July 11, 2016
We’ve been exploring our anger for a few days. I hope you have a better understanding of anger’s role and the reasons that you get angry. My goals were: 1) that you not be afraid of your anger as I was for many years, and 2) that you engage your anger so you can steward it better. 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. That was my M.O. 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. However, if you tend to hold your anger inside and grow resentful, ask God to help you share your angry feelings 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 they did so with a heart, motivation and methods that were healthy and purposeful.
As we discussed yesterday, anger is just a God-given warning system, one that lets 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. On the other hand, anger can be directed inward and lead to negative self-talk, low self-image, depression, isolation or self-loathing. That 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 and 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, your 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, forgiving and being forgiven can change all that. Ask God. He will guide and help you. Call our Lighthouse Network’s Helpline (877-562-2565), 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 him or her, “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. The Lighthouse Network resource, WITHIN REACH, helps you understand and utilize negative feelings to make great decisions. Whether you understand and use the God’s gift of emotions as your warning system or you ignore them and get blindsided and suffer, it’s 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 to understand Your 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