A gentle answer deflects anger,
but harsh words make tempers flare.
It is important for the loved ones, friends and caregivers who are journeying alongside someone who is going through the valley of suffering – to be sensitive to the fact that people who are suffering will get angry at some point along the journey. It is not a very comforting fact but that anger is usually directed at the ones who least deserve it. To be on the receiving end of anger is scary. And it is human nature, more often than not, for us to respond in a like manner – in anger. But in the book of James we read …
My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this:
Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,
because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.
In order for us not to respond in anger – to respond with a gentle answer – it is important for us to expect and be prepared that anger is part of the journey through the valley of suffering. Do not be shocked by it and do not take the anger being expressed at you personally but understand that there are deeper root issues behind the anger – hurt, frustration or fear. When you realize there are deeper issues and then give your loved one permission to be angry – NOT PERMISSION TO BE ABUSIVE IN THEIR ANGER – but permission to experience that emotion – you open the door to a relationship where you can help your loved one discover the root issue that lies behind the anger. When there is understanding, love and compassion – not judgment or condemnation for the one experiencing it – your loved one may instinctively feel ‘I am dealing with someone who accepts me for who I am – this is a relationship that is safe.’ Safe relationships open the door to honest conversation and hopefully open the door to the truth.
“ … And you will know the truth,
and the truth will set you free.”
There is great freedom in knowing you can share your deepest thoughts and deepest fears with someone who accepts you and in the process, helps you work through your anger. No one wants to stay angry. The goal is to move from a place of anger – which keeps us from dealing with what we are up against – to a place of peace that comes from effectively exposing and dealing with what is really going on inside.
A hot-tempered person stirs up conflict,
but the one who is patient calms a quarrel.
On the journey with you,
Jan & Dave Dravecky