For every minute you remain angry, you give up sixty seconds of peace of mind. - Ralph Waldo Emerson
Anger is a real emotion we experience from time to time in our marriage & family relationships. How we express it is often what gets us in trouble. Most people don’t realize that anger is controllable. If you don’t believe me, have you ever been in an argument with a family member where the tempers were hot and the phone rings? Suddenly, you “pause” your anger, answer the phone and say “hello” in a “delightful way.” When the other person asks “how’s it going,” you respond by saying, “oh great!” As soon as you hang up the phone you resume to your heated argument. Whether we care to admit, anger is a choice. We can choose to let anger control us or we can choose to control our anger.
There can actually be a good side to anger. Anger can be evidence of love. If someone were to hurt someone you love and care about like your spouse or one of your children, it is only natural to feel anger. If you didn’t feel anger, someone might accuse you of being heartless as if you didn’t even care. Some believe hate is the opposite of love. However, apathy and indifference is the opposite of love. The problem is NOT anger; the problem is what we do with our anger.
Ephesians 4:26-27(NLT) And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil.
Two Ways To Tame Your Temper
1. Understand What Is Causing Your Anger
Typically, there are 3 warning signs or symptoms as to what is driving our anger.
Hurt: Many of us have been hurt or wounded physically, verbally, emotionally, relationally resulting in anger and resentment.
Frustration: We can get irritated and angry when something or someone is standing in the way of achieving our goals or keeping us from moving forward in life. When things don’t work out as hoped, we allow our frustration to turn to anger.
Fear/Insecurities: Anger and insecurity always go together. When we feel threatened, attacked, trapped or stuck in a difficult place it causes us to feel fearful and insecure resulting in anger.
2. Think About It and Talk About It Before You Act On It
Tension and tempers always go together. Taking a step back and reflecting on what is actually causing you to feel angry can help you gain a better perspective and help you deal with your anger in a healthy and productive way. Unfortunately, most people choose to deal with their feeling of anger in one of these three ways which are not good.
Suppress It: These people hold it in and store it up over long periods of time until it eventually explodes. It’s like a “coke can” after been shaken. When you finally pop the top it spews and foams everywhere and makes a mess. You definitely don’t want to be standing nearby when that happens.
Repress It: These people tend to deny that they’re mad. When you press them to admit if they’ve been hurt, frustrated, or feeling fearful about anything they tend to deny or pull back from their emotions. Sometimes these people wear their emotions on their sleeve but won’t admit or talk about what they’re feeling.
Express It: These people are a bit more obvious. They tend to act before they think. They usually say things or do things they later regret especially when they hurt someone they care about verbally, physically, relationally and emotionally. This is never a healthy or productive first response to dealing with our anger.
The best way and the most productive way to deal with anger is to think about how and why you’re feeling angry and...
Confess It: Admitting it to yourself and to the other person(s) that you’re feeling hurt, frustrated or even fearful is the best and healthiest way to deal with how you feel. Not only does it help you gain a more accurate perspective on what’s really going on with a situation or person, but it helps them to know and better understand how you’re feeling as well. This ultimately can bring healing, reconciliation, restoration, peace, and patience which is the opposite and a better outcome for our feelings of anger.
Remember, as parents, the best way to teach our kids to control their emotions and to deal with them in healthy and productive ways is by example. When we learn to confess our feelings of hurt, frustration and fear to each other, it’s amazing to see how a negative emotion can actually be turned into a positive emotion of deeper intimacy and understanding when we confess it to God and to each other.
James 5:16 (MSG) Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed.