Have you let anger get the best of you? Did you blow up and toss pointy words across the room? Did you clam up, steely eyed and mouth shut, and kill with silence?
Anger is an emotion brought on when you’ve been wronged, real or perceived. In this post I hope to help you learn common lies about anger so you can handle this emotion well and live a life that brings you peace and honors Jesus Christ.
Like you, I’ve believed lies about anger. My mom snapped an embarrassing photo of me at age 3. My bottom lip protruded from Chicago to Shanghai, my blue eyes glared.
Back then I believed the lie that the best way to handle anger is to not talk about it. Last week I felt wronged when I learned that the cost of our family’s health insurance would increase $150 a month. I complained to my husband who took the high road and said, “It could be a lot worse,” then resumed watching TV. I responded to his indifference with more quiet anger.
Can you identify a few lies you’ve believed about anger? Did you know anger ranges from mild irritation to frustration to self-pity to rage?
Lie 1: Anger Is Sinful
Anger is a God-given emotion. It is neither morally right nor wrong. Consider Jesus, fully God and fully man, who never sinned. He became angry at the sight of money changers in the temple.
Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’” Matthew 21:12-13, NIV
Some thirty times in Psalms the word anger is used, often referring to God’s anger. God’s anger is always righteous. Righteous anger is holy.
Shepherd-King David implored God regarding his enemies:
Pour out your indignation upon them,
and let your burning anger overtake them. Psalm 69:24, ESV
Lie 2: Punch a Pillow When Angry
The way you express anger determines whether it becomes sin, or a violation of God’s will.
Ephesians 4:26 says, “In your anger do not sin.” This suggests it is possible for you to angry without sinning. But let’s be honest: You and I almost always express this emotion by acting out loudly and destructively–yelling, slamming doors, using fists, name-calling, and punching pillows. Or. . .
Lie 3: Hold in Your Anger
We bottle it. Bottled anger may set up an unexpected volcanic blow up or even despair and depression.
Did you know that suicide might be considered an extreme and tragic expression of anger turned inward?
The apostle Paul says,
Instead, speaking the truth is love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. Ephesians 4:15, NIV
When I was little, I missed the memo on speaking out loud. Yes, I said awful things to myself. My soul-speak was full of condemnation for those who violated my “rights,” quite often my older brother who snatched the last chocolate chip cookie, and toward myself. My self-talk overflowed with lying Lucy words like “You’re not enough” and “You’re a loser.”
Do you tend to hold in your anger? When you speak to your soul, what do you often say?
Practical Solutions to Expressing Your Anger
Now that you know several lies about anger, you may wonder how to handle this emotion.
First know the common sources of anger. They are:
- Hurt. When you feel hurt, you may use anger to protect yourself from additional emotional pain.
- Fear. When you feel threatened, you may give in to worry because you lack trust in God.
- Injustice. When you sense that your rights have been violated, you probably will feel anger.
At its root, anger is based on a wrong belief that life should be fair.
When you believe that life should be fair, and you’ve been mistreated, you’ll probably think your anger is justified, even good. You may believe that expressing it–loudly or quietly–is your right.
Second, exchange your wrong belief with a right belief. This is was a right belief sound like.
“God is in control of all my circumstances so I can trust him and give him my rights. I believe that when I act upon the truth of the Bible, no matter how I feel, God will bring about a good result. I choose to allow my anger to motivate me to do what God wants me to do.”
Finally, look upon anger as a type of warning signal.
It tells you something is amiss. Recognizing your emotion helps you stomp lies about anger and choose to handle it well.
May I Pray for You?
Please help me when I feel angry. Let it be a motivator to speak the truth in love to the person who has wronged me or to simply accept a situation that seems unfair. Give me patience and deeper faith. Amen.
Resources for You!
DOWNLOAD: Get this complimentary download on the Many Faces of Anger.
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