Just over a week ago, I posted Don’t Do These 7 Things When You Are Angry. In a comment/question, Kari Scare asked what we ARE supposed to do when we are angry. Because she is a successful writer and blogger at Struggle To Victory, I asked her to guest post for me on the answer to her own question! The following is her guest post on anger management. Please make sure to let her know how much you enjoyed the post by commenting at the bottom!
Anger is Inevitable, But Not Sin
Anger is inevitable. This is especially true the more we interact with others, such as daily at work or with our families at home. Even Jesus got angry (Matthew 21:12-13), and the Old Testament provides many references to God’s anger.
Anger is not a sin; the key is to avoid sinning when angry. Having a plan for when anger hits not only provides a way to avoid sin, but it also allows for self-control to increase as we choose to not “give full vent” to our anger (Proverbs 29:11). The Bible also indicates that we must also control or limit (Ecclesiastes 7:9 and Proverbs 14:17) and even get rid of our anger (Colossians 3:8, Ephesians 4:31-32).
I remember a time in my life when my temper easily flared, and I was known for being somewhat volatile. If God hadn’t taught me how to control and even how to eliminate anger, I would have continued believing this was simply “the way that I am” with no hope for change. Yet, He did work in my life in this way.
5 Steps To Control & Prevent Anger
The following 5 suggestions for how to control and prevent anger stem directly from that struggle:
1. Keep from getting angry in the first place.
- Sort of a preventative maintenance approach, avoiding getting angry seems difficult when the response comes so naturally. Yet, this can be achieved by staying grounded in the Word and by keeping short accounts with other and with God.
In other words, deal with issues while they are still small. The bigger a conflict becomes, the more overwhelming it feels, and the more likely anger will rise up.
2. Deal with root cause issues.
- Usually, anger stems from a deep-seeded issue that an individual has failed to deal with and overcome. Anger also often results from feeling a lack of control over circumstances. Coming to terms with and understanding those issues can help curb and even eliminate angry outbursts.
3. Realize you don’t know the whole story.
- When another person feeds your anger by their attitudes, actions or words, try to remember that when others treat you wrong, it’s usually more (if not totally) about them and not about you.
You may never know the root cause of their behavior, but you can avoid letting it negatively impact yours. Chances are you don’t know the whole story, so err on the side of grace when dealing with others.
4. Be aware not only of words spoken but the tone used.
- Proverbs 15:1 says, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” A gentle answer often includes saying less, but always includes a tone that calms and soothes rather than agitates and fuels the fire.
Personally, I find that gentle answers come more easily the more I listen. So, the less I speak and the more I seek to understand, the more gentle my words become.
5. Get and use wisdom.
- The Bible instructs says “discretion” makes a man “slow to anger” and better able to overlook hurts from others (Proverbs 19:11). Discretion means “the power or right to decide or act according to one’s own judgment.” Acting based on sound judgment means thinking before acting or speaking, and the result is that anger automatically subsides.
Having wisdom means listening more and truly hearing what others say. It means avoiding those who struggle controlling their anger or who seem to provoke you easily. Wisdom means knowing when to walk away, to stay well-rested, and to avoid those blood-sugar highs and lows that make emotions difficult to manage. Pursue wisdom, and anger will begin to subside.
Don’t Just Eliminate Bad Habits..?
Whenever we eliminate bad habits, only getting rid of the negative creates a weak defense. When the opportunity presents itself to employ that habit, not having an alternative can spell certain disaster. God has a way of testing us in areas in which we are trying to mature and grow, which is helpful since that’s really the only way we’ll grow.
To properly prepare for this future challenge, the negative must be replaced with positive. In other words, simply getting rid of my anger and bad temper was not enough. I needed to replace it with another “go to” response. But what response?
The Bible’s Answer!
We find the answer in Colossians 3:8 & 12, which tell us to “put aside anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive language” and to replace them with “compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” As the fruit of the Spirit increase in our lives, their counterparts will naturally decrease. Avoid having an empty house that will be “worse than the first” if left untended (Luke 11:24-26).
Today, I can happily say that anger no longer controls me. While I do get angry once in a while, the above lessons serve to prevent and often eliminate anger, and suggestions such as those found in Don’t Do These 7 Things When You Are Angry help keep me from sinning when I am angry. No, my score is still not 100% in controlling my anger, but it sure improves as I deliberately and intentionally employ the instruction the Bible gives for managing anger.
What do you do to manage your anger?
Have you replaced any bad anger habits with good ones?
If you are still struggling with anger, what are you going to change?
Please leave comments to let Kari know how good this post was! You can read more from Kari at her blog – Struggle to Victory.