I bet you know how to accelerate a disagreement into a full-blown fight. I bet you know the buttons that you can push on a spouse, parent, or child to jack up emotion and “get into it.” Are you aware of your buttons, the ones others can push to get you upset? Do you have insecurity buttons? Can people get you going by referring to your lack of educational attainments? Referring to your weight? Hair loss? Prison record? Financial struggles? Driving skills?
Do you have enough self-awareness to feel the rush of anger in your belly, blood to your cheeks, and lack of oxygen in your brain? Are you able to stop an argument before it starts? “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1).
It starts with deciding to like yourself. Why? Because you’re so fabulous? No. Rather, because Jesus likes you. If you allow the gospel to affirm your identity, if you allow the Word of God to assure you of your eternal worth to God, you won’t be so insecure and vulnerable to the slights, slings, and arrows that come at you each day. The gospel of Christ also helps you to decide to like other people even when they say potentially hurtful things.
You can cut other people some slack because God has been so patient with you. You can decide that saving a relationship is a bigger win than venting anger in an argument.