Anger · Responding to trials

Who Me, Overreact?!

In case you missed it, this series about David, Nabal and Abigail began here.

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It’s so easy for me to feel defeated in my Christian life, but it’s only when I”m listening to the lies of the Devil…

You did that and you call yourself a Christian? What a poor excuse of a follower of Christ you are! You fail again and again!

Then I open the Scriptures and am reminded that I’m not alone in the desire and occasional defeat as I walk this road of a follower of Jesus Christ.

As we read the story of David approaching Nabal with the request for food and provision for him and his men, we find that Nabal responds with anger and refusal. Even though there was plenty of food at this time of sheep shearing, he selfishly clung to what was his. David was so angered that he told his whole army to strap on their swords. They were going to kill all the men of Nabal’s household and employment!

If you’ve ever been really, really hungry, you might understand David’s anger, but does it sound a little harsh to KILL a host of men because you’re denied a meal?

Yes.

It was too great a punishment and David would have been guilty of the blood of these men if Abigail hadn’t wisely stepped in to stop him.

But let’s go back to David for a minute and consider his situation.

  • He is Hungry. How long had it been since he and his men had eaten?!
  • He is Angry. He was to be the next king, and he is insulted by the refusal of foolish Nabal who responded so rudely.
  • He is Lonely. Samuel, his mentor and friend had just died. He surely was grieving this loss.
  • He is Tired. He is running from King Saul who was set on killing David.

Hungry, Angry Lonely, Tired. Making an acronym from those four words, we get the word…

HALT!!

The combination of those emotions can cause anyone to act foolishly. Instead of proceeding, we must HALT.

Then what?

Pray.

Like David, if we find any combination of those emotions, we are in a dangerous place. David was spared his foolish decision of killing these men, thanks to Abigail. We learn from his example that we do not have to let a harsh, badly behaved person turn us into a harsh badly behaved woman!

We may not have an Abigail to step in, but we have our God to run to for help and direction. If we will stop and receive God’s counsel in His Word and prayer, He can guide us to the next step in wisdom, rather than our fleshly response. Wisdom will give God glory. Foolishness will get us into deeper trouble.

I might add that it’s easy to act impulsively to people who are not even the ones angering us. Innocent bystanders who happen to cross our path at the wrong time could get the brunt end of our emotional outburst. Have you ever lashed out at your husband because someone outside your home insulted you? It’s easy to take out our frustrations on those we love the most!

Where do your emotions find you today? Do you need to HALT before proceeding? We may be angered like David was, but we can also take wise counsel in the same way he did and be spared the foolishness of overreacting and sinning as a result.

Just as we can be tempted to respond harshly, like David, we can also learn to HALT!

Anger · Conflict

How To Respond When People Irritate Us

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We had an evangelist friend who would often say, The ministry would be fun if it weren’t for people! We are all probably tempted to say that about life in general! Life would be fun if it weren’t for people! Why?

  • People irritate us!
  • People get in our way!
  • People do sinful things that hurt us!
  • People say sinful things that wound our hearts!
  • People don’t do what we want them to do!

This has been the case since the beginning of Adam’s family. As we look at I Samuel 25 we find an exciting story with a quiet plea, an angry, blood-thirsty man, and a beautiful, wise woman. Are you familiar with David and Nabal?

David was angered because Nabal wouldn’t feed him and his men after they’d been kind to him. This infuriated David so much that he set on a rampage to kill all of Nabal’s household. His reactions was a bit overboard, right? Did he have a right? Was there a cause for his anger?

Let’s look inside the details of this event.

Who is involved in this story?
Nabal – Scripture tells us in I Samuel 25 that Nabal was a rude, foolish man. He will live out the meaning of his name.
David – David has been told by God’s servant, Samuel that he would be the next king. David is a warrior, having grown up as the youngest son in his family, he learned to care for the sheep and defend them against attacks by bears and lions.
Agigail – She is wise and beautiful, but has the sorrow of being married to foolish Nabal.

At the onset of this story, we can learn some valuable lessons:

First, God made you and fashioned you just as you are. He knew that David was a small, insignificant lad who could be a mighty warrior for Him. Even though he had been denied the privilege of being “measured” by Samuel to be the next king, God knew where he was and He knew what he was.
God knows where and what you are, too! He has equipped you to fulfill His will, as He did David. He will protect you and guide you so that will can come to fruition.

Second, we don’t have to plan or scheme to get revenge. God can and will handle the difficult people that need chastening.

Third, God is sovereignly at work, even when we cannot see that He is. We can trust Him to help us if we will wisely wait. This is clearly seen in both David and Abigail’s situations.

Lastly, we cannot control others’ actions and words, but we can control our own.

Our precious Savior is our supreme example in this kind of suffering. Remember that he was misunderstood, verbally abused, lied about, and then crucified for the sins WE have committed. I Peter 3 tells us ~

For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:

22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:

23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:

24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.

Whoever it is that is irritating you today, remember to look at Christ’s example and suffer well. You don’t need to “let them have it.” There’s no benefit in trying to figure out a plan to get even. By the power of God, entrust the issue and the person to him. Quiet the anger by giving a soft answer that turns away wrath. (Proverbs 15:1) Watch God diffuse the situation and be glorified!

How would God have you to respond to the difficult person in your life so that you are following Christ’s example?