Mark Alan Williams
3 Big Anger Management Mistakes And How To Avoid Them
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Last week two friends shared their stories of failure in anger management to the point of near tragedy. Both were so furious with someone that they thought seriously about shooting them. These were two different experiences on two different continents. Both were workplace related. One is a man and the other a woman. One was a Christian at the time and the other was not. Both were stopped in the process of taking their guns to do the horrible deed.
CC Image courtesy of Tito & Eva on Flickr
One put the gun in the car and was about to drive to the person’s office when he came to his senses.
For the other person, see below for the rest of the story.
The Bible says “Be ye angry and sin not.” (Ephesians 4:26 KJV) The basic emotion of anger is not a sin any more than the emotions of happiness, surprise, joy, disappointment or sadness are sin.
Certainly, God would not say, “be angry” if it was sinful to be angry.
Certainly, God would not say, “be angry” if it was sinful to be angry. | CLICK TO TWEET
However, the choice of how we express our anger can degenerate into sin very quickly. That is why the Bible cautions us to be careful with anger.
Any emotion taken to excess and outside of God’s will can cause us to sin. The same scripture in another version of the Bible reads, “In your anger do not sin.” (Ephesians 4:26 NIV)
Here are 3 big anger management mistakes and some tips for what not to do when you are angry:
1.Don’t Bottle Up
Unexpressed anger is like steam building inside a boiler. It must be given controlled expression before it blows. Perhaps this is why God says, “be angry.”
God also says, “Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.” (Ephesians 4:26 NIV) In other words, don’t hold on to it — deal with it before the end of the day.
Unexpressed anger is known as repressed anger and can cause negative consequences like:
Anger causes an increased level of the hormone, Adrenaline, in our blood stream. Over time this can create a tremendous physical and emotional strain on our bodies if bottled up.
Anger management means giving healthy expression to your anger. So when angry, talk about your anger and its causes reasonably and appropriately. Share with a friend. Pray about it. Seek a solution.
2.Don’t Blow Up
“Be ye angry and sin not.” (Ephesians 4:26 KJV) While this verse tells us to be angry, it quickly warns “and sin not.”
Anger can easily become sinful if we blow up.
E.Stanley Jones pointed out that a Christian is more likely to sin by his reactions than his actions.
How do we react when others push our buttons? A recent study found that in the United States, more people fall victim to inner-family violence than muggers or gang violence. Some have physical altercations publicly, and others privately. Some vent their rage by yelling or verbally abusing.
Anger becomes sinful if we physically or verbally harm a
wall or other object
What if you just can’t seem to gain control and utilize appropriate anger management? Some suggestions:
Pray daily for increased self-control and God’s power to overcome.Find a godly prayer partner to share your struggle with and pray for you.Memorize and meditate on Scripture about anger and Christian love.Take the advice of Thomas Jefferson; “When angry count to ten before you speak. If very angry, count to one hundred.”Remember God sees: although others might not see your “secret” inappropriate anger, God always does.
3.Don’t Feed Anger
The Bible goes on to say, “and do not give the devil a foothold.” (Ephesians 4:27 NIV)
Another important aspect of healthy Biblical anger management is we must not feed anger by
nursing it along in our mindsindulging in dreams of revenge and “settling the score”taking out our aggressions on someone or something else
If we do these things we will certainly “give the devil a foothold.”
Psychological studies show that releasing anger through displays of aggression only leads to more aggression. Hitting a punching bag or golf balls to release anger only feeds it and the likelihood of crossing the line into aggression.
Some people pretend they can’t control their anger, but it is remarkable how quickly they can speak calmly to someone outside the situation. For example, when the phone rings in the middle of a family argument, they can sweetly answer the phone.
We CAN choose how we respond.
Exercise self-control. Determine not to pound your fist on the table in anger, yell, scream and so on. Rather, determine to simply regain your calm and express anger appropriately.
Let’s obey God’s instruction: “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.” (James 1:19-20 NIV)
Listen first, choose your words and actions carefully, and lastly, be slow to become angry.
What happened to the second person with a gun? Well, she took her gun to the place where she knew she’d find the person who had falsely accused her of an affair. However when she got there, the offender happened to be praying with some people. This caused my friend’s rage to lessen to the point where the murderous thoughts were eased. Instead she put her feelings in a letter and sent it to the offender. A horrible tragedy was averted!
Please see my article “How to Control Your Anger Before it Takes Control of You” for more tips on dealing with anger.