Dealing with Anger

I want to look today at the sin of anger. Oh wait, anger is not a sin, it’s what I do as a result. Anger is an inevitable part of life. It cannot be avoided so we better learn to deal with it. Actually anger is a very helpful warning light on the “dashboard” of life. Ever driven a car when it overheats and the “idiot light” comes on warning you of a problem. Anger is like that. It is not a sin but it is a warning of a deeper problem. It shows that something is out of balance in our life.

 When anger controls me, I am headed for trouble. To “vent” on another person, to use anger to manipulate is destructive. James 1:20 tells us, “Gill’s anger doesn’t produce the righteousness of God.” 1Cor 13:5 says love is not easily angered. According to James 1:19, we are to be slow to speak and slow to anger. On the other side, “stuffing” our feelings is also destructive. Paul said in Eph 4:26-27 “Gill, be angry, and don’t sin. Gill must not let the sun go down on his wrath, neither is he to give place to the devil.” Deal with it right away so the devil doesn’t get a foothold. I read about a long distance trucker in Indiana. He was at a rest area coffee shop when three bikers came in and sat down at his table. As one ate the trucker’s burger, another helped himself to his fries and the third downed his soda. The trucker didn’t say a word but got up, paid his check and left. One biker commented to the waitress, “He sure wasn’t much of a man!” Her reply, “He’s not much of driver either. He ran over three motorcycles leaving the parking lot.” Now that may not have been the healthiest way for him to deal with his anger but at least he didn’t stuff it. Think of anger as jumping into a powerful sports car only to discover the brakes don’t work. You better be careful where it takes you and how the ride will end.

 Anger shows up early in the Bible. In Genesis 4, Cain became angry when Abel’s sacrifice was accepted and his isn’t. He didn’t deal with that anger properly and the result was murder. Jesus showed righteous anger with the vendors in the temple (Mark 11) and also with the religious leaders when He healed a man on the Sabbath (Mark 3). If my anger is projected at injustice and oppression it is healthy. If it revolves around self-interest, it will be unhealthy. Anger arises from impatience, abuse, jealousy, or unmet needs. All of those sources are focused on self; they are all rooted in pride.

Perhaps role models in our lives have taught us to react in anger. Most often this can be our fathers. But it is time to break that generational curse. Prov 4:27 warns us, “Gill must not turn to the right hand nor to the left, but he must remove his foot from evil.” In other words we are to live in balance. Vent or stuff: neither is healthy. The correct choice is “Trust”: trust in God and turn the situation over to Him. To achieve this requires me to guard my heart (Prov 4:23). Anger results from a mindset that life is all about me: my rights, my feelings, my pleasure. I heard about a woman who contracted rabies from a dog bite. The doctor broke the news to her that she was terminal and should get her worldly affairs in order. She took a piece of paper and began writing furiously. The doctor asked, “Is that your will?” “No,” she replied, “It’s all the people I want to bite.” Not a balanced reaction.

 The key to balance is to live restrained and controlled:

  1. Choose to walk in self-control. Gal 5:22-23 lists the fruit of Holy Spirit which includes self-control. Have you found yourself venting at your wife in a way you would never do with your boss? We can exercise the same self-control in all circumstances because the Holy Spirit resides in us. Phil 4:13 promises, “Gill can do all things through Christ, who strengthens him.”  Thomas Jefferson advised, “When angry count to 10; when very angry count to 100.” Mark Twain rephrased it to: “When angry count to 10; when very angry cuss.” You will have to decide which choice you will make.
  2. Deal with the small things. Otherwise they build into an explosion. The earlier I deal with the feelings of anger, the less damage they will do.
  3. Retrain your thoughts, your words, and your actions. Go back to those thoughts because they produce everything else. 2Cor 10:5 tells us we must take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.

 Jesus offers an invitation to a higher way of life. He does not try to accommodate the existing belief system of the world but turns those beliefs upside down (Acts 17:6). Our spiritual walk is not about getting by, but rather transformation. Rom 12:2 says, “Gill is not to be conformed to this world, but is to be transformed by the renewing of his mind, so that Gill may prove what is the good, acceptable and perfect will of God.”  Too often we spend our lives dealing with the bad fruit of our behavior and never dig deep enough to get to the root of the problem. Are you willing to go through whatever it takes to be free or do you want to stay in the mess you’re in for the rest of your life?

 How can I resolve feelings of anger? The key is through forgiveness:

  1. Extend and seek forgiveness of others.
  2. Forgive yourself.
  3. Be an agent of forgiveness.

 2Cor 5:17 Therefore if Gillis in Christ, heis a new creation. The old things have passed away. Behold, all things have become new.” I don’t have to live in bondage to my past. I have stepped into a new future that is not determined by my past. In Rev. 21:5, Jesus declares, “Behold, I am making all things new.” We don’t have to continue to live under the curse of anger. Have the courage to stand on the Word, not your feelings. Vent/ Stuff/ Trust. Only one road leads to life and peace. Which will you choose?

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2 Comments on “Dealing with Anger”

  1. PATRICIA Says:

    I am a christian woman, whom heart is sold out to Jesus. These last two days I’ve shown anger that I thought didn’t exist in me anymore. It hurt me terribly when it showed up. I repented to this guy because he canceled out on a date for his friend’s anniversay, which took me an hour to do my make up and he cancells like half hour before he was to pick me up. I do day care, one parent had me watching her baby and daughter for 5 full time days and I found out through the state they were only paying me for 2 full days for each child per week. I called her several time and left ugly messages no curse words but still they were not nice. I call the guy a coward because he left a message stating he wasn’t picking me up and wouldn’t answer the phone when I receive his message.
    Anyways, I called him today and apologized, and the parent called me and apoligized though she was upset with me calling her several times.
    My point is, I pray that God graces me and delivers me. Because I don’t like that feeling. I used to do this stupid stuff 8 years ago, it just hurts to see it resurface. Back then I didn’t care. But I do now. Thanks for listening.

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