How Are You Handling Anger?

Proverbs 15:1
A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.

Proverbs 16:32
He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.

Anger is an outward emotion.  Underneath, however, are always feelings of fear, hurt, helplessness, or guilt—or a combination of these.  Since anger is a God-given emotion, it’s not necessarily bad.  If handled properly, it can be used for good and to create change. 

There are five possible ways of managing anger.  I’ll tell you now, the first three can be very harmful and they don’t resolve the problem!

SUPPRESSION is denying that you are angry.  Clamming up can lead to many physical and/or emotional problems, and often the person can only hold things in so long and winds up exploding eventually anyway.

OPEN AGGRESSION includes yelling, stomping, complaining, arguing, criticizing, blaming, throwing things and even physically harming someone else.  Basically it’s a rude way of saying, “I want my own way!”

PASSIVE AGGRESSION is a quiet way of expressing anger, but is still inconsiderate and selfish.  It includes shutting down, procrastinating, sulking, denying anything is wrong, and complaining behind the person's back.  The passive-aggressive person usually hates conflict.

ASSERTIVENESS is the way God desires for us to handle our anger.  It’s a positive means of letting others know your thoughts and desires, while communicating in a respectful manner.  It’s simply Ephesians 4:15  in action.  It’s “speaking the truth in love.”  When we learn to do this, we can work toward finding solutions to our problems or finding ways to cope with them.  Most times, others will be willing to work with us if we maintain our composure.

LETTING GO OF ANGER is necessary when you realize that nothing else will work.  Although you may have tried making adjustments or being assertive, you realize and accept that you cannot control the situation.  It is YOUR choice to tolerate the other person's differences, put away angry feelings, and choose to forgive (Ephesians 4:31-32).  New events may cause old hurts and frustrations to resurface.  Remind yourself of your choice to forgive and commit to the same choice with this new episode. 

Father, help me to remember that how I display my anger is a testimony to others of Your power to work in my life.Let me honor You always.

By Ann Shorb
©Copyright Ann Shorb, 2006

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Related Articles and Devotionals:
What Do You Know About Anger?
Managing Anger
Anger's Feast

MAke Anger Your AllyMake Anger Your Ally
By Neil Clark Warren, Ph.D. / Tyndale House

Learn how to make anger work for you rather than against you! With solid biblical principles and psychological insights, Dr. Warren shows you how to harness the energy of this powerful emotion---instead of resorting to suppression or denial. You'll discover creative and constructive ideas for coping with pain and resolving problems without aggression. 283 pages, softcover from Tyndale.