May 31, 2013
The last couple days we’ve been exploring our anger and hopefully you have a better understanding of the role and for why you get angry. My goal was for you not to be afraid of your anger as I was for many years, but to engage it so you can steward it better. So when you feel angry with someone or something, do you express your feelings … or do you hold the anger inside? People who bury their anger usually believe they are doing the right thing by appearing calm on the outside and not blowing up … this was me. The reality, however, is that unresolved anger will fester and develop into resentment, bitterness, or even depression.
Some people respond to anger by immediately holding it in, and then releasing it or letting it go a short time later without hurting themselves or others. We can do this by playing ball or scrubbing the dishes while calming down, and then having an honest conversation with the person who upset us. When we handle our feelings like this, the results are often beneficial. But if you tend to hold your anger inside and grow resentful, ask God to help you share your angry feelings with people as they occur. We don’t want to share in a rage or with unkind words. We just want an honest but controlled expression of our feelings.
The Bible teaches that we shouldn’t carry anger overnight. Get it settled before going to bed. Otherwise, it’s likely that resentment will grow. We see various Bible passages in which God and Jesus expressed their anger or displeasure, but did so with a heart, motivation, and method that were healthy and purposeful.
As we discussed yesterday, anger is just a God-given warning system … letting us know when a real or potential problem exists. Thankfully, until you actually do something about the underlying problem, your brain and system will continue to warn you. Not addressing the problem is what allows anger to grow, fester, and come out in harmful ways. Or it can be directed inward and lead to negative self-talk, low self-image, depression, isolation, or self-loathing. The negativity against ourselves may include cutting, excessive piercing and tattooing, addictions, promiscuity, and even suicide.
Perhaps you are already experiencing bitterness because of unexpressed grievances from the past. The answer: when anger starts to warn you, acknowledge the hurt … forgive or ask for forgiveness … address and solve the original problem. You won’t have to work hard at letting go of the anger … because, when the problem is resolved, that original anger will quickly melt away.
Holding on to bitterness can damage your relationship with God, relationships with others, and your peace of mind. It even harms your health, especially your heart, blood pressure, digestive system, and brain chemistry. Being a problem solver, and forgiving and being forgiven can change all that. Ask God … He will guide and help you. Call our Helpline and we will find a therapist or more intensive residential treatment to equip you with psychological and Biblical skills to manage and express your anger well.
Today, if you notice that someone is angry, ask them, “You seem angry or upset. That anger is warning you about some problem. Can I help you work on or solve that problem?” Ask yourself the same question as well. WITHIN REACH helps you understand and utilize negative feelings to make great decisions. What you do with your emotions is your decision, so choose well.
Dear Father God, forgive me and help me deal with the resentment and bitterness I have been carrying. Give me the strength and wisdom to move forward by acknowledging the hurt, controlling my anger, identifying the problem, solving the underlying issue, and forgiving. Thank You for the wonderful way You designed me. Help me understand that design better so I can be a great steward of my mind and free will. I pray this and all prayers in the name of the best mirror for my eye exam, Jesus Christ; and all God’s children say – AMEN!
Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many Hebrews 12:15