James 1:19-20, “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.”
Icebergs are giant pieces of ice floating in the ocean. But, what we can see with our eyes is just a tiny part of what lies beneath the surface. Anger is like an iceberg — we can easily see the tip, but it’s difficult to see the underlying emotions that often stem from fear, frustration, and disappointment. Essentially, anger is a secondary response to a primary emotion.
When we start to feel that familiar surge of raw emotion swirling inside, what should we do? Today’s verse gives us two helpful tools: show self-control and listen well. How do we exhibit self-control when the match of fear and frustration ignites the flames of anger? Press PAUSE and ASK: “What’s this really about? Why am I mad?” Then CHOOSE not to give in to our initial reaction or lash out at others.
How do we listen well? We stop crafting responses in our heads and LISTEN intently to UNDERSTAND their perspective. And, we LISTEN for God’s voice as we pray so we can UNDERSTAND the action we need to take.
Don’t let secondary emotions like anger cloud the real issue. When you deal with what lies below the surface, you’ll find that the “tip of the iceberg” quickly dissipates, allowing you to move forward and navigate through the peaceful waters of faith.
Dear God, Please show me what underlying emotions are surfacing as anger. Help me to press pause, listen well, and seek Your perspective before reacting. In Jesus’ name, Amen.