Tuesday, January 8, 2008


In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. Ephesians 4:26-27

Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for mans anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. James 1:19b-20

"Anger stuns. It frightens. It makes people feel bad about themselves. And of course it warns them to stop doing whatever is offending you. But people gradually become injured and resistant. As soon as they see you, they put on their emotional armor in preparation for the next upset. The more anger you express, the less effective your anger becomes, the less you are listened to, and the more cut off you may begin to feel from genuine closeness." When Anger Hits - McKay.

Christians often think that anger is a bad thing...that we shouldn't feel anger. Read Ephesians 4:26-27 again. It doesn't say don't get angry - it says, "don't sin in your anger." Anger is a normal human emotion. It is a signal that something is wrong. When I talk to clients about anger I give them the picture of putting their hand on a hot stove. The pain causes a signal from the brain that says, "take your hand off the stove....it's hot!!!" We need pain in order to keep us safe. The signal is healthy. Anger is healthy too - how we express our anger is what gets us in trouble!
Here are some suggestions for expressing your anger in a healthy way.

1. Learn to say no. Sometimes we set ourselves up to get angry because we say yes when we should be saying no to unrealistic demands from others. Check out my post on our responsibility to say no if you have trouble with this one.

2. Use your anger as a motivator. When we get angry it is usually because of some injustice or something we feel is unfair. Think about Rosa Parks or the founder of Mothers Against Drunk Drivers M.A.D.D. They used their anger to change things.

3. Give yourself a time out. Try holding your breath for 10 seconds...it take oxygen to maintain anger...holding your breath will keep you from exploding.

4. Do something physical. Years ago, when women had to beat rugs and men built their own houses, humans had daily physical activities to relieve their stress and take out their frustrations. Today we live very sedentary lifestyles that don't give us a way to discharge our negative energy.

5. Use a sounding board. Find a friend to talk to about what happened, but be careful that you choose someone who won't fuel your anger by reminding you of all the other things you should be angry about.

No comments: