What makes you angry?
Everyday anger wrecks friendships, destroys marriages, greatly reduces personal and corporate productivity, and ravages human emotions. When we fail to deal with it properly, anger is a corrosive agent that eats a hole in our hearts. And it inevitably spills over from us to others. The end result is ugly and painful.
Take a look at one thing God has to say about anger:
“Stop being angry! Turn from your rage! Do not lose your temper – it only leads to harm.” — Psalm 37:8 (NLT)
God says that we are to put a stop to anger. It should not be given a place in us.
Putting a stop to anger starts with knowing what causes it. Anger is a by-product of certain ways of thinking.
We get angry when:
• Our expectations are unmet.
• Our pride is offended.
• The pursuit of our goals is blocked.
• Our feelings are hurt.
When we get angry about these things, we respond in several ways.
Some people are:
“Brewers” internalize their anger. They stuff their anger, and over time it’s poison seeps into their soul, shuts down their emotions and cripples their relationships. Usually “brewers” are not even aware of their anger or the impact it is having on them or the people around them. It is hidden in their hearts, unacknowledged and unaddressed.
“Stewers” are a different breed. These folks are agitated, irritated and frustrated. Their anger is not hidden. You can see and sense it in them. Like a pot sitting on the stove at medium to high heat, there is an intense and steamy presence about them. You never know if or when the explosion is coming. They rumble and grumble their way through life in a heated, threatening way.
“Spewers” do what their name implies. Whatever is on the inside comes out, and whoever is nearby gets barraged by the blast. “Spewers” rant and rave. Like an emotional tornado, they detonate and then dissipate, but they leave lots of destruction in their wake.
Brewing, stewing and spewing are all bad options when it comes to dealing with anger. Each is the wrong way to handle it. God says to “stop it!” The appropriate question is “How?”
Here are some are some steps you can take to diffuse and defeat the controlling power of anger. We might call them the “3 R’s of Overcoming Anger:”
R = Recognize it.
Learn to recognize anger in yourself. All too often we are hijacked by anger without realizing what is happening to us. Develop a personal sensitivity to the signs and symptoms of anger in your own soul. Don’t let it sneak up on you!
R = Reflect on it.
To reflect is to think about something quietly and carefully. It is to contemplate.
Anger doesn’t want reflection, it demands reaction. It screams at you to throw caution to the wind; say what you want to say and do what you feel like doing. Don’t let anger have its way!
When you detect anger in yourself, slow down, step back, zip up the lips and take control of your mind. Take some time to think about where your anger is coming from. What is causing anger in you? What started it? What is making you vulnerable to it. Also reflect on the consequences of your anger. What damage will you do to yourself and others if you let it go unchecked.
R = Release it.
Make a conscious decision that you are going to give up your anger. Turn your disappointments, offenses, frustrations and hurts over to God. Determine that you will do whatever necessary to make sure that anger doesn’t invade you, poison or pollute you. Forgive people. Accept disappointments and delays patiently, trusting God’s plan and timing. Don’t stiffen yourself with pride. Be humble. Simply let it go!
Nothing can rob peace and joy and destroy relationships more quickly than anger. Break its grip on your life!