by LESLIE SPEAS
Anger is commonly defined as “a strong feeling of annoyance, displeasure or hostility.” The Mayo Clinic says that anger is a natural response to a perceived threat against our well-being or position. This response causes the body to release adrenaline, muscles to tighten, and heart rate and blood pressure to increase. As humans, we ARE going to get angry sometimes; it’s just part of life. Although feeling anger is sometimes normal, we should not cling to these feelings and act out or hold grudges.
So, what makes you angry? I occasionally get road rage. And, I certainly get angry if someone is ugly to my kids or a loved one. Certain people (won’t mention names here) tend to push my buttons to the point that I lose my cool at times. I’m sure none of you have had this problem, but I used to feel like I was doing everything around the house and that I wasn’t valued – and would eventually erupt on my family members. I have chilled in my older age and don’t tend to grow angry as quickly as I used to.
The Bible teaches that uncontrolled anger is harmful, both to the person who harbors it and to those around him or her. (Proverbs 29:22) Further, the Bible says that those who continue to have “fits of anger” will not inherit God’s kingdom. (Galatians 5:19-21) Remember Cain? Cain “grew hot with anger” when God rejected his sacrifice. Cain’s anger then festered to the point that he murdered his brother. (Genesis 4:3-8)
James 1:19 says “. . . let everyone be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger.” He isn’t necessarily saying that anger is wrong but is telling us not to be quick-tempered. Paul told the Ephesians pretty much the same thing: “Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger . . .” (Ephesians 4:26) I can think of lots of times when the sun went down on my anger. I have slept on the very corner of the bed trying my best not to touch my husband because I was angry about something.
Here are five methods of controlling your anger, so it doesn’t get the best of you.
- Just say no – When you feel yourself getting upset, immediately say “No!” to those thoughts and feelings. Instead of letting the anger control you, take some deep breaths and say a prayer.
- Take a break – Proverbs 17:14 says “Before the quarrel breaks out, take your leave.” Although you should try to settle differences quickly, sometimes you may need to take a break and cool down before you address the situation with the other people.
- Get the facts – Proverbs 19:11 says, “the insight of a man certainly slows down his anger.” Gather all the facts and get all sides of the story before jumping to conclusions.
- Give others a little grace – Remember that most of us are going through difficulties in our lives. Recognize that there are probably underlying reasons that others may be behaving badly and give them some grace.
- Pray for a peaceful mind – Through prayer, we can experience “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding.” (Philippians 4:7)
“The one slow to anger is better than a mighty man.” Proverbs 16:32