Girlfriends in God - Feb. 10, 2010

February 10, 2010 

Harnessing Your Anger - part 2 

Mary Southerland

Today's Truth 
Proverbs 19:11 "People with good sense restrain their anger."

Friend To Friend 
Just about the time I think I have learned to control anger, I am blindsided by a critical word or a hurtful comment and discover that the capacity to explode in anger is still present in my life - but so is the power of God and that makes the impossible possible.  On my own, I could not possibly control my emotions but through the power of the Holy Spirit, I can. God created us with the capacity for strong emotions but He also gave us boundaries for controlling those emotions instead of allowing them to control us.

Yesterday, we talked about Nehemiah and how his life beautifully models the choices we must make in controlling and harnessing anger.  First, we must admit our anger because emotional integrity begins at the point of emotional transparency and authenticity. Be honest about the fact that you are angry and then learn to control and harness that emotional power.

Proverbs 29:11 is very clear when it says, "A stupid man gives free rein to his anger; a wise man waits and lets it grow cool." Sometimes the first step in dealing with anger is to postpone it for a time - until you can make the right decision about the next step. In other words, learn to "cool it."

Dismiss your anger.

James 1:19-21 "Do not become angry easily, because anger will not help you live the right kind of life God wants.  So put out of your life every evil thing and every kind of wrong."

When anger strikes, we need to stop and ask ourselves some important questions: 

·         Why am I really angry?  

·         Is it important? 

·         Will it matter in a year? 

·         What action do I need to take?

And sometimes, we should simply dismiss our anger.

Proverbs 19:11 "A wise person is patient. He will be honored if he ignores a wrong done against him".

Maturity is the ability to overlook a hurt, to dismiss anger.  Our children went through a stretch when everything Danna did irritated her brother.  Jered has a big temper and God was using Danna to teach him how to control it.  One day, when Jered was very frustrated and on the edge of losing it, I took him aside and said, "You have a choice.  You can be angry and frustrated every time your sister does something that you don't like, or you can choose to throw your anger away! We came up with the "mad board", a piece of wood with nails driven in half-way.  We then told Jered that when he got angry, he could go to the garage - hammer the nails all the way into the board and then throw the board away. We all need "anger boards" of some kind.  Pray, meditate on a verse about anger, count to ten, make good use of a punching bag, take a long walk or a cold shower.  You get the idea!  Some anger should simply be dismissed as unworthy to occupy space in our lives.

Resolve your anger.

1 Peter 3:8 "All of you should live together in peace."

When we can't dismiss our anger because it is attached to an important issue, we have to resolve it.  We postpone anger for a short time only to decide if we need to dismiss it or resolve it.

Ephesians 4:26-27 "When you are angry, do not sin, and be sure to stop being angry before the end of the day.  Do not give the devil a way to defeat you."

We must deal with anger on a daily basis.  When we hold on to anger, it hardens, settling into our soul and taking root as bitterness.  Satan loves bitterness, making it a dwelling place from which he dispenses defeat.  When we hold on to anger, it becomes an open door for other sins to rush in.  Shut that door by learning to deal with and harness your anger.

Let's Pray 
Father, it is so easy to let my emotions spiral out of control. I do not want to live life that way. I want to honor You with my emotional responses. I want others to see You when my emotional buttons are pushed. Examine my heart, Lord, and show me any anger there. Please help me to be honest about that anger and be committed to resolving it in a way that pleases You. Today, I surrender my emotions to Your control.

In Jesus' name, 

Now It's Your Turn 
Take an emotional inventory. Is there unresolved anger in your life? Today is the day to deal with it.  Identify that anger right now and follow the four steps we have talked about to deal with it. 

  • Admit  
  • Postpone  
  • Dismiss  
  • Resolve  

Make a commitment and choice to submit every emotion to God's control. 

Instead of trusting your emotions, trust the Word of God. Read and memorize the verses of Scripture from these two devotions on harnessing anger. Record each verse in your journal. 

More From The Girlfriends 
I pray that these two devotions have given you at least one new truth about dealing with anger. Now take that truth and apply it to your life. Let's pray for each other - to become women who, through the power of God, can harness their anger and use it for good. 

One of the most powerful tools in dealing with emotions - especially anger - is the Word of God.  Reading and studying the Bible will equip you to harness anger and use its power for good in your life.  Need help? Enroll in my online Bible study, Light for the Journey, and join hundreds of women from across the world as we study the Bible.

Struggling with depression?  I have been there, friend, and if God can deliver me, He can and will deliver you. Read how God brought me out of the pit in my book, Hope in the Midst of Depression, and be encouraged.

We can also connect through e-mail or on Facebook! I would love to hear how you harness the anger in your life!  Let's talk!

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Originally published Wednesday, 10 February 2010.