Monday, October 25, 2010

Cleaning Up the Fallout of Anger

This week on the radio broadcast I’m talking about anger, and that set me to thinking about the fallout of anger. For example, when anger gets control, spiteful words spurt out, and those words fall out onto someone. And that someone is often a person we love or spend a lot of time with. The angry words we say may even be true, but they don’t land very kindly. That leads to hurt feelings and damaged relationships. What should we do about the words we can’t take back? Does it help to apologize?

Often, I feel like just letting the situation calm down with time, and over time I can forget about it. But what about the other person? Can they forget about my unkindness so easily? But if I broach the subject with them, doesn’t that just open up the wound again? What is the right way to handle it?

The Bible says that we should speak the truth, but it must be done in love. When I’m angry, usually the love part is missing in my remarks. Actually, this can give us an opportunity to explain why it is necessary to apologize. As we ask the person to forgive us, we can explain that we knew we did not speak in a loving way and that is wrong.

I always need to be sure I don’t start explaining why I said what I did, becoming defensive. I need to make it a true apology. The other person’s behavior is not my responsibility; I am responsible to right the wrong that I have done, regardless of the offense I may have reacted to.

Maybe you face situations like this too. What is the biblical approach to take?

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