Quick to listen

By Dave Henning / July 29, 2016

“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.”- James 1:19-20 (NIV)

In the final chapter (13) of Anger, Dr. Gary Chapman cautions against two common approaches used to respond to an angry person.  In addition, neither approach involves being quick to listen.

1.  Trying to put a cap on the other person’s anger.  Dr. Chapman identifies this approach as “perhaps the worst way to respond to an angry person.”  Gary likens this approach to taking two sips from a bottle of soda, screwing the cap back on, then shaking the bottle vigorously.  Bottled up anger produces the same messy results.

Therefore, momentary calm comes at a high price.  Although you may not like the way an angry person speaks to you, positive results occur from sharing anger.  Look beyond the physical manifestations of anger to the heart of the matter- what the person is angry about.  Listening enables anger to be processed effectively.

2.  Mirroring the behavior.  Dr. Chapman strongly advises against mirroring the behavior of an angry person.  That’s because the situation doesn’t need two people spiraling out of control.  Furthermore, Gary explains:

“An angry person who is out of control does not need someone who will fight with him, but someone who will wade through the smoke to get at the root of the angry person’s behavior. . . . An angry person can burn all night if you continue to throw gasoline.  But when you listen as the anger burns, eventually the fire of his anger will burn out.”

Today’s question: How has Dr. Chapman’s book challenged and changed your thinking about anger?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog:  “A lot of waiting”

Coming Monday: the new Short Meditation, “Step by step”

Note: Anger will be added to the Annotated Bibliography on Thursday, August 4th

About the author

Dave Henning

Leave a comment:

Call Now Button