Scriptural Help for Anger


 

Copyright 1992, 2007

Thomas Schattke

P. O. Box 53

Holts Summit, MO 65043


 

PLEASE READ THIS FORWARD
 

We offer this book with the assurance that readers can deal more positively, constructively and usefully with their anger by using the help offered by our loving heavenly Father. Your comments and questions are welcome.

In applying the lessons contained in this book you will find it helpful to study it carefully on the first reading and then re-read it whenever anger again becomes an issue in life. Since the text is mostly free of stories and repetition, it may be beneficial to read it again a week or two after your first reading.

In the text and in scripture quotations you will find the correct personal name of the Creator, Yahweh, and the given name of His son, our savior, Yahoshua. His name, 'Yahoshua' means 'Yahweh saves'. These names are used in several editions of the Scriptures and are coming into more common usage generally. The Hebrew term elohim will also be found; it means 'mighty being' and has been translated 'god' in most English Bibles.

For more information about the correct names or a list of other free literature you are invited to write:

Evangelistic Assembly of Yahweh

Box 488    Fulton MO 65251

 

Please feel free to print out this book or request a printed copy from ScripturalHelps.org. Just email us with your address for the Anger book.

 

SCRIPTURAL HELP FOR ANGER

 

Chapter 1

AVOIDING ANGER

 

THE RAGE-PROOF PERSON

Wouldn't it be nice to be a person who never loses his temper, but doesn't get walked all over and enjoys peace in his home and his job? Wouldn't it be nice for his family, friends and associates? Yahweh, our loving heavenly Father, has provided ways for us to move toward this goal. Anyone can become rage-proof.

WHAT IS THE FEELING OF ANGER?

Anger is a basic feeling like hunger or being cold. It is the feeling that you have been injured. This happens to every feeling person. It has been said that we can only get angry if there is something we care about; in that sense it's a good sign. There is nothing wrong with feeling this way if someone has done wrong to you or done wrong to someone you love or to a little one or a defenseless person.

What we DO with that feeling, however, may bring us to sin (breaking Yahweh's law 1 John 3:4). Rage is not THE response to the feeling of anger, it is but one, poor choice. Keep in mind that your reaction to the offense is much more important to you than the offense or the offender.

WHAT IS THE EXPRESSION OF ANGER?

What people commonly CALL anger is actually the expression of anger. It can range from showing annoyance to pouting, sulking, criticism, tantrums, screaming, throwing things and even blows. In extreme cases it leads to divorce, murder and war. We often see that happening in the news. What it amounts to is: the feeling of hurt has been converted into an attack upon the perceived hurting person. "I'll get even for that!" [Running away is not considered anger since there is no form of active attack involved.]

In this booklet we'll talk about the expression of anger. We won't try to deal with any form of mental illness, although people who have been treated for mental problems find these ideas to be a useful, helpful and practical way to more peace in their lives. Our Creator knows best how we should solve our problems.

When you read 'him' or 'her' you should realize it applies EQUALLY to the other gender. Neither men nor women have a corner on any type of rage.

There are several natural consequences of the anger response. It can make one look like a fool, lead to sin and also hurt one's health. On top of all that, it can only make a person's problems worse than he already thinks they are. David said, "Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; do not fret; it only causes harm," Psalms 37:8.

WHAT MAKES US ANGRY?

A popular excuse for getting angry is righteous indignation - anger at sin. It makes you feel so good because you know you are right and he's wrong. Yahweh gets angry; but he does it for good reason. There are hundreds of scriptures which talk about the just fury, anger or wrath of Yahweh. "They have provoked Me to jealousy by what is not elohim; They have moved Me to anger by their foolish idols. But I will provoke them to jealousy by those who are not a nation; I will move them to anger by a foolish nation," Deuteronomy 32:21. Also "And they caused their sons and daughters to pass through the fire, practiced witchcraft and enchantments, and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of Yahweh, to provoke Him to anger," 2 Kings 17:17. If you get angry at some form of sin be sure you do not sin (1 John 3:4) as a result of your anger. That really would be foolish, wouldn't it? Remember that Yahweh is the judge and that taking vengeance is reserved only for Him. Dearly beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to the wrath of Yahweh: for it is written, "Vengeance is mine; I will repay," says Yahweh, Romans 12:19.

