Taking Action Against Anger

So, what can be done right now to help me with me anger? Ask, “Can I change this situation?” (If the door squeaks, oil it!)

  • — If you can, change it.
  • — If you can’t, release it.

PRAY … “Lord, You are sovereign over my life. Sine You know everything, You know I feel a strong sense of (hurt, injustice, fear, or frustration) about (name the person or the situation). I release this situation into Your hands. I trust You with my future and with me.
In Your holy name I pray. Amen.”

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.” (Psalm 143:8)

“Anger is one letter short of danger.” This saying is more than a catchy phrase; these words reflect the painful truth. Too many times the tongue has not been tamed and conversations have escalated out of control.

Acknowledge Your Anger:

  • Be willing to admit you do have anger.
  • Be aware of when you feel anger.
  • Become aware of suppressing or repressing your anger because of fear.
  • Be willing to take responsibility for any inappropriate anger.
  • He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.” (Proverbs 28:13)

Analyze Your Style:

  • How often do you feel angry? (Often? Sometimes? Never?)
  • How do you know when you are angry?
  • How do others know when you are angry?
  • How do you release your anger?
  • Do you explode? Do you become teary-eyed? Do you joke or tease? Do you become sarcastic? Do you criticize? Do you become defensive?
  • Test me, O LORD, and try me, examine my heart and my mind.” (Psalm 26:2)

Assess the Source:

  • Hurt: Is the source of your anger hurt feelings from the words or actions of others?
  • Injustice: Is the source of your anger an emotional response to the unjust actions of someone toward another person?
  • Fear: Is the source of your anger a feeling of loss or fear?
  • Frustration: Is the source of your anger frustration because something didn’t go as you planned?
  • I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity.” (1 Chronicles 29:17)

Appraise Your Thinking:

  • Are you expecting others to meet your standards?
    • “She should take better care of her children.”
    • “He ought to notice what I do for him.”
    • “He must be here before 7:00 p.m.”
    • “She’d better not call during dinner!”
  • Are you guilty of distorted thinking?
    • Exaggerating the situation
    • Assuming the worst
    • Labeling one action based on other actions
    • Generalizing by saying, “you never” or “you always”
  • A wicked man puts up a bold front, but an upright man gives thought to his ways.” (Proverbs 21:29)

Admit Your Needs:

  • Anger is often used as a tactic to get inner needs met.
    • Do you use anger as a manipulative ploy to demand certain “musts” in an attempt to feel loved?
    • Do you use explosive anger to get your way in an attempt to feel significant?
    • Do you use controlling anger, insisting on certain conditions in order to feel secure?
    • Do you know that only Christ can ultimately meet all these needs?
  • My God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19)

Abandon Your Demands:

Instead of demanding that others meet your inner needs for love, for significance, and for security, learn to look to the Lord to meet your needs.

  • “Lord, though I would like to feel more love from others, I know that You love me unconditionally.” “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.” (Jeremiah 31:3)
  • “Lord, though I would like to feel more significant to those around me, I know that I am significant in Your eyes.” “ ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’ ” (Jeremiah 29:11)
  • “Lord, though I wish I felt more secure in my relationships, I know I am secure in my relationship with You.” “The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” (Psalm 118:6)
  • “Lord, though I wish others would be more responsive to my needs, I know that You have promised to meet all my needs.” “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” (2 Peter 1:3)

Alter Your Attitudes:

Take the following steps as outlined in Philippians 2:2–8.

Make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:2–8)

  • Have the goal to be like-minded with Christ. Philippians 2:2
  • Do not think of yourself first. Philippians 2:3
  • Give the other person preferential treatment. Philippians 2:3
  • Consider the other person’s interests. Philippians 2:4
  • Have the attitude of Jesus Christ. Philippians 2:5
  • Do not emphasize your position or rights. Philippians 2:6
  • Look for ways to serve with a servant’s heart. Philippians 2:7
  • Speak and act with a humble spirit. Philippians 2:8
  • Be willing to die to your own desires. Philippians 2:8

Address Your Anger:

Determine whether your anger is really justified. “A wicked man puts up a bold front, but an upright man gives thought to his ways.” (Proverbs 21:29)

Decide on the appropriate response. “[There is] a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak.” (Ecclesiastes 3:7)

a. How important is the issue?
b. Would a good purpose be served if I mention it?
c. Should I acknowledge my anger only to the Lord?

Depend on the Holy Spirit for guidance. “When he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.” (John 16:13)

Develop constructive dialogue when you confront. “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” (Colossians 4:6)

Don’t speak from a heart of unforgiveness.
Do … Think before you speak.

Don’t use phrases such as: “How could you?” or “Why can’t you?”
Do … Use personal statements such as “I feel.…”

Don’t bring up past grievances.
Do … Stay focused on the present issue.

Don’t assume that the other person is wrong.
Do … Listen for feedback from another point of view.

Don’t expect instant understanding.
Do … Be patient and keep responding with gentleness.

Through patience a ruler can be persuaded, and a gentle tongue can break a bone.” (Proverbs 25:15)

Demonstrate the grace of God, by saying to yourself:

“I placed my anger on the cross with Christ.”
“I am no longer controlled by anger.”
“I am alive with Christ living inside me.”
“I will let Christ forgive through me.”
“I will let Christ love through me.”
“I will let Christ reveal truth through me.”

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)

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This information comes from Hunt, J. (2008). Biblical Counseling Keys on Anger: Facing the Fire Within, Dallas, TX: Hope For The Heart.

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