When my children were young, I once got so angry with them that I threw a bowl of popcorn across the kitchen all over the floor. They stared at me with stunned faces, and I felt terrible! Two of my kids were trading cards, and I found out they had stolen a few from their friends. Their immature behavior and my angry response got to me big time! Fortunately, we’re able to look back today and laugh about it.
However, anger is no laughing matter. Everyone gets angry, and it’s a common emotion. (Those who claim to never get angry have a problem with lying!) When we feel angry and stuff it, we get depressed. Denying anger allows depression to track us down. In contrast, if we explode with anger, everyone around us gets depressed! Anger robs you and me of inner joy and intimacy with others.
There are two types of anger. First, there is righteous anger, which is certainly appropriate. We see an example when Jesus cleansed the temple of con artists who were ripping off the Israelites. When I read that story in Scripture, I’m like “You go Jesus!” We sometimes feel this kind of anger when we see injustice, such as a person with a disability being rejected by others.
On the other hand, there is sinful anger, which can for many reasons. Common issues that cause anger are:
- Fear: Fear of rejection, losing our money, or fearing someone doesn’t love us.
- Control: Feeling out of control or wanting to get back in control. When we can’t control others or a situation, we may feel upset.
- Unforgiveness – All us get offended. We then feel hurt and often angry.
- Shame – Anger occurs when we feel “Something is wrong with me, I’m defective.”
- Expectations – If we place expectations on others to meet our needs for love, acceptance, or worth and they fail us, then we feel angry.
How do we deal with anger? First, we need to take our anger to our Heavenly Father and ask Him why we are responding in anger instead of the LIFE of Christ within. Then we need to listen.
Once we understand why we are angry, we need to respond God’s way to the anger. Most often, the very first thing God wants us to do is sit down in prayer and forgive the person. (Ephesians 4:32)
Other times, we may realize that our anger was not caused by someone else but by our own doing. At that point, we need to admit to ourselves and to God what we did. Then we need to confess our sin to God. Being confident that Jesus died for that sin, we can thank Him or ask Him for our forgiveness. (Colossians 2:13)
God may also make clear to us that we need to talk with the person who offended us and try to work through the situation with them. (Matthew 18:15) Usually, when we have anger towards someone, we find that we are also resentful.
Going to God with our sin of anger is liberating for us. Mostly, don’t forget to ask your Father about how He wants you to respond to the reason He showed you that you are angry.
If anger or past relationships have you feeling stuck, give us a call and let us walk with you to help dissolve your anger. Click on a button below to learn more about personal counseling or attend our life-transforming Grace Life Conference.
Anger image courtesy of artur84 via FreeDigitalPhotos.net