Anger Management

For every minute you remain angry, you give up sixty seconds of peace of mind.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

There are several tell-tale signs that help us identify a person who is angry. It may be expressed with a furrowed brow, clenched teeth, balled up fists, bulging veins, a tightened jaw, streams of tears, harsh words, the silent treatment, or the cold shoulder. Yesterday I had an angry day, and it was evident in my semi-permanent scowl. No one did anything to me, but I was upset with myself. We’d just returned from a terrific vacation, and I guess certain realities set in too quickly. I was tired, out of it, grumpy, and forgetful, and was basically having an off day. Not even the excitement of Alexandra’s first San Francisco Giants game could completely snap me out of my mood, and I struggled to figure out why I was so mad? A number of minor annoyances occured, but it was the realization that I’d left an important item at home that sent me spiraling over the edge. Moments before we were slated to begin our lovely family evening I completely broke down.  I called to my husband and with my body shaking and tears welling in my eyes I proceeded to tell him what a loser I was and how stupid it was of me to forget.  He assured me that everything was fine, but I preferred to beat myself up than accept his comfort.  Only seconds passed (although it felt like longer), and with several deep breaths I wiped my eyes, shrugged my shoulders and finally decided to let it all go.  I wanted to enjoy my night, but the only way to do so was to get rid of the funk and move on.  We went on to have a fantastic time, but deep down I felt like a fool.  I’d let my anger get the best of me, and a certain scripture played on repeat in my mind.

Ephesians 4:26-27 (NKJV)

 “Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil.

This had me thinking.  What does it mean to be angry without sin? How does God feel about our anger?  Had my lack of self-control given the Enemy a foothold?  In order to answer these questions I had to first gain a clearer understanding.

The Greek word for angry is orgizō and it means “to provoke or to arouse to anger”.  Provoke  means to “stimulate or give rise to (a reaction or emotion, typically a strong or unwelcome one) in someone”. The Greek word for sin is hamartanō and literally means “to miss the mark”.  While addressing the church at Ephesus, Paul expressed that while anger is a natural human emotion it should never be a hinderance in our walk, causing us or someone else to stumble.  Ouch.  I’d definitely failed that test, and allowed my frustration to reign supreme.

As previously illustrated, anger comes in a variety of forms.  The cause for such revved up emotion may be mistreatment, suffering an injustice, a disagreement with your spouse, being on the receiving end of gossip or harsh words (new post on this issue coming soon), financial troubles, work drama, or simply having a bad day.  There are times that anger is justified, but we shouldn’t use those scenarios as an excuse to behave badly.  I behaved badly because I’d forgotten the Holy Spirit power that dwells in me.

His example is the epitome of how we should handle ourselves when faced with such challenges.  Our flesh wants that immediate reaction, but God wants us to stop, wait, and think before we speak. In Christ we are able to exhibit self-control, pray for our enemies, encourage ourselves as David did, and overcome evil with good.   Being in Christ means we don’t allow circumstances to affect the principles of Godly living, and remaining consistent in our faith walk is a testament to our growth in Him. Feeling anger is not a crime, but it’s imperative that we think twice before expressing it in a detrimental way. Whether you’re prone to outbursts of wrath or holding it in until it bubbles over like a volcanic eruption, anger is an emotion that must be controlled lest it leads to undesired consequences.  Look to the Lord for your answers. 

Some additional verses to contemplate:

Proverbs 15:1 (NKJV) A soft answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger.

Psalm 103:8(NKJV)  The Lord is merciful and gracious, Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.

Ephesians 4:31 (NKJV)  Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.

Psalm 4:4-5 (NKJV) Be angry, and do not sin. Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still. Selah Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, And put your trust in the Lord.

Proverbs 14:17 (NKJV) A quick-tempered man acts foolishly, And a man of wicked intentions is hated.

Ecclesiastes 7:9 (NKJV) Do not hasten in your spirit to be angry, For anger rests in the bosom of fools.

Do you cope well with anger or let it consume you?  How do you exhibit self-control?

