Stop, Look, Listen
By Rick Warren
— September 22, 2010
"A fool gives vent to his anger but a wise man keeps himself under control." Proverbs 29:11 (NIV)
"Anger, like every other emotion, is caused by the way you see a situation. If you want to control your anger, one way to do it is to change your point-of-view."
Why is it so important to keep our anger under control? Because uncontrolled anger can become a habitual way of responding to life. Pretty soon, your anger controls you instead of you controlling your anger.
The Book of Proverbs is filled with practical steps on how to control your anger. Let me share three. The easiest way to remember them is to remember a little phase that you may have learned as a child when you were taught to cross the street: Stop, Look, Listen.
1. Stop. Stop and think before you speak. I don't know why it is but angry words always seem to come easily. I know some people who, when they get angry, are witty, sarcastic, quick! But a sharp tongue is the quickest way to cut your throat.
Proverbs 14:17 (NIV) says, "A quick tempered man does foolish things." And Proverbs 15:1 (NIV) says, "A gentle answer turns away wrath but harsh words stir up anger." The starting point in dealing with anger is to stop and watch what you say.
2. Look. Look at the situation from God's point of view, not your point-of-view. That means be mature enough to overlook minor hurts, frustrations and insecurities. If somebody insults you, criticizes you, or puts you down, be mature enough to say, "It's not going to bother me." Proverbs 12:16 (NIV) says,"A man's wisdom gives him patience. It is his glory to overlook an offense."
Anger, like every other emotion, is caused by the way you see a situation. If you want to control your anger, one way to do it is to change your point-of-view.
3. Listen. Listen to the needs and hurts of those people that you're tempted to be angry against. Any angry person is just a hurting person. They're hurting inside, they're frustrated. When you listen to their needs, it's easier to respond and not get angry.
"Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry." (James 1:19 NIV) If you do the first two, the third will come automatically. If you are quick to listen and slow to speak, it is going to be automatic that you are slow to become angry.