Not this again...

A gentle answer makes anger disappear, but a rough answer makes it grow. (Proverbs 15:1)

Many times, people aren't very good at taking hints - they need a direct, honest, and "tempered" response to whatever it is they are doing or saying which gives us concern. We all think someone will get our hints, then wonder why they continue to act as they do - launching you into a bundle of pent-up frustration and emerging negative emotion. Well, it may not be them who needs to change as much as it may need to be us!

I have learned there are times when I need to let go of the things which seem to grate on my nerves. We probably have seen the little cartoon where the guy looks all frazzled and he has one or two hairs stick up on end with the caption which reads: "I had one nerve left this morning, and you just got on it." It seems like that whenever we encounter these tough people in life but remember - they don't purposefully look for that one nerve - they just hit it. 

Sometimes we wait until someone gets to the point of driving us nuts and then we unload a good one on them. If you are like I am, you feel worse after you say whatever it is you say or unload your sorry state of frustration on them full force. I used to be this terrible "gunny-sack" kind of person - holding up all my frustrations toward a person until just that "right moment", and then unloading the full bundle on them all at once. You cannot regurgitate stuff and have it taste good in your mouth! It just isn't possible. That which got putrid in the "sack" will also be putrid when it is let out of the sack!

Remain "current" in your relationships. It is pretty devastating to a relationship to be going along as though nothing is the matter and then come to find out someone has been holding all this stuff inside them which never got dealt with at the time. This is the principle taught behind the scriptural exhortation to never let the sun go down on our anger. It festers and becomes putrid within us. When it eventually comes out, it has a different form than when the issue first happened. There are forces at work which take what we put in the 'sack' and warp it into something no longer akin to what it is we first were taking issue with.

Be kind in your response. You will learn kindness at the feet of Jesus. If we begin to examine our less than kind responses, in the light of the Word of God and the help of the Spirit of God within, we might come to the conclusion we have a little root of pride which manifests in the "better than thou" kind of curt responses we are returning to someone. If we find we are kind of nasty in our responses, we may just discover we have been burying a lot of stuff which has just built up into full-fledged bitterness. Regardless of what we discover, it is about "us", not the "other guy". This is the place the transition between anger and kindness takes place - with us first, then in expression to the "other guy". Just sayin!

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