The scenario goes like this: You are telling your friend about what happened to you today…. Someone cut you off in traffic, the job withheld your check, the lady at the grocery store cut you in line. You can fill in the actual factuals. Either way, your friend immediately chimes in with “If it were me, I would have ___________.” This statement, possibly, insinuates that your response was ALL WRONG for this particular situation or at least not what they would have done.
Let me make it plain and keep it real… I recently had a situation where an individual promised me a certain amount of money. This check would include pay for services rendered as well as addition dividends. Let’s just call it a “tip!” Well, the time came for the pay up, and the check was significantly short. It only included the pay for services rendered and the other money was not included. My first response was to communicate with that individual and find out why the money was not there. (You know not to mess with anyone’s kids or money. Can I get a witness??) It was communicated to me that she had given me the wrong information, and I was not entitled to the “tip.”…Sorry… NOW YOU KNOW I WAS HOT….FIERY MAD…SPITTING BOILING LAKES OF LAVA FROM MY THROAT…BLOOD PRESSURE ALL THE WAY UP DISTURBED! I had two choices: 1. Act as indecently as I could imagine to make my point OR 2. Act respectably, accept what was, and move on…mad… Give me a minute and I’ll tell you which option I chose….
If you didn’t know, I am a believer in and follower of Jesus Christ, a Christian, “I’m Saved” (or whatever term you would like to use.) As a Christian, I am expected to act and respond differently that those who are not believers. I’m not perfect, but I try. With that said, let me make this disclaimer: CHRISTIANS GO THROUGH THE SAME STUFF AS EVERYONE ELSE! Yup! We have “haters” too, situations make us (boiling lake of lava) mad, we get depressed, people hurt us, and yes, we can be offended! Such is proven by the personal example that I gave to you. HOWEVER, we are supposed to respond differently to these scenarios because we believe that Jesus can help us to manage those emotions and to navigate through those situations .
Now, back to the example…
I WAS HOT….FIERY MAD…SPITTING BOILING LAKES OF LAVA FROM MY THROAT…BLOOD PRESSURE ALL THE WAY UP DISTURBED! I had two choices: 1. Act as indecently as I could imagine to make my point OR 2. Act respectably, accept what was, and move on…mad… I chose option number 2. As TICKED as I was, I knew that there was nothing more that I could do about the situation, and there was no need to feed into my anger because it would cause me to do something completely unnecessary (
and possibly illegal. *shoulder shrug*). I remembered a particular scripture concerning anger that applies to Christians and can apply to anyone…
“Go ahead and be angry. You do well to be angry-but don’t use your anger as fuel for revenge. And don’t stay angry. Don’t go to bed angry. Don’t give the Devil that kind of foothold in your life.” Ephesians 4:26 [The Message Bible]
THE MORAL OF THE STORY
LIFE HAPPENS! Situations will arise that take you through a spectrum of emotions and YOU must choose how to respond. There will be people around you who, if given the same scenario or placed in the same situation, would respond completely different than you would…Or at least that is what they say. “Giiiiirl, if it was me I would ____________!!” Though it would be easy to respond to situations that make you angry with your first gut reaction, (
fight them, cut them, cuss them out, throw them under the bus, slit their tires, egg their car, give them a piece of your mind), there is a way to respond to these situations in a respectable, positive manner that will cause little to no lasting damage to your character and reputation. Keep reading…
1. RECOGNIZE WHAT EMOTION YOU ARE FEELING, AND FEEL IT!
The truth is I was ANGRY! (Fire spitting, boiling lake of lava mad to be exact). Sometimes we try to suppress what we are feeling and that can only make it worse. If you are mad, recognize that you are mad. If you are hurt, recognize that you are hurt. If you are offended, recognize that you are offended… then move to step 2.
2. FIGURE OUT WHAT HAS CAUSED THAT EMOTION TO SURFACE!
You must find the cause or the root (the real root) of the problem. In my case, I was initially mad because my check was short, however, the longer I thought about it I realized that was not really why I was mad. I was really upset because I had been misinformed and I was holding fast to a non-truth. This step is important because it helps you to not aimlessly fire off your anger in the wrong direction. If your paycheck is short because your wages are being garnished, there is no need to be mad at the payroll department at your job OR the agency that is collecting the money. Be upset with yourself for not paying the bill…. (Whoops!)
3. TAKE INVENTORY!
At this point, you need to figure out what you have lost and/or gained because of this situation, and what has remained the same. This requires you to be honest and objective. In my case, I had lost nothing. My check did not include the “tip” that I was promised, however, I had not worked to earn that “tip” so I wasn’t missing what I never had. I did gain something…what I was owed.
4. FIND THE BRIGHT SIDE!
I used to hear people say that there is a silver lining to every dark cloud. Well, though it may be hard to see, it is true. So you get in an automobile accident and your car is totaled…the bright side is you survived the accident. So the love of your life breaks your heart…the bright side is your heart can be mended again. In my case, though I didn’t receive what I was promised, I am no longer in a position where I can be hurt/short-changed/manipulated/overlooked/screwed over by that individual again. That is my bright side….Sometimes moving on IS the bright side!
5. IGNORE! IGNORE! IGNORE!
Have you ever made up in your mind to do right then someone else talks you out of it? Once you have completed steps 1-4 and have found resolve that there is NO NEED to get out of character, don’t allow anyone to convince you to get out of character!!!! Remember that when all is said and done, it is how YOU behaved that will determine your character…not your friend…
6. STOP FUELING THE FIRE!
There have been times when I told “the story” enough that it made me mad all over again! (I know I’m not alone!) You may have to put “the story” in a mental file cabinet and keep it to yourself. Even if someone brings it up, just say, “You know what, it’s already worked out.” Don’t keep rekindling your anger. And if you haven’t fully simmered down yet, don’t add fuel to your anger. Doing that will just make you throw steps 1-5 out of the window and you’ll just go ahead and sin!…and possibly catch a charge! (LOL)
7. FORGIVE AND MOVE FORWARD!
Now this may be the hardest step of all. For one reason or another we have adopted this “forgive but don’t forget” philosophy. I’m not judging or knocking it, but if you keep tabs of offenses, you are subject to stir up the anger again and subconsciously hold a grudge. If it’s over, let it be over. Forgive even if no apology has been issued to you. Not forgiving someone only raises YOUR blood pressure and interrupts YOUR sleep pattern! The other party is doing just fine! You will be enabled to walk out the process of forgiveness (yes it is sometimes a process) and move forward as you realize that life can and will go on. For us believers (Christians) we know that God will continue to take care of us as He’s been doing. So yeah, I don’t have the hundreds of dollars that I planned on having, budgeted to spend, and desperately need, but I know that God is my source and He will take care of me. You can get pass this. You will need to because the next situation is coming!
So when the situations arise, as they will, and you become angry, hurt, or offended, as you will, remember this post. You will go through the same situations as your friends, but you can have a different disposition!