Resentment, anger and bitterness in our heart gives Satan a foothold into our thoughts (Hebrews 12:15). He manipulates our beliefs until we think they are true. Then we fall – hook, line and sinker – for his lies.
The antidote for this dilemma is to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15-16), rather than to nurse our negative emotions and allow them to fester and putrefy our attitude and relationships. This way, we get rid of bitterness, rage, slander, malice and quarrelsome behavior.
God cautions us to speak wholesome words in our communication. They build up, rather than tear down, and they do not grieve the Holy Spirit. We forgive rather than to hold grudges or try to get even (Ephesians 4:21-32).
We also prevent our human penchant for arguing and misunderstanding by adopting an attitude that is quick to hear, yet slow to speak, slow to make assumptions, and slow to get angry (James 1:19).
People will treat and speak to us in ways that assuage their wounds from their past, or in the method that we train them to use with us through our reaction to it. If we allow abuse, it encourages people to manipulate us with it again.
Journaling our feelings allow us to use premeditated words to express our honest emotions (Ephesians 5:4). This prevents hasty words full of negative emotions, which put others on the defensive and fuel arguments.
God gave us anger to use to protect our self from abuse or danger. It is a red flag that something is wrong in our environment; but He cautions us to be slow to express this powerful emotion, and to guard against using it to sin (Ephesians 4:26).
Father God, remind us to use wholesome words in our communication of our feelings and needs to others. Even in the face of a verbal onslaught, we can state our feelings more clearly with firm, calm words, than we can with angry, irrational ones:
- “I feel afraid when you …”
- “I feel like you spend more time with …. than with me, and I need more of your attention.”
- “Thank you for your opinion, but I do not agree with you.”
- “It is no longer acceptable to me for you to do that (or to say that) to/about me anymore.”
- “I think that you misunderstood the meaning behind my words/actions. Let me further explain to you how I feel (or why I took that action).”
Father, remind us to stand up for our self without using coarse words or hiding behind fierce anger. We still make it known in no uncertain terms that the offensive behavior is no longer acceptable to us; however, we need Your help in order to respond with a confident, businesslike and resolute attitude. We praise You for Your perfecting work in us (Philippians 1:6-8).
Thought for the Day:
We cannot control another’s actions or responses towards us, but we can put distance between us and an abusive person; as we take a step back and look at their actions from a spiritual frame of mind, we can pray for them and also about our response to them, so we can speak firmly but kindly in the face of any imposition or attack against us.
– Romans 12:18; Proverbs 25:11, 22