ANGER seems to be at the root of the senseless violence confronting our nation today.
People are angry. Many of them do not even know why. Most of us have no clue how to deal with them. How would YOU deal with a monstrously angry person?
I remember playing basketball with my boys one afternoon. A car pulled into our driveway and a man bounded straight for me. He cursed me profusely and kept saying something about his mother. I didn’t know if he had a weapon. I had the sudden impression, “Look down.”
He yelled at the top of my head for another minute or two. When he finished, I asked him, “Are you finished?” He ranted another minute or so.
Within 3 minutes he had calmed completely down, apologized about his misunderstanding, and left.
Here is what will work for you in a similar situation:
1. Assume a non-defensive posture.
- Anger is a bluff. Animals use it to frighten their enemies and rivals. When they sense their enemy is non-threatening, they retreat. I guess that’s why the Lord impressed me to “look down.”
- Our natural tendency is to “ratchet and match it.” They get loud, we get loud. They show anger, we show anger. Bad idea. Look down, look away, look settled. They will begin to feel foolish for such an outward tantrum. “A soft answer turns away wrath.” (Prov. 15:1)
2. Listen for the seed of injustice.
- Something has offended them. Something has been considered “wrong” in their eyes. It has grown huge and perhaps been brewing for months or even years. In this case, it was a vicious rumour against his mother (I knew nothing about it).
- Get past the profanity, the angry rhetoric, and listen carefully for the seed thought that everything is based upon. When they stop yelling, correct their misinformation or apologize for your injustice toward them.
3. Recognize the signs of substance influence.
- A little alcohol can really loosen someone’s mouth. Blood shot eyes, dilated pupils, and other physical signs clue you that it is useless to try to reason with them.
- The important thing in dealing with a “loaded” person is to get away from them by any means. Leave the home or the area. Don’t argue, chastise, or seek to reform them. Let them come “down” and then you may be successful in reaching them.
4. Move in the power of “honor.”
- Many angry people seek respect. The rage, the challenging, and the language are all motivated by frustration with their success in life.
- Get their first name. Give them yours. Try to shake their hand. Show them respect, even when they don’t deserve any. It will disarm them and take away their whole objective.
Guess what? It worked!
These four simple strategies may come in handy for you, also. Teach them to your family and your children. Prepare yourself mentally for that scenario.
Anger is becoming epidemic, and knowing how to deal with an angry person could actually save your life.