Pride is probably the most common reason for anger. It results from the need to feel power over others or to control the situation or from the need to feel perfect. This kind of anger is based on a fear of inadequacy. If you feel this kind of anger you need to try to find where the self-doubt lies within you. Give up your pride and insecurity. Rely upon Yahweh for power that really means something. Trust in Yahweh, and do good; so shall you dwell in the land, and truly you shall be fed. Delight yourself also in Yahweh; and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to Yahweh; trust also in Him; and He shall bring it to pass. He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your judgment as the noonday. Rest in Yahweh, and wait patiently for him, Psalms 37:3-7. and For Yahweh did not give us a spirit of fear; but of power with love and self-control. 2 Timothy 1:7. Also Thus says Yahweh: "Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, Let not the mighty man glory in his might, Nor let the rich man glory in his riches; 24 But let him who glories glory in this, That he understands and knows Me, That I am Yahweh, exercising judgment, mercy, righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight," says Yahweh, Jeremiah 9:23-24

Another common reason people lose their temper is because their parents trained them to do so. Usually not on purpose, of course; but parents often don't realize that giving in to a child's tantrums and setting a poor example forms habits which will affect the rest of the child's life. We need to teach our children WITH A GOOD EXAMPLE that rage is not acceptable and that resolving differences is what works. Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is grown he will not depart from it, Proverbs 22:6.

If your parents 'taught' the anger response to you then you must now make your own decision. Stop using excuses like "I'm a _____ and we're all quick-tempered," "I guess I've just got a hot temper." or, "I've always been that way." Decide on the right, gentle and wise thing to do and ask Yahweh to help you to do that. May Yahweh bless you as you strongly determine to follow His ways.

If a person is under some type of stress, it often changes their 'normal' response to others. Keep your stress level lower by taking care of important things BEFORE they get to be urgent whenever possible. Work on things that are important but not yet urgent instead of on time-wasters such as watching TV or working on unimportant things that may seem urgent but aren't. Be sure you, your mate, and your children take time to pray and meditate alone. [One person I know wraps their whole TV set in paper for a month at a time just because it's good for her family to be without it. TV contributes to bad behavior in many ways, but that's another story.]

In addition to controlling your stress to help you control your own anger, before you express anger about another person's actions, consider what kind of stress they may be under. There are many reasons why a person may do something irritating.

We usually get angry with those we love; our mate, children, parents or others in our family. Try to remember that these are the people you love most. If a person is going to be patient, kind and forgiving toward anyone it makes sense to start right there at home.

HOW TO BE MORE ANGER RESISTANT

Some modern psychologists will advise you to 'express your anger, don't hold it in, let it all out'. Not only is this NOT SCRIPTURAL but it also doesn't work well. Yahweh has given us good, orderly ways of handling problems. Shouting, breaking and throwing things IS NOT the solution.

The right way for us to handle anger is to solve the problem, forgive any past wrongs and then to bring the feeling of love into the situation to replace the feeling of being hurt and wanting revenge. This does not happen automatically. Here are some steps you can take when rage threatens your peace of mind:

1.) Be pro-active. Pro-active is the opposite of re-active. Reaction to stimulus is what we expect of an animal or an object. Remember the science lesson: 'for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction'? That is true for mass and energy but not necessarily for the mind of man. We have been given the ability to decide how we will react to a social stimulus. That means that YOU CHOOSE your response to ANY stimulus. No matter what happens to you, you have the choice to respond with a smile and a gentle word. Many people already practice choosing to get angry when it is not appropriate. We need to choose to be patient, kind and loving when it might seem appropriate to be angry.

If you have to deal with an angry person don't allow their tantrums to change your plans. Be careful that you give them no reason for taking offense. Do not provoke a person who is enraged but make your decisions based only on your own values and priorities. Unless it is your own child their anger is only between them and Yahweh. More on that in Chapter 3.

