How to deal with anger graciously

A hot-tempered man stirs up conflict, but the one who is patient calms a quarrel. — Proverbs 15:18

Many years ago, a senior executive of the then Standard Oil Company made a wrong decision that cost the company more than $2 million. Everyone at the company knew the executive’s career was likely over. And most of the executives were finding various ways of avoiding the company’s president, John D. Rockefeller, lest his wrath descend on their heads.

There was one exception, however. He was Edward T. Bedford, a partner in the company who kept his appointment with Mr. Rockefeller. When he entered the office, he saw Rockefeller at his desk busily writing with a pencil on a pad of paper.

Across the top of the page was written “Points in favor of Mr. _______.” There followed a long list of the guilty executive’s virtues, including a brief description of how he had helped the company make the right decision on three separate occasions that had earned many times the cost of his recent error.

It can sometimes be easy to lose your temper. That’s because so often, reactions to events tend to be just that—reactions—instead of responses. But if you take how you want to react, think it through, and consider the perspectives of others, you’ll be much more inclined to respond biblically than react angrily.

Prayer Challenge

Ask God to reveal to you in times of anger how you can respond rather than react. Pray that He would help you see others with a biblical perspective and that you would have a forgiving spirit when dealing with conflict.

Questions for thought

We’ve all reacted too quickly in anger. What was the result of doing so in your life?

What are some concrete ways you can think of to force yourself to stop and think through a frustrating situation before you respond?