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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Avoidance 101

"Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured." (Mark Twain)  

Whoever is patient and slow to anger shows great understanding, but whoever has a quick temper magnifies his foolishness.  (Proverbs 14:29 VOICE)


I haven't met too many people in my lifetime who actually can admit truthfully to not struggling with anger once in a while, if nor more frequently.  Most of us actually get ourselves worked up about things, people, and events which are totally out of our control.  What's up with that?  Things or people out of our control become the very thing which "breaks" our control!  Ever made someone go from "zero to sixty" in like six seconds of less and later regretted whatever it was you said or did which triggered that reactive anger response?  You just kind of stand there, almost broadsided by the response and then you wonder why they got so "wigged out"!  

Sometimes I can appear a little "anti-social", but in truth, I am just avoiding the drama which is inevitable if I give the other guy or gal an inroad into my mind, emotions, etc.  It isn't that I don't like them, because I do.  It isn't that I don't care about them, because I do.  It is that I am just at that point where anymore "drama" in my life would put me over the edge and I wouldn't respond all that well to it.  It is like I put up with life for so long, then pull away in order to avoid confrontation.  When I did a little personality test once, I scored "high" on the side of being a "confrontation avoider". I don't know if that is all that bad of a thing, because I can confront when I have to, I just don't enjoy doing it on a regular basis!

Twain was spot-on when he likened anger to acid - it not only burns the one holding it in, but it splashes indiscriminately on those who will be in the path of the "spillage", leaving sometimes very devastating scars!  It harms more than the vessel holding it in - it harms those who eventually become the subject of that wrath once it is unleashed!  It eats away at the inside of the one carrying it for way too long.  The principle in scripture is not that we don't have anger, but that we learn to deal with it in the moment, not allowing it to fester (not letting the sun go down on our anger), and then working toward a resolution which is respectful, kind, and considerate of each party involved.  In other words, we learn to be angry and not sin!

What the personality test labeled as "avoidance" in my life was really something I have realized over the years.  You see, when I take a couple of moments to just reflect on what my desired "reaction" would be to the circumstances, I almost always realize that particular response isn't very kind, nor is it very respectful of either one of us in the circumstance (me included).  So, rather than just jump into conflict, I take a space of time to not open up a place for the acid to begin to be stored!  What others saw as a "flaw" in my character was really something God helped me to see as a good thing - it brings balance and perspective to the moment at hand rather than allowing the perspective to become distorted by the effects of a rather out of focus perspective anger can bring. In choosing to disengage for even a few moments, I am reordering my thoughts and asking God for his perspective. Something we can all learn to do more of as we are faced with those moments of drama in life.  Just sayin!