How often do we get angry when other people put us down? I know it is an anger trigger for me. I read somewhere (I wish I remembered where) that anger is really just a mask for other emotions like fear, hurt, anxiety, embarrassment, etc. This does makes sense to me, especially when it comes to other people slandering our name and character. It hurts. That hurt then turns to anger as we want to get back at the one who hurt us.
As Christians we are called to love our enemies instead of giving way to anger and retaliating. This is not an easy task. It is yet another thing that I am unable to do on my own. I have to call on the strength of my God in order that I do not fall into sin and reach back and hurt someone else as they have hurt me. Do I succeed in withholding my wrath 100% of the time? Not even close, but I press on.
We are also called as followers of Christ to present ourselves as living sacrifices to our God. Daily we have to renew this sacrifice so that we can remember who we are living for. This helps me when I encounter someone who says a hurtful word against me. I remind myself that I represent God in all that I do and say, so if I react unkindly to that person, I am not exemplifying God.
It helps me to bear in mind that those who say mean things to me are often only doing it because of their own pain. They have been hurt by others and have not yet learned how to deal with their distress, so they pass their hurt on to me. It is up to me to stop the cycle and turn it around.
This is something that we can all learn - how to turn suffering into blessing. Instead of reacting in a negative way to the hurtful words, we have to see the wounded soul from which the comment came. This helps us to get beyond ourselves and minister to the other person. Often a kind word or two is all it takes to disarm someone. Then they see that we are not really the enemy they thought we were to begin with.
The trick is to remember to do this in the midst of a stressful situation. That is often times easier said than done. This is where we come back to committing ourselves daily (or hourly) as living sacrifices to our Lord. When we do that, then we aren't drawing from our own strength and understanding, but yet from God's strength and understanding. It is the only way that I can react positively to a negative.
© KDV 2009