Girlfriends in God - Sept. 24, 2010

September 24, 2010
 What are you doing with your anger?
Georgia Shaffer

We hope you are enjoying the Girlfriends in God daily devotions. We (Mary, Sharon, and Gwen) would like to introduce you to some of the women who have blessed our lives as girlfriends. 

From time-to-time, the Friday devotions will be written by one of our friends in ministry. We call them our "Friday Friends." So grab your Bible and a fresh cup of coffee and drink in the words from our "Friday Friend," Georgia Shaffer.


Today's Truth

"Be angry, and yet do not sin" Ephesians 4:26 (NASB).


Friend to Friend

I grew up in a home where I never learned how to express my anger in healthy ways. In fact, I believed anger was a bad thing. If someone even hinted that I might be angry I would say, "I'm not angry. I'm just upset."


Many years later, I finally understood that the real issue isn't whether or not I get angry but what I do with my anger. Do I try to ignore it or deny my anger? Do I express it in a selfish, harmful way? Or do I accept it and find constructive ways to handle it?


Most of us would agree that physical and verbal aggression, such as throwing things, slapping, name-calling, or cursing, are hurtful. But we don't always recognize how harmful it is to express our anger with sarcasm or by giving someone the silent treatment.


Here are five ways we can express our anger destructively. See if you can recognize yourself in any of following.


Critical Words - Criticism, as a destructive expression of anger, is finding fault or expressing disapproval of another person. Some experienced criticizers deliver their verbal jabs while smiling and end by saying, "I'm only telling you this for your own good."


Vengeful Behavior - "I'll get even with him," Abby said after her husband left her to be with someone else. "He's not going to get away with this." The desire to get back at someone is a common reaction when we've been hurt. What we do next is what matters. Unless we address our unresolved anger, it will quickly harden into bitterness and negatively impact all our relationships.

Sarcastic Remarks
- "I was only kidding" is a comment we often hear after someone has made a cutting remark and we are pulling out the knife and tending to our emotional wound. They may even tell us we are too sensitive if we say we are hurt. They may respond, "I didn't mean anything by it. Can't you take a joke?"

Withdrawing Communication
- Temporarily leaving the scene of a heated argument can be a good thing. But distancing ourselves becomes destructive when we do it to avoid communicating with someone. People who withdraw often refuse to answer emails or calls—sometimes for days, weeks, or years.

Withholding Something -Maybe we don't give someone the silent treatment, but we get stingy with our time, attention, money, and other resources. We hold back the very thing we know the person wants or needs.


Whether we tend to use criticism, sarcasm, or give the silent treatment, we want to cultivate the habit of expressing our anger constructively. I've found it helpful to do something physical like take a walk, garden, or clean my home. Journaling is another way I process my anger. On more than one day, my journal has become a trash can where I dump my emotional junk.


You may choose to express your anger by talking to a friend or counselor, addressing a relational issue, or finding new solutions to old problems. Just remember, the goal is not to get rid of all anger but to intentionally express it in a healthy way.


Let's Pray

Dear Lord, help me to have a healthy view of my angry feelings. Help me to accept them rather than ignore or deny them. Help me to realize when I'm expressing this powerful emotion in a selfish, harmful or destructive way. Most importantly, give me the wisdom and discernment to purposefully and constructively handle my anger.

In Jesus' Name,



Now It's Your Turn

1. What role does anger play in your life? With which of the destructive styles of anger listed below can you identify? 


            - Aggressive action

            - Critical words

            - Vengeful behavior

            - Sarcastic remarks

            - Withdrawing communication

            - Withholding something


2. List two things you can do this week to express your frustrations or fury in a positive way. For example, you might want to memorize a Scripture verse about anger, such as Proverbs15:1, Proverbs 19:11, Ephesians 4:3, or James 1:19. When your anger starts to surface, count to 10, and repeat the memorized verse.


Maybe you would rather take a brisk walk, work in the garden, talk to a friend, or clean out a closet. Do whatever helps you control your anger instead of allowing it to control you. 


More from the Girlfriends

Today's devotion was taken from Georgia Shaffer's newest book, Taking Out Your Emotional Trash: Face Your Feelings and Build Healthy Relationships. As a licensed psychologist in PA and certified life coach, Georgia is passionate about helping you handle life's up and downs more easily so that you can experience more energy, peace, and happiness.


If you want to take the free Dump Your Junk Self-Assessment or order Georgia's book go to  Taking Out Your Emotional Trash is also available at any bookstore such as To connect with Georgia on Facebook!/profile.php?id=1408877303.

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Originally published Friday, 24 September 2010.