May 1, 2011
Yesterday we talked about how anger isn’t necessarily wrong, dysfunctional, or sinful. But what causes anger? In reality, the answer could be “nothing” around us. We might think that it’s a rude driver, an unfair criticism, or a friend’s betrayal. These situations are usually followed by an angry reaction in us. But the anger is actually our own doing. It is actually our own lenses, how we view situations, that precipitate the feeling of anger. And we usually blame others for “making” us feel that way.
During a basketball game, if my team scores a last minute, game-winning basket, I am excited. Someone rooting for the other team experiences the same event, but instead of being excited, will actually be angry, frustrated, and have other negative emotions as well.
The event, a made shot, doesn’t cause the anger. If it did everybody experiencing the event would be angry. You see, the difference, the key ingredient is the lenses we use as we witness or experience the event.
Anger (and all negative feelings) is a great warning system. Anger let’s us know when something is not going right or when potential danger exists. If I am in the woods and see a tiger, I should get angry, sad, worried, frightened. That is a good warning system letting me know something is not safe or right.
When someone insults us or treats us badly, we should get angry. That lets us know a problem exists in this relationship and needs to be addressed. We can choose how to respond. God has given us free will to control our feelings, thoughts, and actions. Will we choose unkind words, or find a way to “get even” … or will we problem-solve and forgive? It’s our choice. No matter what our background or the current circumstances, we are responsible for our own behavior and we can’t blame it on our emotions. Unfortunately, we often let our anger rule us, allowing it to become our main decision-making influence. Anger serves us well as a warning system. But anger is a very poor master when we let it become our decision-maker in testy situations.
None of us express our feelings appropriately all the time. But the Bible tells us, For I can do everything with the help of Christ who gives me the strength I need. Philippians 4:13.
Today, notice when you are angry. Stop and thank God for a great warning system. Then look below the anger to the problem and address it. If you don’t, your warning system (anger) will keep on alerting you ‘til the problem is resolved. Let Jesus help you make anger your servant instead of your master by following His attitude, actions, and teachings. WITHIN REACH helps you understand your feelings, their role, how we misuse them, how we can soothe them, and then maximally steward them to our benefit and God’s glory.
Dear Father God, thank You so much for my anger, and all my negative feelings. It is awesome to have a warning system to alert me to problems and danger. When I am wronged in some way, help me to choose the Godly response … the one that is pleasing to You. Teach me to control my anger, have patience, problem-solve, and forgive. Thanks for Your soothing Spirit when I am angry. Help me to alllow You in when I feel this pain. I pray this and all prayers in the name of the one who teaches me how to handle all things well, Jesus Christ; and all God’s children say – AMEN!
Sensible people control their temper; they earn respect by overlooking wrongs.