When tempers, anger flare, be prepared with gentle response

Anger is contagious. Angry people create more angry people.

In Proverbs 22:24-25, we are told “Don’t hang out with angry people; don’t keep company with hotheads. Bad temper is contagious — don’t get infected.” (The Message)

But what do you do if the angry person is somebody in your family? What if it’s your husband or wife? How do you deal with that? The Bible provides the answer in Proverbs 15:1. “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”

It is tough to fight by yourself. Some people will try, but you don’t have to fuel their feud.

Give them a gentle answer. Don’t let things escalate. But you need to understand that a gentle answer is not a sarcastic answer.

Gentle sarcasm is not helpful. A gentle answer may be softly spoken, but it is also given in humility. A gentle answer means I’m thinking about the other person in this moment.

I’m taking a step back to consider what that other person might need. In dealing with anger, there is an important phrase that most of us need to say more often — “I could be wrong.”

Be willing to humble yourself. Be willing to offer a gentle answer.

Another way to overcome anger is by learning to release your worries to God. Worry and anxiety often take us down a road that leads us straight into anger.

Anger and anxiety are closely connected.

Psalm 37:8 says, “Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret — it leads only to evil.”

Worry and anxiety often come out in angry words.

It might help you to understand what is behind the anger you feel. The next time you’re filled with anger, ask yourself, “What am I worried about? What am I anxious about?”

It is also good to ask this about the person who is angry with you. What are they so worried about? What are they anxious about? What’s going on in their life that has brought them to this angry place?

It is wise to admit that my anger is not the responsibility of someone else.

Your anger is your responsibility. Instead of blaming others, you need to take responsibility for your anger. If you don’t take responsibility for your anger, then the alternative is choosing to live with it the rest of your life.

Is that really what you want? Take responsibility for your anger and release your worries to God.

Next time we’ll consider two more ways to overcome anger and experience victory in this important part of life.

Steve Greene is the lead pastor at The Point in Seymour, You can email him at steve@gotothepoint.com.