Not only do you have the freedom to choose your response but you have the responsibility to choose the path of love. "You have heard that it has been said, an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: but I say to you, that you must not resist [those who are] evil: but whoever shall strike you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue you at the law, and take away your coat, let him have your cloak also. And whoever forces you to go a mile, go two with him. Give to him that asks of you, and do not turn yourself away from him that would borrow from you.

You have heard that it has been said, 'You shall love your neighbor, and hate your enemy'; but I say to you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you; that you may be the children of your Father who is in heaven: for He makes His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you earned? Do not even the publicans do the same? And if you salute your brethren only, what do you do that is more than others? Do not even the publicans so? Therefore, you must become perfect, even as your Father who is in heaven is perfect," Matthew 5:38-48.

2.) Don't mind other people's business: Before you allow your anger to rise, ask yourself; is this MY affair? Is this for ME to be angry about? Don't get mad about something that shouldn't affect you at all. Do you remember the parable of the workers who thought their pay was unfair?

"But [the owner] answered one of them, and said, 'Friend, I do you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a penny? Take that which is yours, and go your way. I will give to this last, even as to you. Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with my own? Is your eye evil, because I am good?' So the last shall be first, and the first last," Matthew 20:13-15.

Remember that another person's anger is not your problem unless you have wronged them. Otherwise their rage is between them and Yahweh. If their anger is hurting you then treat it as you would any other hurt. Once again, do not provoke a person who is enraged. They may do a lot of damage. If it happens very much you may have to leave the relationship.

3.) Mind YOUR OWN business. Be careful that YOU do right, not wrong, to those whom you see during the day. Concentrate on the one part of the world you can do something about - your own actions. Show yourself to be an example of good works, pure doctrine, gravity, and sound speaking that can not be condemned, so that he that takes the part against you may be embarrassed because he has nothing evil to say about us, Titus 2:7-8.

4.) Pray about it, whatever it is. There is no situation so difficult that Yahweh cannot make it right. By prayer you can influence ANYTHING. Rather than choosing to attack against the one whom you feel has hurt you, bring the problem to the one who can do something about it - Yahweh. Pray for yourself to have your problem solved and to learn whatever lesson Yahweh may have for you. Pray for the other person to get what he wants and pray for others who may be bystanders affected by the problem. Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me: You shall stretch forth your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and your right hand shall save me, Psalms 138:7.

If you tend to lose your temper, review these thoughts and pray for help in dealing with people with wisdom, love and patience instead of with anger. Pray OFTEN for help from Yahweh's Spirit. Yahweh wants to hear and answer those prayers.

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance: against such there is no law, Galatians 5:22-23. Our Father in heaven wants each of us to enjoy these fruits in our lives.

 

 

Chapter 2

DEALING WITH SITUATIONS

WHICH COULD MAKE YOU ANGRY

 

In the first chapter we talked about the anger response and about some ways Yahweh has provided of becoming resistant to rage. Next we will explore some ways to deal with situations which get you so mad you 'can't control yourself'. Yahoshua has given us methods of help that will work for you. We'll look at why we must not stay angry and how to resolve problems instead of attacking others.

Don't let a problem go unresolved. There are several ways of resolving a problem - use one of them. Yahoshua makes it clear that we do not really have the right to carry our anger with us for even one minute. "You have heard that it was said by them of old time, 'You shall not kill; and whoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment.' But I say to you, that whoever is angry with his brother shall be in danger of the judgment: and whoever shall say to his brother, 'Raca', shall be in danger of the council; but whoever shall say, 'You fool', shall be in danger of hell fire. Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift right there before the altar, and go your way; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift," Matthew 5:21-24.

KEEP THIS IN MIND: The goal is to RESOLVE the problem and then DROP IT FOREVER. Of course this can be hard to do. There are times we want to avoid talking about a problem but we feel we can't just drop it from our memory. That just won't do; Yahoshua told us that keeping anger in our heart is not acceptable.

Tape this principle up on your mirror until you understand it, accept it, and begin to live it:

 

I MUST RESOLVE PROBLEMS AND

THEN DROP THEM FOREVER.

