Doing Life Together

We need to talkRevenge is an angry response to being treated in wrong ways, but it is not a godly response. Scripture tells us that revenge is the Lord’s and we need to leave it to him.

Revenge doesn’t solve anything anyway. It only ups the ante for more hate and anger, which negatively impacts the body, only serving to hurt the person seeking revenge. If you find yourself wanting revenge, these biblical prescriptions may help curb that urge.

  1. Be slow to speak and to become angry. “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” (James 1:19).
  2. Examine your heart. What do you desire? “A quick-tempered person does foolish things, and the one who devises evil schemes is hated” (Prov. 14:17).
  3. Find the lesson in the anger. Is there something that needs to be corrected, changed, or dealt with better? Look for the lesson. “Tremble and do not sin; when you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent” (Ps. 4:4).
  4. Observe your feelings. Acknowledge the feeling and then let it go. Practice calming techniques. “Better a patient person than a warrior, one with self-control than one who takes a city” (Prov. 16:32).
  5. Don’t allow your anger to escalate. “A hot-tempered person must pay the penalty; rescue them, and you will have to do it again” (Prov. 19:19).
  6. Regroup. “Fools give full vent to their rage, but the wise bring calm in the end” (Prov. 29:11).
  7. Have a big-picture perspective. Is your anger worth the relationship? It is more important to be right than to be merciful? “But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips” (Col. 3:8).
  8. Surround yourself with people who exercise self-control. “Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person, do not associate with one easily angered” (Prov. 22:24).


Excerpt from We Need To Talk by Linda Mintle (Baker Books, 2015)

We need to talkOne of the keys to resolving conflict is to keep anger in control, to stay calm and not allow anger to overtake you. Here are 10 tips to help that process:

  1. Use humor to break the tension. Nothing lightens the atmosphere of a fight or argument that an appropriate joke or use of humor. This is one of the best ways to settle things down.
  2. Ask yourself if there is any truth to what the other person is saying. It’s easy to go on the defensive when confronted. But instead of reacting with anger, pause and ask if there is any truth to what the person is saying.
  3. Express some affection or a word of caring during an argument. Adding a positive in the middle of a problem softens the blow.
  4. Use a momentary distraction to lower tension. You can say something like, “Your hair sure looks good today.” Or “I know we are fighting but I’m thinking about how much I love you.”
  5. Agree to one point of positive change. If you stay angry, you can’t think. So slow down that anger emotion and think about a change you could make that would help the situation.
  6. Be empathetic. Empathy keeps anger levels down. If you can see the other person’s perspective, you will better understand the person and their motivation.
  7. Change your negative thought to a positive one that makes you feel valuable. If you really struggle with angry thoughts that come from feeling inadequate or worthless, think about a time you were successful or did something positive. Better yet, think about how God values you.
  8. Tolerate distress and tension, knowing it won’t last forever. This is part of maturing.
  9. Focus on your response as a choice. You can harm or help.
  10. Check your physical and mental states. If you are tired, sick, hungry, anxious, overwhelmed, etc., you are more likely to respond poorly. Wait until you feel better to address an important issue.


Excerpt and adapted from We Need to Talk by Linda Mintle, Ph.D. (Baker Books, 2015)



fearFear is a warning system built into our bodies as a natural reaction to danger. It is healthy to feel fear in the face of danger. It acts like an alarm and prompts us to action. But when fear takes hold of our lives, it turns to worry and anxiety.

Anxiety takes a real danger and changes it to a possible one. Fear becomes a way to focus on the uncertainty of life, rather than the present moment. For example, you could get hit by a car, struck by lightening, lose your money in the stock market, etc. If you fear these things, you become anxious and worried.

This is why God has told us that He has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind. He doesn’t want us held hostage by the possibilities of danger. We can’t live in fear and have joy or peace.

So how do we live without allowing fear to enter our lives? Psalm 46 has answers:

1) Know who God is–He is a very PRESENT help in times of trouble. God is the creator of all things, all powerful, nothing is away from His watchful eye.

2) Know where God is–He in the middle of the trouble, the waters roar, the mountains shake, but God is in the midst. He is not absent in times of trouble. He is present, has not left you alone to deal with life.

3) Get your eyes off the uncertain circumstances–Don’t be moved by the trouble around you. Instead keep your eyes fixed on Him. Circumstances may create fear, but God has control and will walk you through those circumstances. Stay fixed on Him.

4) Remember God is working in the situation–He breaks the bow, cuts the spear, burns the chariots of fire. He will work it all for our good if we love and trust Him.

5) Be still. Wait and listen.

6) Know that He is God. Watch how He moves and works things out. Be amazed by what He does.

7) Worship Him–even before you know the ending, because praise takes care of that heaviness. He is in control and orders your steps.

How do we not live in fear? Know that the Lord Almighty is with us and our helper in times of trouble.

crossLast week, we heard about a co-pilot purposely taking down a plane with 150 people on board. In a moment, lives were lost.

One moment, a passenger was laughing with a fellow travel and the next, he was diving straight into the side of a mountain. Another was cuddling her child, then screams brought recognition of impending doom.

In a strange way, the tragedy focused my thoughts on this Holy Week. From palm branches waiving, people shouting, “ Hosanna” during the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, to the night Jesus was betrayed and later hung on the cross, much changed for His followers. Elation gave way to despair. The Christ suffered and was put to death. What must the witnesses thought?

Did they give in to momentary despair like the people in the airline must have done? Or did they try to remain optimistic, recalling the prophetic words of Christ and the Scriptures? In the natural, all appeared to be lost. The cup of suffering was not removed.

Philip Yancey, in his book, The Jesus I Never Knew, points out that when Christ gave breath to his last words, “My God, My God, Why have you forsaken me?” He used the word, “God” instead of “Abba” or “Father”. Christ felt abandoned from the Father during His darkest hour.

When tragedy strikes, that same sense of momentary abandonment is felt. But in the spiritual realm, the darkness of Good Friday eventually gives way to the light of Easter morning. Yancey says, Easter holds out the promise of reversibility. Destruction and even death can be reversed because of what Christ accomplished on the Cross. Easter is the starting point. It is a preview of an ultimate reality. Our present lives are the contradiction of what is to come.

So as the families of the German flight passengers try to make sense of senseless tragedy, and the rest of us struggle through our emotional “wreckage ”, Easter brings hope. If God could do what He did on Easter, then what more does He have for us eternally? Easter is a glimpse of eternity.

Yancey points out that the physical scars Christ suffered remained on His transformed body as a reminder that painful memories may never completely go away, but the hurt of those scars eventually will.  As we rebuild our lives from devastating times, remember that Holy Week reminds us that someday, we all get a new start. Tears will be gone. Suffering will be no more.

And that is the hope of the Resurrection.