Related Article:

Dealing with Anger…God’s Way by Joyce Meyer

The Fairness Effect

Fair is not a word I use frequently in my speech, but sometimes it’s far too prevalent in my thoughts.  I could be driving on the freeway and see a car dangerously maneuvering in and out of lanes.  I think  “Where’s the cop when crazy drivers like this are around?  They never get caught.  It isn’t fair.”  Or I’m in the grocery store patiently waiting in the main line with my 11 items, when I see that person boldly step up to the “10 Items or Less” register knowing they have 32 things.  No one says a word and they’re out the door.  That’s not fair.  They should have waited too.  The list goes on, but perhaps where this thinking is most commonplace (and most dangerous) is in my personal relationships.  This is especially true when interacting with my husband.

There’s the irritation that comes when I sense even a hint of frustration from him after I don’t immediately do something he asked me to.  Well that’s just great.  He’s mad because I haven’t done that one thing yet, but what about the several things he hasn’t completed?  All my flesh wants to do in that situation is pull out a list of tally marks and compare who’s done what, but thankfully Holy Spirit reminds me that this is a BIG no-no.  Even still, I may feel like equity has been lost in several other instances.  Too often I wonder why it is that when we get into an argument/disagreement I seem to “always” be the one to apologize first.  Siiiiiiiigh.  Why do I have to say I’m sorry, especially when I was right all along?!  I don’t feel like being the bigger person.  Have you been there before?  Then it dawned on me (with the help of sound Godly wisdom), that as a Believer I need to remove the word fair from my vocabulary.  More importantly I need to stop it from being my leading thought when faced with any number of circumstances.  Who am I to think everything should go my way all the time?  Who am I to be so puffed up with pride, that I’d rather be right than do my part to maintain peace in my home?  And where would I be if Jesus came off the cross because he knew what he was about to endure wasn’t fair?  Matthew 27: 36-50 (NKJV):

Sitting down, they kept watch over Him there.  And they put up over His head the accusation written against Him:  THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.  Then two robbers were crucified with Him, one on the right and another on the left.   And those who passed by blasphemed Him, wagging their heads and saying, “You who destroy the temple and build it in three days, save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross.”  Likewise the chief priests also, mocking with the scribes and elders, said, “He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He is the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him.  He trusted in God; let Him deliver Him now if He will have Him; for He said, ‘I am the Son of God.’”  Even the robbers who were crucified with Him reviled Him with the same thing.   Now from the sixth hour until the ninth hour there was darkness over all the land. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”  Some of those who stood there, when they heard that, said, “This Man is calling for Elijah!” Immediately one of them ran and took a sponge, filled it with sour wine and put it on a reed, and offered it to Him to drink.  The rest said, “Let Him alone; let us see if Elijah will come to save Him.”  And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. 

Wow.  I don’t know about you, but that hit me like a ton of bricks.  Jesus himself was in a situation so unjust, that it may be hard  for you or I to fathom.  In any of our daily encounters, irritations or woes, do we experience anything that even compares?  I think not!!  Not only that, but by going forth with what He had been called to do, Jesus gave us new life.  His selflessness saved us, yet we (I) allow our feathers to be ruffled over the little things. 

The truth is the world hates the light.  We are called out and set apart as peculiar people, so we will be wronged sometimes.   Potentially being at odds with our spouse, family members, friends, or even the brethren is no exception, but we have the ability through God’s Word and Holy Spirit power to bring our flesh under subjection! Our feelings may be hurt, and in fact, completely justified, but to live as Christ means we don’t make excuses in order to treat others poorly.  Let me clarify by saying that being a Christian doesn’t mean being weak or having to put up with any old behavior, but if you’re walking in wisdom you know exactly what I mean.  You see, this concept of only having what’s fair come our way, goes beyond crazy drivers, selfish people, and even marital strains.  As children of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords we need to be better examples of exhibiting His Word. 

Romans 12:18 (AMP) If possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

Hebrews 12:14-15 (AMP)Strive to live in peace with everybody and pursue that consecration and holiness without which no one will [ever] see the Lord.  Exercise foresight and be on the watch to look [after one another], to see that no one falls back from and fails to secure God’s grace (His unmerited favor and spiritual blessing), in order that no root of resentment (rancor, bitterness, or hatred) shoots forth and causes trouble and bitter torment, and the many become contaminated and defiled by it—

I need to be a better example, and thanks be to God, I have the ability (with His strength) to make a change!

Will you change with me?!