Emotions and Truth: How to Grow Kindness in the Middle of Frustration

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:32 ESV

Tears stung my eyes and anger burned in my chest. I felt wronged and hurt. The hurt gave birth to anger and frustration. All I wanted to do was lash out. My mind reeled with what to say and my tongue prepared for the lashing it was about to administer. Yet my lips felt involuntarily sealed, like God held His hand over my mouth. In the silence my brain reigned in my wonky emotions.

He didn’t mean to hurt my feelings. Saying hurtful things will only make it worse. I repeated to myself over and over again.

Don’t get me wrong, I felt hurt and I needed to talk to my husband about what happened so I would not have unrealistic expectations and so he would avoid hurting my feelings again. However lashing out in anger and frustration would not have done any good. Reminding myself of all the times he had hurt me in the past would certainly fuel my anger, but it would not assuage my hurt feelings. Instead reminding myself of who my husband is typically – a good man, someone who takes great care of our kids and myself – helps me frame my response.

So how do we talk truth to our emotions?

  1. Keep quiet. Wait to speak until we can calm down or we have time to consider the best way to proceed when we are frustrated or hurt.
  2. Think about why we are feeling hurt. Are we feeling hurt because someone pointed out something about us that we don’t like? Was someone thoughtless? Are we being misunderstood? What is causing the hurt feelings?
  3. Tell ourselves the truth. What is true about the person who hurt us? What is true about God? He will bring justice. What is true about ourselves?
  4. Ask God to help us. Ask God to help us keep our mouths shut. Trust Him to help us remain quiet and to give you understanding so that it is easier to be kind.
  5. Be kind. Do the hard work of chasing kindness. Don’t retaliate, but trust God to give you wisdom and strength to get through.

Keep quiet during struggles is difficult. What do you need to do be kind the things are rough?