Anger makes you smaller, while forgiveness forces you to grow beyond what you were.’
The strange paradox of anger is in its capacity to puff you up and make you feel big. As we listen to our raging self-talk we see ourselves as giants of justice. But all the while, cooler heads watch you become very small-minded and childish in your behaviour.
Several years ago we went through some difficulties with a church member who had become very divisive and slanderous toward myself, as well as others in leadership. As we attempted to do conflict resolution, there were several of the team that had to decide between letting anger or forgiveness be their ruling principle.
It was the guiding direction of forgiveness and reconciliation that caused us to grow beyond what we entered into the conflict with. We need conflict in life to drive us deep into a dependency of God’s grace.
It is not surprising that the church can be a hot bed for anger and resentments to fester. We can be so focused on what we are trying to accomplish that we get short-tempered and inconsiderate to the very people we are supposed to love.
Conflict management always starts with a choice about which path to take.
It was true in Jesus’ life and it is true in ours. After the great Heavenly affirmation of his baptism, the Spirit led him into the desert where he faced a satanic attack of temptation. He came out of that conflict with victory and an empowerment to demonstrate God’s Kingdom with signs and wonders.