March 23, 2010
The Beatitudes of Anger Management
Ephesians 4:26 "In your anger, do not sin."
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Everyone gets angry and everyone must learn to deal with his or her anger. Anger is an emotional warning light that tells us something is wrong. We are hurt, frustrated, wronged or rejected. Something has changed and we do not like it. It is important to remember that anger itself is not sin. In Ephesians 4:26, Paul warns, "In your anger, do not sin" which means that while God created us with the capacity for anger, it is possible to be angry and yet not sin.
Anger handled correctly becomes a tool for good but anger that is mishandled leads to destruction and can even get in the way of God's justice. We must choose to cultivate spiritual disciplines and habits that will enable us to deal with and express anger correctly. Today, we will examine choices we must make to control and manage anger.
Psalm 46:10 "Be still and know that I am God."
Anger is more likely to flourish in a life that is too busy. If we are busy, it is much easier to ignore or refuse to face and deal with the real source of anger. Anger that is not dealt with in the right way accumulates over time, allowing bitterness to take root and rage to simmer just below the surface of everything we do, say, think or feel. In order to manage anger, we need to incorporate frequent and regular "stops" into our schedules; time set aside to simply be still and hear the voice of God.
James 1:19-20 "Everyone should be slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires."
Our first response to conflict is often not a response at all but a reaction. We jump in with a brutal rebuttal or a thoughtless correction - which is like pouring gasoline on a fire. An explosion is certain. Our first action should be to stop and think instead of rushing to respond sarcasm or an offensive rebuttal. Let the other person(s) have their say and try to understand all the perspectives before taking your turn to offer an opinion. Try to view the facts objectively by seeing the "big picture." Try counting to ten before saying anything. This may not address the anger directly, but it can minimize the damage you will do while angry.
Proverbs 25:28 "Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control."
Wisdom is doing the right thing at the right time for the right reason. Anger management comes from wisdom rooted in self-control. I love the story of Jesus driving the moneychangers out of His Father's temple. In John 2:15, scripture says Jesus "made a whip out of cords." Don't miss this picture. At the height of His anger, Jesus wisely took the time to gather several cords with which he braided a whip. Jesus was so angry that He knew He needed to cool off, so He deliberately chose to be still and quiet for a time. When we are close to losing control of anger, we need to do what Jesus did - take a break from the situation in order to control our anger in the situation.
Psalm 4:4 "In your anger do not sin…search your hearts and be silent."
When you are angry with someone, ask yourself why. Think back to what led up to the conflict. Was it something someone said to you? Could a past problem have triggered your present anger? Give yourself time to consider why you are upset and what you should do to handle it in the most effective and appropriate way.
We need to deal with anger in the right way for our own good. However, there is another reason - a higher reason to practice anger management. The story is told of a preacher who was putting in a wooden fence. As he hammered away, he noticed a little boy quietly watching him. The boy didn't say a word so the preacher kept working, thinking the little boy would leave - but he didn't. Pleased at the thought that his work was being admired, the preacher finally said, "Well, son, are you trying to pick up some pointers on building?" The little boy quickly responded, "No! I'm just waiting to see what a preacher says when he hits his thumb with a hammer." answered.
The world is watching and waiting to see what we do when our emotional buttons are pushed because what is really inside comes out when anger strikes. Join me tomorrow as we examine four more beatitudes of anger management.
Father, I want to thank You for creating me with the capacity to feel and to experience emotions. Please help me learn how to control my emotions and use them for good. Help me eliminate anything in my life that is a source of anger and frustration. I want to please You and honor You but I need Your strength to obey Your commands. Today, I choose against destructive anger and ask you to teach me how to experience and promote peace.
In Jesus' name,
Now It's Your Turn
The longer I work with people the more I realize that there is always a reason for their behavior. Hurt people - hurt people. Anger is often hurt and pain in disguise. When we choose to focus on the hurt behind the anger instead of the anger itself, our response has a greater chance of being right.
Is there any hurt or pain in your life that you have not addressed?
How has that pain affected your life? Your relationships?
Are you ready to experience God's healing in your life so that you can lay down your hurt and anger?
Which one of the four attitudes listed above do you struggle with most?
What first step do you need to take in order to correct that attitude?
More From The Girlfriends
I know it is sometimes hard to control emotions. Anger can be especially difficult to manage. I believe we can learn to control our emotions through the power of the Holy Spirit at work in our life. Consistent Bible study and prayer are powerful habits that will help us develop attitudes and discipline our emotions toward peace.
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Download my E-Book Bible Study, Anger Management 911 for more practical ways to deal with anger. This study is perfect for individual or small group study.
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