Many of us were told lies when we were kids. An adult would go to put medicine on a scratched knee and they would say, “Now this will not hurt a bit.” We trusted them and they put the medicine on and “OUCH!” did it burn! Then they would say, “Well, of course, it’s going to burn a little bit.” They would tell us to be good little boys and girls so that a big, fat man with a red suit would come down the tiny hole in our chimney to bring us toys for Christmas. (Then they would vaguely mention from time to time something about a child born in a manger. That part was actually true yet somewhat overlooked). Then, many of us heard this lie, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”
The truth is: words can hurt very much. As an adult, I heard a variation of that quote that I believe is much more truthful: “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can break my heart.” Words can hurt. If we want to build winning relationships we must be aware of how damaging words can be.
Sometimes negative words come from joking and sometimes they come from anger. Those two are not necessarily exclusive. If we want to build winning relationships with our spouses, kids, and coworkers, we must learn to control our anger. In other words, patience is a fertilizer for winning relationships.
Let me just clarify: when I am talking about anger, I am talking about uncontrolled anger. There are some things we should be angry about. The number of senseless deaths that take place every year, mistreatment and abuse of people especially kids and the elderly, the number of people going without basic food and clean water, etc. However, our anger should be a controlled anger. Even Jesus got angry (Mark 11:15-17), but his anger was controlled, focused, and intentional to serve a specific purpose. Most of the time our anger is not. Ephesians 4:26, gives us some insight into how to handle anger; “’In your anger do not sin’: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry” (NIV). This verse describes an anger that is under control and intentionally dealt with.
Here is one tip for controlling your anger: think of your phone… No, I have not lost my mind. Think about it, when you are yelling and screaming out of anger (usually at someone you supposedly love) and all of the sudden the phone rings, how do you answer it? I bet it would be fair to say that the majority of you go through an immediate attitude adjustment and bring your voice under control before you answer your phone. So, the next time you are angry, just imagine your phone starts ringing and go ahead and make the adjustment before you speak and say something you will later regret.
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Tommy Lanham is a dynamic, award-winning speaker who has been training individuals and organizations to reach their God-given potential for 25 years. With a unique blend of Ziglar motivation and ragamuffin faith, Tommy delivers powerful, life changing messages filled with humor, hope, and enthusiasm.
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