Many times the person hurting you does not want to hurt you. It may be someone who basically loves you. If he understood you were being hurt he would try to stop doing the thing that hurts. Sometimes he 'wants' to hurt you just because he feels that something you are doing is intended to hurt him. That may be another misunderstanding or it may be that you do feel you have a right to hurt him - another layer of hurting. The bottom line is that if you love one another, then you both want to stop all the reasons for hurting, get back to normal life and resume your good relationship. Here are some ways to do it.

In all cases COOL DOWN first. Stand in awe [of Yahweh] and do not sin. Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still. Psalms 4:4. JPS

We can't be expected to deal with ANY serious situation in the heat of passion. Say to the other person, "I want to be sure not to do something wrong because I'm upset. Please let me take a short time to cool down and collect my thoughts. We can talk about it again in twenty minutes [or some other specific time]." Usually this will be acceptable. Even if it is not accepted you must still avoid dealing with a problem in a state of agitation. That would not be fair to either person.

Another key to unlocking difficult situations is remembering to GET THE FACTS before you act. Don't we feel foolish when we take action based on some wrong assumption? Don't let that happen again. Play it cool until you KNOW the facts. Look for hidden facts too. A person may certainly have done something which hurts you but the reason for his action may be outside of his control. In today's world it sometimes seems surprising that anyone can be pleasant and nice. On another page is a list of twenty-eight general factors which could cause a person to give a FALSE impression of trying to hurt others. For each one of these general factors there are many specific reasons. Most times we should be following Yahoshua's example and praying for those who hurt us. They don't really mean to.

Good parents know that they must be sure of the facts and they make it their rule never to discipline their children while angry. The risks are too great.

The subject of parenting brings us to a specific topic of anger; 'What do I do when the baby won't stop crying?' That's how we may ask the question when we're calm; but when the baby has been screaming for a while the question is phrased with stronger words.

What a challenge it is to have a crying baby! Remember to first calm down, pray for the baby and the mother, and then get the facts. It may take a lot of searching to discover the facts for a baby who can't talk enough to help the process. You may want to ask some experienced mothers to help you find the problem. I don't know the answer for your baby's problem. Some we figure out, from others we just learn patience. You can be sure that for any cranky, unhappy or mis-behaving baby much of the answer is LOTS of love and the best care we know how to give. There may be a time to let the baby cry for a while, but there is never a time to withdraw your love from your child.

As our children grow, it seems that both the joys and the problems grow with them. Toddlers somehow grow through childhood into complex young people who, like certain birds, seem to require almost their weight in food every day. Just as the growing minds can become a delight of fresh conversation, teens can also turn awry in creative or peer-mimicking ways. Once again; use prayer, be cool, and be sure of ALL the facts. Because we have a responsibility as parents to guide our children, we need to deal with a hurt inflicted by our children in a special way. For a mis-behaving child or youth the answer is still lots of love but also with firmness. You fathers, don't be a cause of your children's wrath [lest they be discouraged, Col 3:21]: but bring them up with the care and teaching of Yahweh, Ephesians 6:4. Don't stop praying for your children and grandchildren, and don't be too surprised when those troublesome teens become responsible, caring adults; we've seen it happen many times. When children are grown up and have moved away, parents still have a duty to provide a good example, teach and guide their children in the right ways.

Now we come to those whom the Scriptures call our brother [someone in Yahweh's Congregation] or our neighbor. Remember the principles we've already seen. Pray about it, cool down, and get the facts first.

Don't neglect to find the real BLESSING of forgiving someone. The first and the best way to resolve most problems is to overlook the hurt if you can. Yahoshua tells us to pray, "Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors." Then He explains, 14 "For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses," Matthew 6:12-15. Try to imitate Yahweh. Yahweh is gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger and great in mercy, Psalms 145:8 (NKJV). But He, being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity, and did not destroy them. Yes, many a time He turned His anger away, and did not stir up all His wrath, Psalms 78:38 (NKJV). You should also consider that the person you think is responsible may not actually be at fault. If it is your child who makes you angry you may be almost sure that the fault is your own! More about that in Chapter 3. The wisdom of Yahweh's word says, He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city, Proverbs 16:32 (NKJV). And also, The discretion of a man makes him slow to anger, and his glory is to overlook a transgression, Proverbs 19:11 (NKJV). Carrying those old hurts around with you really slows you down. Drop them now and be free of the burden! The forgiving person is truly blessed. When anger seems to be taking a lot of your attention and even controlling you, review these thoughts about forgiveness. It can put you back into control over yourself. Forgiving is the best way to resolve a problem; its best for you.

