They Started It!

So, hypothetically speaking, it is fine to yell back when someone yells at you? Just asking for a friend. No, of course this friend doesn’t have anger issues! Sigh. Fine, it’s me.

Growing up, my Mom drilled into our heads that it’s not always what you say, it’s how you say it. No sassy tone was allowed in our house! As a result, I am sensitive to how people speak.

Because God has a sense of humor, He paired me with a husband from the opposite type of family. When I met James’ family, it was obvious he came by his tone of voice honestly. (I am not sure how his mom handled three boys!) Their regular conversations were not meant to be arguments, but to my ears, it could sound that way. There are times all these years later that it still gets to me.

Now, neither one of us is a fighter, but of course we have disagreements. The first sign of James’ tone of voice going above talking, I take it as yelling and yell back. Then I stew over the whole thing while he gets over it quickly.

Seriously? And I call myself a grown up?

When this happened last week for the 47 kajillionth time, I was having some not so nice thoughts toward the person I vowed to love, honor, and cherish till death do us part. How could he do this? Why did he get mad? And most importantly, how is he fine now? Yes, that usually irritates me most. When I act like this, I am assuming the worst about my husband’s intentions. I am tearing him down instead of being the one who is supposed to be building him up. Ouch.

God spoke to my heart and convicted me. No, I can’t control other peoples’ actions, but I can control my reaction. Of course I know this, but I had never applied it to this situation. My perceiving his anger doesn’t justify blowing the whole thing out of proportion. None of us wants my sulking to ruin our evening, but I sometimes let it.

The Bible has lots to say about anger, (especially in Proverbs!) Ephesians 4 tells us to not give the devil a foothold. Yikes. That is not the way I want to look at it. James 1 says we should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. Yes! That is how I want to be! I want to respond slowly and carefully and not say something I can’t take back. I want my home to be a safe place, but I have to choose that.

Ultimately, I am responsible for how I act and speak. Do my words speak life? Is my tone soothing? Am I showing love to those around me? This is what I need to focus on, not other adults’ behavior. No matter the intention of the words, I should diffuse the situation. Be a peace maker. My family (and probably blood pressure) will be better for it.

Now that I am aware, I have something to work on. And isn’t knowing half the battle?

Linking with Holley Gerth!


16 thoughts on “They Started It!

  1. Looks like we were writing away again at the same time!!

    This I love, Sarah – ‘Do my words speak life?’

    What might our lives, our homes, our churches, our health, our relationships look like if we kept those words front and center?

    I’m going to write your 5 word question on the white board in the kitchen right now. Thanks for this prompting!

    Hugs, dear friend!

  2. Yep, knowing IS half the battle. I can also be guilty of this: not so much the yelling, but an irritated or exasperated tone, and neither speaks love. So many great admonishments in God’s word about our tongue. I may just write your question on my chalkboard door now :). Blessings to you Sarah!

  3. I woke up with similar thoughts this morning about a discussion my husband and I had last night- I want so badly for my words to encourage and bring life but so often I find them doing the opposite . 😦 esp. with the ones I most dearly love. Thank you for the thoughts and for being so open about them! I will think on this today! 🙂

  4. I took a personality test a few years ago and one of the things that it came up with was that I am the type of person who blows up easily (ugh) and spews everything out, and then feels better. Afterwards, I can’t imagine why others are giving my the silent treatment or crying in the corner…I don’t think of the hurt I’ve caused by my outburst. I don’t hold a grudge and I get over things quickly and easily, but not everyone is like that. And I can’t imagine why!!! Thanks for sharing this. Love your humor.

    1. Thank you for sharing that! I think it can be so hard to not understand where other people are coming from unless we make ourselves. Then we can get to work and treat them better!

  5. Sarah,
    This: “No, I can’t control other peoples’ actions, but I can control my reaction.” I constantly have to remind myself of this so I can relate to your words…and God does have a sense of humor…I’m learning to laugh more…Happy New Year 🙂

  6. Yes! Thank you for being so transparent. I love your focusing on allowing your words to SPEAK LIFE! It is something that can be hard at times, but it truly makes a difference. We may be the only life inspiring person in some people’s lives.

  7. Sarah, love this slice of life post…and all three of your questions…”Do my words speak life? Is my tone soothing? Am I showing love to those around me?” Our life is just a vapor, oh, that the Spirit of Christ within me would constantly take authority over my flesh and my emotions…a daily surrender to Him for sure 🙂

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