Many years ago, my husband took our family to get ice cream. As we were going around the parking lot, we found an empty parking space which was just a few feet from our car. As we were getting ready to turn into it, lo and behold, a car from the opposite angle, from the other end of the parking lot came flying down and intercepted our plans.
What would you do? How would you respond in a situation like that? It was quite a maneuver to watch how skillfully the other car came down the road. Here is what my husband did:
As he was turning into the space, the other car was also turning in. My husband graciously reversed our car and allowed the other car to take the space. It was amazing how ungrateful these people were. I wonder if they remember that evening in the 1980s when we went to get ice cream. What would have happened if my husband demanded the space, since he was so much closer to it than the other car was?
We can respond to people who offend us in many different ways. Most people will become angry. Some will have a pity party. Some may even take legal action. There will be those who will use obscene language. How would God have us respond?
I remember another time, I pulled into a parking place at a store. As I got out, there was an older man and woman who were going toward the car next to mine. The man started complaining to me. He said I was parked too close to his car. I looked at my car and saw the my tires were on the line or inside the line, but my car didn't appear to be too close to his car. He was kind of angry and I was starting to get defensive. But then I remembered that my defensiveness is not going to resolve this problem. So, I softened up and asked the man if I should repark my car, to which he replied, 'no'.
A lot of people have this idea of entitlement and other people get in the way of what they want and violate their desires, to which these people react in anger. The Bible has a lot to say about anger. Read the book of Proverbs. A quiet answer can turn away someone's anger. None of us has a right to be defensive or vengeful. It is like pouring gasoline on a fire.
Next time someone is angry with you, whether their reason for being angry is valid or not, think about the way to respond to it. Keep in mind that a man's anger does not work the righteousness of God. When we fight fire with fire, nobody wins.