There are some hurts which still don't seem to go away. The answer is not to pretend to forgive if you can't REALLY forget it. If there is a serious problem or a repeating problem you have to settle it. Remember the principle: I MUST RESOLVE PROBLEMS AND THEN DROP THEM FOREVER. The wisdom of Solomon includes: "Open rebuke is better than love carefully concealed. Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful," Proverbs 27:5-6 (NKJV). Don't be an enemy, concealing the problems behind a screen of fake friendliness! Use the method Yahoshua prescribed in Matthew 18:15-18. Go to him/her and resolve it together. When you do, here are some suggestions to use as you talk. Use them to guide YOUR OWN ATTITUDE, not as a weapon against her:

1.) Bring Yahweh with you. Your peacemaking discussion will be much more fruitful if you can open it with a joint request for Yahweh to join and help you.

2.) Focus on a solution rather than on the anger or rage. That is past. It seems hard to believe sometimes, but only the future really matters. Where we've been is important only because it has brought us to where we are now. Where we will be tomorrow depends upon what we do starting from now on.

3.) Be open-minded and loving. You may want to begin with a small gift or a kind word to show that you are, indeed, coming in love, Proverbs 21:14. Don't be concerned that this will be misinterpreted, people (even children) naturally DO understand. The love will help get the problem solved.

4.) Be eager to compromise but don't grovel. Don't call the job done if the 'solution' leaves you continuing to feel hurt. We'll talk more about this in the next chapter.

5.) Think of and express the source of your anger as a wish or desire rather than as something he SHOULD do. Say, "I'd be happier if you wouldn't . . ." or "I would feel good if you . . ."

6.) Recognize that there are very few problems between two people where one person is wrong and the other is 100% pure and innocent. Search your own attitudes and then lovingly and sincerely admit your own part of the problem.

7.) Warmly accept a sincere apology if offered 70 X 7 times. In other words - don't bother to count. [If you are the offending person you should realize that an apology is only the beginning of making things right. You can't just talk your way out of a problem that you behaved yourself into.]

Enter the conversation with confidence that you will find a solution. Usually you will. The more you practice, the better success you will have. If, after several attempts, personal talks do leave you with the problem as bad as before, then invite a friend or two whom you both respect to help in the discussions, Matthew 18:16. Approach this new discussion with the idea that there must have been some key you missed when you tried working it out yourselves.

If you still can't agree on a solution then ask the Elders of your congregation to help you to re-establish a loving relationship. A long-standing problem between two member IS a problem of the Congregation. They can apply Yahweh's word well, they have experience in helping people solve problems and they will pray with you and pray for you - that can help a lot. The Elders also can arrange for a meeting of the Congregation to determine whether you should break off relations with the person. This is the procedure commanded by the Messiah. Like all the other things He told us to do; it's good for us and it works.

If you love someone and are close to them daily you should talk together about how to handle feelings of anger which are sure to arise. You might want to consider an agreement like this one which has helped some others to get along better.

AGREEMENTS ABOUT ANGER

1. If I feel like I'm being hurt in any way that could make me angry toward you I promise to tell you as soon as we are alone together - before it gets out of hand.

2. When I get angry at you for any reason I promise never to attack you. I won't blame you, criticize you, or try to hurt you in any other way. I'll let you know it's important and just tell you what I desire or wish you would do or not do.

3. If one of us is hurt by the other in any way, we promise to work TOGETHER to eliminate or at least minimize the hurt. We'll look upon such occasions as a good opportunity for expressing our love.

Remember, we, as followers of Yahoshua, are not permitted to harbor anger. The goal is to resolve problems and then drop them forever.

 

Can you keep anger in your relationship

if you kneel down together

and ask Yahweh to be with you

as the third party in your discussion

and to open your minds to each other

so that understanding and love

can grow?

What do you think?

