The answer to my dilemma is in the third sentence in the paragraph above - living according to biblical standards. Jesus expects me to live according to His teachings. So, according to the Bible:
- People are going to make me angry but I am not to let it get the better of me. I must not let anger cloud my thinking. As Proverbs 29:22 says, an angry person starts fights and commits all kinds of sin.
- Keep it to myself. It is tempting to tell others all about it in order to gather support for my side. Seeking godly advice is one thing, but gossip is another. (Leviticus 19:16)
- Keep quiet. Sometimes it is smarter not to speak at all while I am angry. I should wait until I have had time to calm down and think clearly. I grew up being told to count to ten before I respond. I didn't understand it then but I see the wisdom in it now. James 3:5 tells us that what we say in the heat of the moment can cause a great deal of harm. A word spoken in anger is just like a tiny spark that starts a forest fire. It can't be taken back once it has left your mouth.
- Pray. I should let go of the worry and frustration about the situation, pour it all out to God, thank Him for His care and experience His peace. I don't understand His supernatural peace but I know that He gives it in abundance when I ask for help. (Philippians 4:6-7)
- Jesus said that we should love those disagreeable people and pray for them. (Matthew 5:44) I find this difficult to do. I often have to spend some quiet time before I begin. However, once I begin to pray for someone, it soon becomes impossible to hold on to the anger.
- James taught that we should go to that person and confess the unbiblical thoughts that may have popped into our heads and then to pray for the healing of that relationship. (James 5:16)
- I must trust in God with everything I am. I can't rely on what seems right to me, but if I look for His will in the situation, He will show me what is right. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
- Sometimes a peaceful resolution won't be reached. Jesus did not recommend the "eye for an eye" system in disputes. He said "Don't resist." He said that if I am sued for the shirt off my back, I should give my coat too. If someone wants me to carry their burden for a mile, I should carry it two. I should go out of my way to appease that person. (Matthew 5:38-41) If my enemy is hungry, I should feed him and leave the revenge to God. Revenge doesn't belong to me. (Romans 12:19-21) This may be the hardest part of His teaching because it involves humility.
God produces supernatural results. When we live lives that are pleasing to God, even our enemies will be at peace with us. (Proverbs 16:7)
" So we can say with confidence,
The Lord is my helper,
so I will have no fear.
What can mere people do to me? (Hebrews 13:6 NLT)
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