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Does Your Yelling Make You Look, Uh, Crazy?

Is it me or is our culture just louder these days? I know that young children all seem to have anger issues so they have to scream every time they cross their lawn, give their opinion or call to a friend. Okay, so maybe they're just kids but they sometimes appear out of their minds. We parents certainly can feel that way.

However, the upping of volume isn't limited to the younger set.

Sitcoms are typically filled with people yelling at each other, sometimes just to be heard and other times because the show isn't very good and they need to cover that up. Much of today's music requires musical yelling or shouting for an entire song and some of those songs are actually about love.

Even some pastors and other speakers seem to think that every phrase requires them to talk and yes, yell at the audience the entire time. In church it sometimes appears as though they believe the entire audience is out of God's favor and need a good scolding. Sidewalk preachers will yell at passers-by, perhaps thinking their loud words will have more impact if screamed.

Have you seen some of the services on YouTube where the leaders jump up and down, yell hard to understand things at the top of their lungs, dance as though a swarm of bees were released in their sanctuary and they'd just down a few too many Red Bulls. But hey, compared to some congregations, at least they're enthusiastic and actually moving.

Couples will often argue and sometimes it's at the top of their lungs, possibly believing that the higher the decibels the greater the understanding and impact. But in most cases screaming or berating can merely sound like someone out of control and perhaps apart from reality, not to be hurtful more than helpful.

Have you ever been in a group where someone got upset, even enraged about something or someone and basically screamed at the group? What happened? Usually, everyone gets pretty quiet. Yelling does have a way of gaining control, but usually it's a misguided strategy as well.

So, is yelling ever appropriate and effective? Yes. If one of your kids or someone else you love is unaware of immediate danger, then by all means yell. It can also help when we need to let off steam about grief, major disappointments or extreme injustice. But it's best when we're alone or with a trusted friend, not in front of people not involved or without fault.

Yelling at times can also be a positive response at a game we love or an excellent performance that we simply have to rave about. If we feel especially excited about our faith experience, child's abilities in actions or congratulating someone's special accomplishments, then by all means have a good yell.

But when yelling is more for us and won't really address the conflict or concern, a couple of other options are available. One, choose to take the high road, to talk about the conflict, to step aside together if in a group, and talk privately. If the other person appears to be in emotional or physical danger, call on someone else to help you care for them and get them to the kind of help they need.

Don't yell back. Be the adult. In any relationship setting, including marriage, offer some better options and own your part in the conflict. Ask for understanding, ("Help me understand") but don't first defend or criticize. It's easy to want to respond in the same way they do out of our own anger or disappointment but that will only extend the conflict.

James 1:19 in the New Testament simply, but wisely says, "Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for a person's anger does not bring about the righteousness that God desires."

Yes, someone's got to be in control and clearly a "soft answer" is usually better than a very loud one. Well, except when your team doesn't get that call you wanted in the last minute of play.


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