The Great Disarmer

This week you will meet someone who upsets you.

They might upset you a little. Or they might upset you a lot.

Maybe they’re in your own family and say something to rub you the wrong way. Or maybe they’re a friend, classmate or co-worker whose actions scratch the invisible chalkboard of your brain.

So how do you keep your head? How do you respond as your best you, instead of the reactive you who is probably going to regret what you said or did?

Proverbs 14:29 (NLT) says, “People with understanding control their anger; a hot temper shows great foolishness.”

It means that when you react to people and situations with a hot temper it’s evidence of your own foolishness. But people of understanding control their anger.

That’s the key. Understanding.

It’s The Great Disarmer.

When someone upsets you—once, twice, or time and time again!—try to learn more about them and their situation. What is at the root of their words? What has happened in their past that has contributed to their outlook?

Chances are, they’re wrestling with something you just can’t see. That doesn’t excuse bad behaviour, but it does slow you down from judging, wagging your tongue or being hurtful when you don’t have all the facts.

They’ve had tough experiences that contribute to who they are. Just like you!

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow says, “If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we should find in each man’s life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility.”

Those who pursue understanding are the ones who pursue peace—not only with others, but in themselves.

By Matthew Ruttan

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