 

A soft answer turns away wrath;

but a grievous word stirs up anger.

Proverbs 15:1

 

 

Chapter 3

THE ANGER OF OUR CHILDREN

 

A very common and very dangerous problem is the anger which lies deep within many of today's children. This problem is not restricted to UNbelievers! Religious parents often have severe problems in their relationship with their children. The problems seem to grow worse as the child grows older. Often the situation explodes when the child phases into early adulthood. The result of this anger is seen in such children leaving home ASAP when the are barely adults, staying home and loafing around at the parents' expense, acting out with sex, drugs, or as budding young criminals. A parent who unwittingly caused such a problem simply does not have the resources to solve it at this latest stage. They can only watch as their beloved son or daughter runs at top speed toward self-destruction.

Let's look at some ways to prevent the worst from happening to our own children.

This set of problems begins very early in a child's life. It is the parents' responsibility to teach the child right from wrong and to motivate the child to do right. Many of us have understood that as the responsibility to MAKE the child do right. This subtle difference sets us up for a failed relationship. Our relationship becomes adversarial. That means it is us against them. If you can remember your own childhood, you probably thought of your parents as your enemies at some times. That is very common. It becomes dangerous when that is the way you ALWAYS think of your parents.

Parents need to understand that it is their own responsibility as a loving couple to bring about the right relationship between parents and child. We can't blame a two-year-old or a fifteen-year-old for the bad attitude he or she has towards his or her parents. The parents have the sole responsibility for making it right.

What is the correct relationship we need to build with our children? It needs to be a feeling that we are on the same side as they are. We want what they want.

Does this mean we will let our 12-year-old drive our car on the highway? Of course not. But what is our response when he asks to do that? It can't be an angry, "Certainly not. And don't ask stupid things like that!" Rather, we should explore his idea with him until we both agree that it might be exciting but it would be too dangerous and hurtful if we actually did it.

The first angry response would probably bring about a feeling of anger in the child. He may not express that anger but it would be added to the many other times he had been put down and frustrated and it would simmer under the surface. This is one of the most destructive and difficult to correct problems a person can have. On the surface they are compliant but inside they are full of hatred, anger, and rebellion. They are just waiting for the opportunity to get away or to get even or just to run wild. They may leave home a day or two after their 18th birthday and be in some kind of trouble a few days later.

One of the most important things we need to teach our children is how to deal with hurt and anger. The times of being hurt are critical turning points in their developing attitudes. If they learn to deal constructively with being hurt, they can be far more successful in their life. If each hurt is an occasion for a fight, a tantrum or a grudge, then they are moving toward a life of misery and pain.

Help your children to move up from the most primitive response to being hurt to the more successful ones. In the beginning they may lash out blindly at someone or at something. As we teach them more, they should learn to immediately forgive completely or to discuss and really solve each problem.

As we teach we will learn.

 

 

Chapter 4

USING LOVE TO SOLVE PROBLEMS

 

In the chapter 2 we learned that anger is not permitted to believers, it's 'against our religion.'

Next we will look at how believers use love not only to solve problems but also to gain even more benefits.

To solve the problems we all have, Yahoshua has given us good help. Besides giving us eternal salvation, He has provided ways to save us from problems every day as well. Now we'll look at some of the great benefits of using love to solve and avoid problems with others.

Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of Yahweh; and every one who loves has been begotten of Yahweh, and knows Him. He who does not love does not know Yahweh; for Yahweh is love. The love of Yahweh toward us was shown in this, Yahweh sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.

There is love in this, not that we loved Yahweh, but that He loved us, and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Beloved, if Yahweh loved us like that, we ought also to love one another. . . .

We love because he first loved us. If a man says, 'I love Yahweh,' and hates his brother, he is a liar: for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love Yahweh, whom he has not seen. We also have this as a commandment from him, that he who loves Yahweh must love his brother also. 1 John 4:7-11, 19-21.

There are two basic principles which we use to avoid and solve problems between people. They can be summarized as loving and listening. Here are the details:

THINK WIN-WIN

'WIN-WIN' is a short way of saying that we work things out so that each of the people involved in a situation wins; nobody loses. You win, I win.

