Relationships, Showing love

Breaking the Anger Cycle

margueriteBanana bread wafts from the kitchen. My three kids’ bellies are pleasantly full of the warm treat as the sun quiets its rays through sheer curtains. The smell of fall fills our home with hope for the new season. 

A piercing scream interrupts the sweet silence.

My youngest child’s pounding feet shake the floor as she screams, “Stop it!” 

“No, she did!” the oldest yells toward me.  

I sigh deeply.  Another day, another argument. 

Does your house sound the same? Maybe you don’t have young children, but you know these heightened volumes and tight chest all too well from your childhood or those closest to you. 

I used to join in and loudly demand the kids to stop and go to their rooms. Or even worse, I’d yell, “Don’t yell!” with no results. 

Through desperate prayer and time in the Bible, God reminded me of these wise words from the Old Testament book of Proverbs, 

“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1 NIV).

Now, we are putting this into practice. Instead of parenting from the other room, I walk to the room they are in, get down to their level, and say, “Gentle answer.” This is our reminder to stop, take a breath, and pray for help. We are allowed to check anyone in our home with this phrase. Sometimes we immediately change our tone and peacefully move forward, diffusing the situation, while other times, a calm-down break is needed. 

I avoid arguments, but those closest to me may experience my nippy words or harsh tone which demand my way. God’s Word says to be delicate in our response. 

Calm words turn away the burning anger within. My words and how I say them can either incite more anger or diffuse a situation. Often, hurt people want to shout everything that is wrong. This wise proverb says the opposite. Instead of spitting fire, we are to remain gentle and calm. Nothing good comes from one person walking away defenseless and weak, and another prideful and outraged. Calm words turn away the burning anger within. My words and how I say them can either incite more anger or diffuse a situation. Click To TweetGinnyQuoteAnger

God brings His peace into our frustrating situations, and we can trust that He will work it out for us. 

As I taste the sweet banana bread and sip my coffee, I reflect on the impact of words. Do they cause shame and accusation or bring life? Am I helping to shift an argument to a peace-filled conversation?God brings His peace into our frustrating situations, and we can trust that He will work it out for us. Click To Tweet

How are you responding gently to anger around you? Are your words and tone soft or harsh? What strategies can you use to make your answers more gentle?

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Meet Ginny Davidson!

Ginny Davidson's author headshotGinny is an overcomer, brain tumor survivor, wife, and mother boldly declaring God’s hope and peace. After completing her M.A. in Education from Grand Canyon University, she speaks so others can experience freedom from anxiety and life change. Whether it’s a conversation over a steaming cup of chai on her couch or sharing with a group at a retreat or Bible study, Ginny is compelled to share the message of the peace-filled life to a world of women plagued by fear. In the evenings she can be found outside with her husband and kids, attending dance parties around the record player in the living room, or highlighting a great book.

Showing love

Loving Those Who Drive You Crazy–Guest Post by Karen Wingate

Quote pulled from text with a woman praying

I’m not very good at this loving one another thing.

Jesus’ disciples implored him, “Increase our faith.” I cry out to the Lord, “Increase my love!”

The Bible says we are to love our brothers and sisters “deeply from the heart” (I Peter 1:22, NIV)). Love is to be sincere (Romans 12:9, NIV) or, as some versions of the Bible say, real or without hypocrisy. We are to love as Christ loved us (John 13:34, NIV).

Here’s my dilemma. As I grow in my own ability to trust and obey God, I find myself impatient with those who still struggle with faith and obedience. Yet Christ asks me to love those who offend me, diss me, act in unloving ways toward me, and whose foolish choices cause me to suffer consequences. How do I love the Christian brother or sister who repeatedly dabbles in the world’s ways? How am I supposed to show love to those who don’t seem to notice or acknowledge my efforts?

Then I remember – that verse about loving as Christ loves me holds the answer. How does Jesus love me?

He loves sacrificially. He gave without expecting anything in return. Loving as Jesus loves means I’ll stay in the same room with a grouchy husband, loving him.

He loves universally and unconditionally. He loves me no matter who I am, where I’ve been, or how far I’ve come. I’ll listen with loving patience to the incessant chatter of an overwhelmed mama of preschool children.

He bases his love on my needs, not on my deeds. Grace and love entwine to give me what I don’t deserve.

Like Jesus, I’ll love others intentionally, expecting no return on my love investment.

He demonstrates his love in tangible ways. His death on the cross is a highly visible expression of His deep regard for me. I’ll look for concrete ways to express love to those who need it but don’t deserve it.

He forgives me. He chooses to remove the magnifying glass from the things I do wrong. I’ll hang in there with someone who persists in dabbling in the world’s ways.

Perhaps the answer to my struggle to love is found in the disciples’ plea to have an increase of faith. Paul challenges his readers to have the kind of faith that expresses itself in love (Galatians 5:6). How much do I buy into the fact that Jesus released me from sin’s grip when He died as my replacement on the cross? That I don’t have to earn His approval? That His grace and forgiveness is a gift and I don’t have to cling to guilt or shame any longer? Am I filled with such gratitude for all He has done for me that I am willing to share that gift with others? And if the only way they’ll catch the hugeness of God’s gift is through a demonstration of how the gift works, would I be willing to do it?

Opting to love as Jesus loves becomes a two-pronged approach. First, I commit myself to a growing knowledge of and gratitude for the vast extent of Jesus’ deep love for me. Next, I take the risk to love others in the same way. When I accept how I have been loved and reflect it to others, I am fulfilling God’s call to love with a depth and sincerity that will make those who drive you crazy sit up and take notice.

Who needs a gift of God’s love from you? What loving actions will best speak to their needs?