But now you rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. -Colossians 3:8
The past couple weeks I have been praying and fasting (not food just sweets or I would lose my salvation) to overcome anger. I have not seen much change. I still get angry, probably more than ever since my sugar addiction is starving. And I still fail to practice patience and self-control much of the time. God has shown me that the reason I am not making progress is because I am not seeing the issue clearly.
This is my perspective of the struggle. Anger is a sin. Therefore, I feel guilty when I get angry. I am not a good mom if I get angry with my kids. I failed if I am angry. God’s view of anger is much different. Anger is a healthy response to fear and pain. It motivates action. It is how we respond to anger that may be a sin.
I have been trying not to experience a normal human emotion, because I view the emotion as a sin. The emotion is a normal and healthy feeling for me. The problem is how I react to this emotion. Instead of running from my anger, I need to change how I react to it. There is a Godly way to handle anger. I never learned that way. I saw two things growing up- repression and explosion.
Repression is denying your true emotions. It is burying them. Some of us bury them so quickly we don’t even realize we had an emotion. We just know something is unsettled. The problem is the unresolved anger remains eating us from the inside. It can build like a pressure cooker until one wrong touch leads to an explosion. Or we can implode into depression, withdrawal and isolation. Some of us may vent the repressed anger by gossiping about the person who hurt us. Some may use sarcasm as a slow steady release of anger. We may avoid the person and reject them to pay them back. However, none of these releases resolve our anger or lead to forgiveness. Instead they add fuel to the flames of resentment and compound relational issues.
Explosion reacts with angry outbursts. These can include profanity, insults, verbal assaults or possibly physical abuse. They alienate other people from us often those we love the most. Angry outbursts destroy any chance of intimacy, and prevent others from being able to trust us. We become unpredictable even for ourselves. We are like a ticking time bomb with no control over the clock.
These two failing options are not the only ways to react to anger. Now God has revealed to me a new option, and I am going to share that with you. Here are some steps to resolving anger.
- STOP!!! Take deep breaths. Before you do anything stupid choose to respond rather than react. You may need to remove yourself from the environment for a couple of minutes (or hours).
- Be honest about your anger. Admit to yourself you are angry. (Remember it is not a sin to be angry. Thinking that will influence you to deny it.) Be honest about why you are angry. Are you afraid of something? Did something hurt you? Is it an unmet expectation?
- Pray. Quickly ask God to help you use self-control and patience. Tell God what you are thinking and feeling. Ask him to help you see the situation through his eyes, and to remind you that he is everything you need.
- Focus on scripture that applies. When Jesus was in the desert he overcame the devils temptation by quoting the Word of God. Scripture is our sword to move forward and gain ground in a spiritual attack. Here are some scriptures that are quick and easy to memorize. A man’s wisdom give him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense (Prov. 19:11). The end of the matter is better than the beginning, and patience is better than pride (Ecc. 7:8). A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control (Prov. 29:11).
- Follow through with a Godly response. Healthy confrontation which is intended to restore the relationship and deepen intimacy. When you did it made me feel . If our kids did something rebellious we need to respond with discipline done out of love NOT anger. The difference is loving discipline teaches. Angry discipline punishes. One is to get even the other is to promote character. Love is not a lack of disciple.
- Forgive the offense. Ask God to help you forgive. I will write about what forgiveness is and is not in my next post. It is a complicated subject, but one we must learn to practice out of obedience to God.
This is a whole new way to respond for me. It requires being humble rather than prideful. The hardest thing on earth as far as I’m concerned. It requires practicing the fruit of the spirit. It requires God’s help. Lets ask him.
Thank you Jesus that I can do all things through you, because you give me strength. Thank you that I can rid myself of anger, rage, malice, slander and profanity by the power of you Holy Spirit. I have the fruit of the spirit inside of me, and I choose today to bear the fruit of patience and self-control in my life. In you mighty name, Amen.