Have you ever spent time with a friend who just kept saying and doing things to annoy you? And since they are your friend, they know exactly what buttons to push to get you going. I tend to do this to my best friend Emmanuel for the simple fact that it is amusing.
But I remember once having a conversation with him and he brought up the idea that when people say and do things that just make no sense at all, you should ask them, “what do you gain from this?” And when you ask, you must be sure to insert your thinking face…hands pressed together like a triangle against your mouth. Kind of like this baby…
Amusing right? In all seriousness though, sometimes you ask yourself this question when people are annoying. And the reality is, there usually is no realistic gain in annoying others. Unless you’re sadistic of course.
But I have an idea. What if we asked ourselves this question when we get angry? Because what happens when we get angry? A natural response is to lash out and say or do something that seemingly will “make you feel better” or will “make them pay.”
But the reality is, you really gain nothing when you act outside of your identity to inflict the pain on others that you have received.
James 1:19-20 says, “Know this, my beloved brothers: let EVERY person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”
The first point made here is 1. LISTEN CAREFULLY! From my observation, a lot of disagreements happen due to misunderstandings. Either a person does not know how to communicate how they feel verbally, or they are just not mature enough to discuss it like an adult. But you have the ABILITY and CHOICE to be the bigger person and bring peace to an otherwise chaotic situation.
The second point made is 2. ACT WISELY! The reality is, when you choose into lashing out in anger, you are stooping to their level and showing that you are as immature as they are. Verse 20 tells us that the effects of your anger does not produce the righteousness of God. What will your actions produce? Will they produce peace and love for your fellow human? Or will your actions produce pain and hurt that you both will feel the effects of?
Here is where the question of the post becomes significant. Before lashing out in anger and saying things that can never be unsaid, PAUSE! Be slooooow to speak. And while you are in pause, ask yourself, “what will I gain from punching them in the face?” or “what will they gain from me saying that I hate them?” Etc.
Will Christ be glorified in my actions?
I pose this thought to you today: the first words out of Christ’s mouth on the cross were, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). In his pain and anguish, Jesus demonstrates for us the condition of heart that believers ought to strive for. In reality, THIS IS NOT AN EASY TASK! However, if we are going to be followers of Christ, then we ought to FOLLOW His example.
There is no real gain from hurting others who have hurt you. But you CAN literally love the “hell” out of them. For we know that, “love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8).
So before you lash out in anger, PAUSE and asking yourself, “what do I gain from this?”