You could say this is not using love to solve a problem; it's just good sense. On the other hand the WIN-WIN principle may be just another way of saying "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

If I approach a situation with the idea, "I'm going to get what I want and the other person can look out for himself." then I cheat myself. How? Because I can't keep doing that to someone without hurting the relationship between us. Without strong personal relationships my life can become pointless, vain and empty. I also cannot nurture a few good relationships and deal arrogantly with most other people at the same time. I ought to deal consistently with all the people I meet.

On the other hand, it's not wise to arrange things so that I give to the point of hurting myself over a long period of time. In good, long-term relationships BOTH parties win. Each gives to the other and receives more than they give. How is this possible? It's called synergy: when two or more work together they produce MORE than they could working separately. The extra part, which can be quite large, can be used by both so that each gets more than he gave! However, when one person is taking too much, the synergy breaks down and both lose a great deal. Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falls; for he has not another to help him up. Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone? And if someone prevails against him, two can withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken, Ecclesiastes 4:9-12.

One of the reasons for anger plays a good part in synergy if we remember to use it correctly. Often our anger is based on a difference between us. 'Difference' is even used as a well-bred word for a fight, isn't it? We secure a blessing when we move on past anger to an appreciation of the differences. If the two people were identical (of course that's impossible) the synergy would not work. They would produce only about twice what each could produce alone. Synergy depends on the contribution two different people make to one another. They each supply something the other doesn't have. Often it's the KEY to getting through a hard spot which could have stopped the progress of one person working alone for a long time. It is what gives a good team that slight edge. We need to learn to enthusiastically embrace the differences we find in others without ever compromising our own values or coming too close to evil.

Any two people who come together can learn something from each other. The smartest rocket scientist can learn a great deal from a tiny baby who 'knows nothing.' If he's really good, maybe he can teach the baby something too.

Synergy is the proof of a good team. If there is a real, properly working team, the output will be higher than an ordinary group of people working side by side.

Find the pleasure in synergy. Find the value in those differences. Find the blessings in working together: Accomplishment, learning, and good fellowship are some of the blessings you will find.

Look at how good and pleasant it is for brothers to live together in unity, Psalms 133:1.

AIM FIRST TO UNDERSTAND -

THEN TO BE UNDERSTOOD.

Understanding a person is the second great key to getting a problem solved. Try it soon - you'll see. Before you make your own point, make a concentrated effort to know exactly how the other person feels, what she thinks, what makes her feel that way, what would make her feel better, when she first had that impression, etc. Let her talk without interrupting except for questions. (That's a challenge, isn't it?) While you're trying to understand, don't make judgement statements on what you are being told. Just listen and understand the whole thing first. A time to explain what you want or what you think is right may come later. When you listen, it doesn't mean that you show approval for ideas which are wrong, just that you hear and understand them. When you think you have it, ask her if your impression of how she thinks or feels is accurate. If not - ask questions until you really do understand. This is a great gift to give to a person. It is a loving thing to do. It helps to solve problems. If you are a good enough listener you may even learn some things which will help you.

After you have given your total attention to the other person then you may try to briefly explain your position to them. Just think how much your approach will be improved, how much better you will be prepared to use the right words, how much more openly you will be received.

What would you think of a physician who heard the first general symptom, a pain in the stomach, and then immediately gave a prescription or suggested an operation? He that gives answer to a matter before he hears, it is a folly and a shame to him, Proverbs 18:13. Be wise - listen.

Work diligently to keep your relationships WIN-WIN, and always seek first to understand, it is the way of love.

To learn more about the principles covered in this chapter you may want to read the book "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People" by Stephen R. Covey.

An excellent book for readers who want to go further in understanding and controlling anger is "Crucial Conversations" (Tools for talking when stakes are high) by Patterson, Grenny, McMillan and Switzler. Available as an audio book.

Be you therefore followers of Yahweh, as dear children; and walk in love, as the Messiah also has loved us, and has given himself for us; an offering and a sacrifice to Elohim for a sweet smelling savor, Ephesians 5:1-2.

May Yahweh bless your life with

peace, love and joy

as you follow His way.

HalleluYah!

 

 

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