Why can't everyone be like me? Underlying our anger is pride. It is pride that our way of doing things, our expectations, our responses, our standards, etc. are the best. In order to be patient with others and not respond in anger we must acknowledge two things to be true: 1) We desire an easy and problem-free life. When this desire is thwarted, we likely will pounce in anger on those who we believe are keeping us from experiencing our desire. 2) People are not the same as we are and they are not always capable of handling things the same way we are capable.
We often possess skills and abilities (at least we think we do) that others may not have. It is also true that we do not possess skills and abilities that others possess. Here are some examples: 1) We may be able to plan well. We know what and when to do things. Others may not be able to identify what needs to be done or rightly estimate how long things will take. 2) We may be good at details. Our work is error-free, but not everyone is able to see their mistakes. 3) We remember what we are supposed to do and we do it. Others may be easily distracted or may forget.
The problem is that we expect others to have the same abilities that we have, but in reality they do not. If we forget this, we will be angry often.
Anger takes EVERYTHING personally. Every act is an attempt to make our lives miserable or an attempt to prevent us from achieving our desired goal. We react in anger because we do not believe that we would have made the same mistake or failed in the same way.
Ed Welch gives a few questions and thoughts that help us respond in patience and grace rather than judgment and anger. 1) What happened? Why didn't you do what you said you would do? 2) Help me to understand what you were thinking when you did that. 3) How can I help you the next time this happens?
We all have failings and short-comings in areas where others have strengths. We need to be aware that our strengths and abilities can potentially prevent us from seeing and learning from the strengths and abilities of others. We are NOT strong and capable in everything.
Romans 15:1 reminds us that where we have strengths, we are obligated to bear with the failings of the weak rather than pleasing ourselves. Anger is rooted in seeking to please ourselves rather than bearing with others who cannot do what we expect them to do.
What standard are we holding others to that they are incapable of achieving? How is this drawing out the anger in our hearts?
Romans 15:1; Ephesians 4:1-3