Ever been around an injured animal, especially one that is normally sweet, lovable and affectionate? Their usual docile demeanor can suddenly turn mean, can’t it? And it happens to people, too.
They can lash out at ones they love for seemingly no reason, at times when it’s least expected. And sometimes their venom or claws are aimed at us. We get blindsided by their response and it hurts. We feel betrayed and wonder what we might have done wrong.
The good news is that their response is rarely about us and almost always about the pain that someone or life has heaped on them. That doesn’t change the sting we feel but perhaps it can help us react less dramatically.
Hurt people hurt people. And they can be anywhere. In our own home, church, club, school or job location. So what do we do when we get the brunt of their anger?
First, try to understand. You may or may not be in a position to respond or help but perhaps you know enough or can find out enough to back off and let them be because you get why they so suddenly reacted the way they did.
Second, pray for them. They probably need some divine intervention and God can certainly help them sort out their conflict or bring people into their lives to help.
Third, listen if they’ll let you. If you have a relationship with them, let them talk and give them a healthy place to talk about their angst. You may need to set a time limit and a boundary for how often they can tell you their story, but listen as much as you can.
Finally, point them to help. That might be to God, to a counselor, to you or another friends who they trust. Sometimes the anger is a cry for more. Be that or help them get to a safe place.
Who’s hurting in your world these days? It just could be that someone has hurt them, too. Let them know you care.