Broken relationships, broken marriages, broken heads, broken hearts… all that fun stuff.
The question we should now ask is:
HOW do we change from being that irritable walking-H-bomb loser into the pleasant, unflappable *Mr Competent manager of any and every situation you come across? (*Place appropriate title at asterisk)
I mean in practical terms, in everyday life. How do we achieve that?
I wish I had a simple answer.
You see, it’s all very well saying “you shouldn’t do this” and “shouldn’t react that way”, or “just count to 10” or “the bible says: be slow to wrath” etc.
Yeah, we already know that!
But when you’re already stressed and under pressure, and your spouse not-so-gently reminds you that “the dishes need doing, darl!” when you’d already planned to do them once that stupid leaky tap stops blasting streams of freezing cold water in your face and screws on right.
You turn around and spit angry words at her, and she wonder why “you’re so grouchy today” and they react and you react back…ad nauseum..ad divorci-um.
…or the stressed-out Mum who’s had kids screaming in her ear all day, and spouse comes home demanding “Why isn’t dinner ready yet? Don’t you know it’s been a hard day at the office?”
And by the way, anger is not always a bad thing. (Ephesians 4:26)
God Himself has been pushed too far at times. Not often, but enough to know we don’t mess with Him!
I’m talking about just plain ol’ Bad Temper.
It’s quite easy for us to shrug and say it’s all the fault of our lamentable circumstances or our lamentable spouse or lamentable friend etc etc and say “I can’t help it if I’ve got a bad temper!”
The trouble is: Are we sure we can’t help it?
I heard once about a psychiatrist who asked a bad-tempered man (who claimed he “couldn’t help it”) if he blew up at his boss in the same way he blew up at his wife?
“Of course I wouldn’t! I’d lose my job!”
The psych made the point that in that case he could help it. His wife took his outbursts because she had no other choice (except maybe remove herself from him for good!)
He restrained himself if the boss did/said something unjust or irritable.
So now we know that we can help it – if we decide to do so.
It’s merely the fact that we’re naturally self-centred, sinful people that God loves and wants to change.
I know, because I’m a bit irritable myself at times.
Once we realize that (without being fatalistic about it) – it’s a good start.
It’s called “walking in the light” i.e. honesty. (1 John 1:7)
Then we at least have to be willing to change.
But now that we’re motivated to change, it still doesn’t help us find out HOW to change, does it?
Well, besides the powerful regenerative work of the Blood of Jesus and the Holy Spirit working on us from the inside, there are things we need to do to cooperate with the process.
We must decide to be pro-active.
There are many strategies we can put in place.
I’ve seen many couples or friends that have succeeded in this.
The main key is communication.
It takes hard work and often many failures, but perseverance in this has ETERNAL results!
- One thing my wife tries to do (and sometimes I have the grace to do it too) is to sit down and talk it through at a time when there’s no conflict or tension in the air.
We discuss the lessons we've learned, forgive (that's vital) and look for ways to avoid it in future.
...and avoid pointing the finger!
- If you don’t have a wonderful and gracious spouse like I do, try finding a friend who won’t lecture you or judge you. Our pastoral team at MCF is an excellent choice if there’s no one else.
- Then discuss strategies which can help you either handle your reactions, or maybe avoid a typical conflict situation arising in the future (which is not always possible I know – but every bit helps.)
- Then pray together. That can’t be emphasised enough!
Doing battle against the dark forces that encourage you to react negatively, and invoking the power of God is far better than trying to change on our own.
But what if that doesn’t work for you, the way I’ve suggested?
That’s where I need the help of you experienced Christian readers out there.
Is there anyone who has their own story, their own journey and their own strategy that has worked?
I’d be keen to know myself. We never stop learning.
Or even if you want to share your struggles online, why not start in this blog?
You don’t have to be identified and exposed to the scorn and condemnation of the whole world.
Keep it anonymous.
Just click in “Comments” below…