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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Dealing With Anger

Anger Many Christians claim it’s OK to get angry. But some will go so far as to say that the Bible commands us to get angry. When reading the Bible, focus not only the verse being looked at but the surrounding text, setting, time period, along with geographical location, among other pertinent information. Sometimes, I feel angry. Everyone does at some point. This feeling doesn’t make acting out on our anger something Godly. We can transform negative energy to positive energy. Today, people are inconsiderate, whipping into a parking spot ahead of you when you clearly had your turn signal on. This makes me fearful, fearful that I am going to walk further; in addition, this spot hog doesn’t respect me enough to give me the courtesy to get the parking spot for which I was waiting. So, anger always has a pre-thought, if you will. It’s important to know what makes certain emotions or situations stir us up. We have to be able to understand what makes us feel angry. That anger should not be used to flip off the driver. We’ve all done that, but we don’t have to. What we do need is a way to channel our anger to produce positive outlook and behavior. But, we do have to speak up for ourselves. There is nothing wrong with speaking up for yourself in love. One thing many people don’t understand is that, when we are saved, we die to our old ways. If we are saved, we live in the Spirit — not the ways of the world. So we can react to anger in the spirit, which utilizes self-control. My grandfather was my only male role model. Everything he did, I watched to see how he did it. I gave him plenty of opportunities to become angry. But he was not quick to anger, and that is a sign of wisdom, not weakness. We can control ourselves only through the help of the Lord. If we do not have the Lord in our lives, then we will display anger according to society’s status quo. We are not God; we don’t make our own rules. The following verse is claimed by those who feel there is Biblical justification for becoming angry. According to the Gospel of Mark, on this day, after Jesus’ triumphal entry, he entered the temple, looked around (perhaps noted the abuses) and then went to Bethany (Mark 11:11). Christ found some of the courts of the temple turned into a market for cattle and things used in the sacrifices, and partly occupied by the money-changers. Our Lord drove them from the place, as he had done at his entering upon his ministry (John 2:13-17). His works testified of him more than the hosannas; and his healing in the temple was fulfilling the promise, that the glory of the latter house should be greater than the glory of the former. If Christ came now into the many parts of his visible church, how many secret evils would He discover and cleanse? And how many things daily practiced under the cloak of religion would he show to be more suitable to a den of thieves than to a house of prayer? I hear so many differences concerning the topic of anger. Anger is a secondary emotion or feeling caused by a thought which stimulates something in your mind, body, or soul. One pre-anger thought is fear. I am fearful because “X” or “Y” might happen. Let’s use an example of a person who is walking along the sidewalk. Suddenly, the man slips. While he is falling, he is fearful it will be painful coming down. After he hits the ground, he chooses to be mad, demanding answers as to why there was no saltlaid gravel outside. So, anger is aggravated by fear. When anger becomes out of control, it is wrong. The act of being angry turns to sin when it is selfishly motivated (James 1:20), when God’s goal is distorted (1 Corinthians 10:31), or when anger is allowed to linger (Ephesians 4:26-27). Instead of using the energy generated by anger to attack the problem at hand, one attacks another person instead. Ephesians 4:15 and19 say we are to speak the truth in love, use our words to build up others, and not allow rotten or destructive words to pour from our lips. Unfortunately, this poisonous speech is a common characteristic of fallen men, as in Romans 3:13-14. Anger becomes sin when it is allowed to boil over without restraint, resulting in everyone within earshot being hurt (Proverbs 29:11). Anger also becomes sin when one is recklessly arrogant (Ephesians 4:26-27). 31 Don’t be proud; rather, admit personal, egotistical anger and wrong handling of anger as sin (Proverbs 28:13; John 1:9). This acknowledgment should be both to God and to those who have been hurt by the anger. No one should minimize the effects of anger by making excuses or shifting the blame. Seeing God in the trial This is particularly important when people have done something to offend you. James 1:2-4; Romans 8:28-29; and Genesis 50:20 all point to the fact that God is sovereign and in complete control over every circumstance and person that enters your path. Nothing happens to you that He does not cause or allow. And, as all of these verses show, God is a good God (Psalm 145:8, 9, 17) and allows all things in your life for your good and the good of others! Reflecting on this truth to the point of where it moves from our heads to our hearts will alter how we react to those who hurt us deeply. Make room for God’s wrath This is especially important in cases of injustices, especially when done by evil men to innocent people. Genesis 50:19 and Romans 12:19 both state that we should not play God. God is righteous and just, and we can trust Him. God knows all and sees all and will do justly what He sees fit (Genesis 18:25). Do not return evil with evil (Genesis 50:21; Romans 12:21). This is the key to altering our anger into love. As one’s actions flow from one’s heart, so also one’s heart can be altered by one’s actions (Matthew 5:43-48)...that is, one can change one’s feelings toward another by changing how one chooses to act towards that person. Communicate to solve the problem There are four basic rules of communication shared in Ephesians 4:15, 25-32: Be honest and speak (Ephesians 4:15, 25). People can’t read our minds, but speak the truth in love. Stay current (Ephesians 4:26-27). Don’t “sand bag,” letting the list of what is bothering you build up until the “dam bursts” and you lose your temper. Dealing with and sharing what is bothering you before it gets to that point is important. Keep a short list! Attack the problem, not the person (Ephesians 4:29, 31). Along this line, one must keep in mind the importance of keeping the volume of one’s voice low (Proverbs 15:1).Yelling is usually a form of attack toward a person. Act, don’t react (Ephesians 4:31-32). Because of our fallen nature, our knee-jerk reactions, our first impulse is usually a sinful one (verse 31). The time spent in counting to ten should be used to reflect upon the Godly way to respond (verse 32) and to remind yourself how anger is to be used to solve problems, not create bigger ones. Finally, you must act to resolve your part of the problem (Acts 12:18). You cannot control how others act or respond, but you can make changes. Overcoming one’s temper is not something that is usually accomplished overnight. But with reliance upon God through prayer for help, Bible study, and reliance upon God’s Holy Spirit, it can be overcome. As one has allowed anger to become entrenched in one’s life by habitual practice, one must also practice responding correctly until it, too, becomes a habit replacing the old ways. Here are some Proverbs that deal with the topic of anger: “...jealousy enrages a man, and he will not spare in the day of vengeance” (6:34). “A quick-tempered man acts foolishly, and a man of evil device is hated” (14:17). “He who is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who is quick-tempered exalts folly” (14:29). “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (15:1). “A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but the slow to anger pacifies contention” (15:18). “The wrath of a king is as messengers of death, but a wise man will appease it” (16:14). “He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city” (16:32). “A man’s discretion makes him slow to anger and it is his glory to overlook a transgression” (19:11). “A man of great anger shall bear the penalty, for if you rescue him, you will only have to do it again” (19:19). “A gift in secret subdues anger, and a bribe in the bosom, strong wrath” (21:14). “Do not associate with a man given to anger, or go with a hot-tempered man, lest you learn his ways, and find a snare for yourself” (22:24, 25). “Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles, lest the Lord see it and be displeased, and He turn away His anger from him” (24:17,18). “Wrath is fierce and anger is a flood, but who can stand before jealousy?” (27:4). “Scorners set a city aflame, but wise men turn away anger” (29:8). “An angry man stirs up strife, and a hot-tempered man abounds in transgression” (29:22). “For the churning of milk produces butter, and pressing the nose brings forth blood; so the churning of anger produces strife” (20:33). Anger is something that we have to control. Self control goes a long way. J.Cyr, D.C.A (C) 2013

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