the person we are angry at has passed away. But most of the time, we still have the opportunity to talk it out (calmly and kindly). And that is what I believe we should do.
It Doesn't Matter...Kind OfYou wanna know a secret though? Sometimes, that conversation won't go well. Sometimes that person will be rude to us about our honesty. Sometimes, they'll storm off. Sometimes, they will say they hear us and will do better, but then they won't actually make the effort.
As frustrating as that is (and I'm still learning this myself), it doesn't really matter what their response is. Our responsibility is us, not them. As long as we are honest, real, and kind, without a hint of cruelty, we've done our part. We've done what's right.
So next time someone makes you angry, don't beat yourself up over your anger. Anger isn't wrong in and of itself in most cases. Instead, be very aware of how you channel that anger, and avoid cruelty like the plague.
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