Tag: Frustration

When People Frustrate Us

You’re frustrated. The conversation goes horribly. Tardiness becomes the norm. A person nitpicks our actions. You and I have a list of what frustrates us.

Frustration raises the levels of our emotions and defenses. In the heat of the moment, some of us want to retaliate. Others of us avoid the situation while slowly seething with anger. Some of us utilize passive aggressiveness.

Proverbs 14:29 says, “Whoever is patient has great understanding, but one who is quick-tempered displays folly.” The key to overcoming frustration is seeing the big picture. Patience invites us to realize the grace God has given us and therefore have the wisdom to respond well to the other person.

Today, you might get frustrated with a person. Ask yourself these four questions before you take any actions:

1. What’s my preference vs. problem?

It’s important to categorize our frustration. Preferences emphasize opinions. Problems deal in terms of facts and guidelines. When our preferences get mixed up with problems, we focus on how we want to change the person to fit our needs rather than helping them mature.

2. What’s my role vs. theirs?

Often, our frustration comes from a lack of communication. We have not shared our expectations. Frustration causes us to assign motivation to a person with them filling in the blanks. Deciphering our roles helps us honestly assess the situation clearly.

3. Where are they on their journey of growth?

Our frustration with people can cause us to forget their growth. A person may have come a long way on an issue, but they have triggered us to forget. Subjective grace overlooks issues that do not bother us, but can magnify the ones that do. The conflicts we have with people may not adequately understand their journey.

4. How ready is the person to hear what I have to say?

We play over and over in our mind the conversation we would love to have. You could have the perfect argument to the person in their place. If our frustration causes us to confront, then the person may miss what we have to say. Ultimately, this has to do with trust. Can the person see that you are invested in the well-being of their lives to hear you?

When you get frustrated with a person, take a moment to pause and see the situation. Asking one of these questions could make the difference in how you approach the person. What other insights have helped you when you get frustrated with others?

Photo credit by Josue Bieri.

Don’t Let the Sun Go Down

I heard this verse frequently recited growing up. A person in a wise, gentle tone would say, “Do not let the sun go down on your anger.” Ephesians 4:26 sounded like idyllic relational advice. You can imagine a couple of fifty years of marriage mentioning this verse as advice. Scripture passages like this make sense until you find yourself in the heat of the moment.

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Anger rarely meets us at predictable times. We experience frustrations for a variety of reasons. Our plans get re-routed. People say hurtful words. You and I can get forgotten or overlooked. A simple gaze of the political banter on social media can inflict rage on us.

The question for us has less to do with, “Will we get angry?” but rather, “How we will respond to the anger?”

Paul in Ephesians communicates the realities of Christ with us. The Gospel, the Good News of Christ’s death and resurrection, revolutionize our relationships. Through the grace He has offered us in forgiveness, we can extend the love He has offered to us to each other. The Gospel transforms our reaction to anger.

I sometimes think we make assumptions about verses like Ephesians 4:26 without unpacking what it means for our lives. Klyne Snodgrass in his Commentary on Ephesians makes this observation:

The text (Eph. 4:25-27) assumes that people will make us angry, but anger must not take up residence. If given a place, it infects and mutates into further resentment and hostility. If given the place, it becomes the avenue the devil uses to cause sin. For that reason, it must be shown the door rather quickly.

The passage does not deny our experience of anger; rather it calls us not to let anger fester. As one of my professors Dr. Ron Hall would say, “We deal with these issues as close to the occurrence as possible.”

Anger left unchecked in our lives can lead us to other sins:
Holding a grudge and remaining bitter towards another.
Taking revenge.
Gossiping about other people.
Lacking kindness in our response to other people.
Often, it can place our interests above others.

So what does it look like to not let anger fester? I used to make the assumption that I had to resolve conflicts right at the moment. Sometimes that makes sense to applying this verse.

Other times though not letting the sun go down on your anger means taking space in the heat of the argument. Instead of further escalation, we recognize that we cannot resolve the issue in our current situation. Both people realize that they need time to calm down and then continue the discussion on a resolution.

The wisdom of this verse requires us recognizing our pattern of anger. Christ’s grace helps us not give into our adverse reactions and passive aggressiveness. On the contrary, knowing the truth about ourselves especially what jolts us halts us from making poor decisions. We can ask Christ and trusted friends to help see the situation clearly as opposed to being swayed by our emotions.

What anger has festered in your life? How has Christ challenged you not to let the sun go down on your anger? You may want to take the time to read and reflect on Ephesians 4:25-26.

Photo credit by Kasper Bertelsen.

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