When we believe we have been mistreated or when we experience disappointment related to an unmet need or want, our bodies prepare for action. It is the physiological response that we call anger. The most important key in managing anger is to better understand it. The emotion of anger is not a sin, but rather a natural, God-given physiological response to hurt, fear and frustration.
However, it is always important to remember that our initial or “automatic” response to anger may not be the most constructive. We need to watch our words and our actions so that they do not become a damaging expression of our pain.
The Scriptures give us a way to handle these hot emotions in our life. In Ephesians 4:32 it says, Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another just as God in Christ also forgave you. That really is the formula, and expanding on each of these points clearly will take a person to where they need to go in dealing with their anger response in their own life or toward someone who has expressed anger towards them.
It is vitally important to tell yourself the truth about anger:
- “I have been seriously and unjustly hurt. To feel angry about that is normal.”
- “To respond to my anger irrationally or aggressively will not serve any positive purpose.”
- “It is good to express my anger in a healthy, God-honoring fashion.”
- “Ultimately, God is in control and His judgment will prevail.”
Acknowledge your anger. When we fail to acknowledge our anger we run the risk of holding it in until it overflows or begins to destroy us physically, spiritually and emotionally. Remember, feelings that are buried alive do not die! Admitting to yourself, and to those around you, that you are experiencing anger will help you manage your response. Simply saying aloud that you are angry can help decrease the intensity of your feelings.
If you are a Christian, I have good news for you. You have the power of God through his Holy Spirit in your life. In Ephesians 4:31 the Scripture tells us that we are to let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor and evil speaking to be put away from us with all malice.
How have you handled your anger in a way that honored God? We’d love to hear your stories. Post your comments below.