This past month I have been dealing with anger in my life. I want to respond calmly and rationally and instead I react. I need to listen and instead I speak words I can't take back. I feel like I have more failures than successes. As I was reading James this past week, I was reminded of how counterproductive anger really is. James 1;19,20 (Message) says "Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let your anger straggle in the rear. God's righteousness doesn't grow from human anger." Yikes!! Getting angry at my students or children may make them do what I want at that moment but doesn't grow God's righteousness in me or in them. I have been thinking about this and came up with a list of things that anger does not do.
1. My anger does not make me more right about an issue or situation.
2. Getting angry does not make me feel better. Maybe for a moment but then I feel bad and stew over what I should of done differently.
3. Anger does not make me a better listener. In fact, listening is the most difficult when I am angry.
4. Anger does not help make the other person understand me better. Communication done in anger usually causes more misunderstandings.
5. My anger does not make my students or children want to obey because they should obey. They may obey for awhile out of fear but there is not lasting change.
6. Anger does not have room for grace.
7. Anger does not bring peace to me or others around me.
8. Anger does not make me healthier. Instead it leads to bitterness which then can result in headaches, ulcers and other things.
9. Anger does not make others want to be around me.
10. Anger does not make me more Christlike or as James says it does not produce God's righteousness.
Writing this list has helped me think through the damage anger can cause. My prayer is that this week I will be able to listen first, speak second and most of all lean on God's spirit to give me the right words. I want God's righteousness to grow in me and getting angry does not accomplish that.
God, May I listen to your spirit. Show me how to deal with the frustrations of every day life in a godly way and to handle things that come my way with grace and truth. Only through your Son, Amen