Responding to Other People’s Anger

“If your enemy is hungry, then give him bread to eat and if your enemy is thirsty, give him water to drink, for you will heap burning coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you.”  Proverbs 25:21-22


There are days when you receive bad news, you process it and deal with it.  You realize it is may be difficult but God is on our side and there is nothing that is too big for Him.  Then there are the everyday problems that seem to cut us to the core.  They are trivial, but feel like a ton of bricks drop fell on us and we can’t get out.


A few things were going on that were causing me some stress.  I was given a work project that was requiring me to work more hours and my mother had been having some serious health issues.  Despite being tired and having some worrisome thoughts on these matters, I wasn’t having a difficult time.  I prayed and gave my cares to the Lord.  Then a small matter occurred with my neighbor and I lost my all sense of civility.


Southern California has been baptized with lots of rain (thankfully) but it wreaked havoc on our yard.   One morning,  when I had some free time, I decided to clean the front walkway and backyard.  I planned for this to take 30 minutes the most, but it ended up being 90 minutes of total work.


I was raking the leaves and after about 10 minutes, I realized that this task would take hours before I could clear it out.  So I decided to use our leaf blower.  Leaf blowers are annoying and loud but are helpful for bigger jobs.  It was 10:00 in the morning on a weekday, so I figured I was in the clear to use it.  After seeing some progress, I also decided to do some other gardening and bought 6 bags of mulch.  One bag weighed 30 pounds.  I loaded them into the cart and into the car and dragged each bag to the back yard.   My arms and back throbbed in pain.  


Several hours later I came home with my daughter from her school and had to begin my other job’s work.  My neighbor saw me come home.  Not more than a couple of minutes of us pulling into the garage,  I received this text message from our neighbor.  It was rude, accusatory and unsettling.  She was complaining about me using the leaf blower.  The gist of the text was she wanted me to tell my lazy husband (her words) that if she could pick up the leaves without using a leaf blower, he should be able to as well.  There are leaves all over her yard because of it and that she threw them all back over our fence (there was trash from her yard happen to appear with the leaves too).  So she insulted my husband who wasn’t even there.  She attacked my family.  I was shaking from the anger.


I wanted to text her back some salty words and give her a piece of my mind.  But every time I began to type the text, my hands shook so much, I would drop the phone.  I knew I needed to put the phone down, take a breath and calm down.  Thankfully I prayed and waited several hours before I responded to her text.  


All I kept hearing was “hands and feet of Jesus”.  Honestly, I didn’t want to be when I felt attacked.  But I knew, deep down, attacking her was not the way to go.  Her boyfriend has cancer and she seems troubled herself.  We have to drive past their place to leave our home every day.  In everyday life,  we don’t need to talk to them for anything, but I know I didn’t want there to be any issues between us.


So I reached for my phone and asked the Holy Spirit to write the words for me.  I responded by apologizing for the leaves going into her yard and how I never would intentionally blow them into their yard on purpose and I offered to clean them up. 


She responded back with an apology and how she is overwhelmed cleaning and taking care of her boyfriend having cancer.


So, if I went off on her, it wouldn’t have solved or proved anything.  It would have created animosity and enemies.  I am so thankful, that I chose God’s way instead of mine.   


Lesson Learned:  It is difficult, but more beneficial to be the bigger person, than getting sucked into a useless drama.



“Dear Heavenly Father,  help me to control the anger that wells up when drama comes up in our earthly lives.  Remind me of what truly matters, being the hands and feet of Jesus.  Give me courage to do the right thing that temporarily feeling good, by getting someone back.  Help me see that people are damaged and hurting and to offer encouragement.  In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”


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