Tempted- Time for anger management
We continue the journey in understanding and overcoming some of the most dangerous temptations we face. Today, we look at anger.
Anger is a serious issue which is demonstrated in multiple areas of our society. If we're honest, it's a big issue in many of our families, our lives and our churches. Anger really is a choice that kills.
We recognise that anger is a legitimate emotion given by God. We all get angry; even Jesus got angry. Anger is primarily a protective emotion, designed to protect us from harm or from loss of something of value. But the problem is that anger can control a person.
There are at least five types of anger that we struggle with: raging, silent, passive-aggressive, pouting and sarcastic anger.
The angry person who gets loud and physical shows raging anger. But Proverbs 29:11 NLT says, "Fools vent their anger, but the wise quietly hold it back". But silent anger is hidden beneath the surface and usually isn't dealt with in a healthy way. Persons who struggle with this type of anger just pretend that it's not there. But Psalms 55:21 NLT says of that person, "His words are as smooth as butter, but in his heart is war. His words are as soothing as lotion, but underneath are daggers!"
This scripture could also apply to passive-aggressive anger, which operates in a more sinister way. Passive-aggressive anger is played out when persons respond by heaping guilt, giving the silent treatment or even ignoring others.
Pouting anger complains, moans, and pouts for attention and persons in the throes of this, aren't really interested in fixing the situation. They just want to pout about it for attention.
Sarcastic anger leaves a wound that is far more deadly. Persons use this method by making others feel worthless, using sarcasm to cut you down.
So even though anger is a legitimate emotion and has its place, I want to look at what the Bible says about learning to deal with your anger in healthy ways. Look at what Jesus says about anger, "You have heard that our ancestors were told, 'You must not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgement.' But I say, if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgement ..." (Matthew 5:21-22 NLT.)
Why would Jesus say this? There are three reasons.
Anger leads to other sins: Jesus knew that anger leads to other, more destructive sins, like murder. Sometimes, the murder is in our hearts until one day it manifests itself in our words and through our hands.
Anger destroys you from the inside out: Unresolved anger is an emotional issue that destroys you from the inside out. It can cause high blood pressure, heart problems and other health issues.
Anger gives the devil a foothold in your life: It gives him access to control and 'own' that emotional area in your life. When you keep it in your heart, he's just waiting to push your buttons.
But God wants you to live a life free from the bondage of anger - God wants to give you peace, and here are three steps that can help you to gain freedom from anger.
1. RECOGNISE THE TRIGGER OF ANGER
We all have different triggers, so what sets you off? Generally, there are three deep sources of anger: hurt, frustration and insecurity. If you know your triggers, you can begin to live out this verse from Ephesians 4:26 NLT, "And 'don't sin by letting anger control you.'..." Anger may come, but if you catch it and keep it from taking control of you, then you don't fall into sin.
2. RESTRAIN YOURSELF
AND THINK BEFORE YOU ACT
How many times have you done or said something in anger and then five minutes later, you regret it? In Proverbs 13:16 GNT, Solomon wrote, "Sensible people always think before they act." Try doing two things before you blow up - pause and pray when your temper is rising, then express what made you angry in an assertive but non-confrontational way. "A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare." (Proverbs 15:1 NLT)
3. RELAX AND TRUST
THAT GOD IS IN CONTROL
God is in charge and is the ruler of the universe. You're not Him! The Psalmist said, "Be still and know that I am God." (Psalms 46:10 NLT) Don't lose it because of what somebody else did, just be still.
Say, 'God, You're in control of this situation, and in my life'. The great example of this is Jesus and He will give you the power to do it. 1 Peter 2:23 NLT, says of Jesus, "He did not retaliate when he was insulted, nor threaten revenge when he suffered. He left his case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly."
Sometimes our anger is a reminder that things aren't right between us and God. It's a reminder that we need to relax, trust and surrender to Him. God wants us to overcome and we overcome by allowing Him to be in control of our lives, and resisting the temptation, in His power. Surrender today and say, 'God, I want you to work in my life, I want your way more than I want revenge. God, I want your peace, I want your presence, and I want your healing.'
Always remember that "The Lord is loving and merciful, slow to become angry and full of constant love." (Psalm 145:8 GNT)