Around 20 years ago, I stood in the Human Resources office at the manufacturing facility, listening to the irate voice on the other end. “You’re violating my rights! I served this country! I know what my rights are! I’m suing you and this company! You can’t tell me that I have to take a class!”
Livid, I responded, “THIS is exactly what we’re talking about. You have been sent there because you don’t play well with others. Your response to me now is the same as your response to many who try to work through a problem with you – yelling, screaming, throwing things…you’ll take the communication class and you’ll try to do what they tell you to do, and if you don’t, you’re not going to work here anymore.”
The conflict escalated. He screamed at me even more, and I could hear him throwing things in his office. I felt my heart rate increase, and anger and adrenalin coursed through my veins. I eventually said, “Again, THIS is what we’re talking about. You’ve already talked to your manager. I back him up completely. The choice is yours. I’m done here.”
I slammed the phone down and was so upset I was shaking.
The facility’s HR manager came out of her office, walked over to me, and put her arms around me in a gentle hug.
At first, I didn’t know what to do. I stood there, awkwardly.
Finally, I let go of the anger.
I accepted her hug.
I literally felt 100% of the tension drain out of my body.
She told me to breathe.
All felt well with the world once again.
She was a mature Christian woman. She told me we needed to pray for this man.
Honestly, that was about the last thing I wanted to do. I really wanted to yell back at him, explain to him how stupid he was, how immature he was, and just VENT some of that anger I had inside of me.
She was right.
At the time I marveled at her level of self-control and wished I was more like her.
What I didn’t realize at the time, was that it wasn’t self-control I witnessed that day, but rather a woman who deeply knew the Lord such that she could see this guy the way God did.
When we have a real, mature relationship with the Lord, it is evident in our lives. We literally don’t become angry like we used to…it just doesn’t happen, because we see circumstances and people the way He does.
James 1:19-20 reads, “You have knowledge of this, dear brothers. But let every man be quick in hearing, slow in words, slow to get angry; 20 For the righteousness of God does not come about by the wrath of man.” (emphasis mine)
Our anger is frequently SIN. Acting on it is almost always sin.
There is another way.
Proverbs 9 contrasts the way of wisdom and the way of folly. If you read the text, you’ll see that the “fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”
I’m thankful that now (while miles and miles away from great at this!) I have a better understanding of what it means to have relationship with Christ such that I have a peace that surpasses understanding, a majority of the time.
And I typically don’t raise my voice nor speak harshly to people.
And it’s absolutely NOT self-control.
And it’s nothing I’ve done nor can take credit for occurring.
It’s His love.
He helps me SEE.
He’s done a huge work in my life, and I’m so very thankful that I can see some changes in my own emotions and behaviors. And I don’t believe for a single second that I did any of it. I just had a willing heart, one that pursued and submitted to God’s authority, one that actively asked Him to help me figure it out. Because these things are the work of the Holy Spirit, it’s not a thing we can do on our own.
Dare you to join me… J
Heavenly Father, I pray that Romans 10:9 become true for us all, that we not only choose to believe in our hearts that God raised Christ (who was and is God) from the dead, but also that we confess out loud that Jesus Christ is Lord of our lives. Father, may it not just be words, but our hearts and our behavior lining up that demonstrates to a lost world that there is a way that is better, a way filled with peace, joy, and comfort. Lord, we cannot do these things on our own. Help us submit to You, God. Help us put down our control, our will, and may You change us. Give us the relationship we seek…help us figure this out…in Jesus’ name, amen.
Thankful you are on the journey with me…
Thanks for the grace while we were gearing up for the taping event last week – it was wonderful! 🙂 And we still have room in Daughters of Sarah if you are interested. You can email us at information(at) GreaterImpact.org for more details. I’m back to blogging 3-5 days a week, now that the taping is done. Sorry I couldn’t handle all of it and manage my personal life! 🙂
Love to you,