Christians often believe that anger is wrong and they employ scriptures to justify their claims.You are told to resolve your differences. You are to clear up hurt and anger so they don’t take hold and become unforgiveness and bitterness in your life.
Anger isn’t wrong but if handled incorrectly,it can be damaging.
Anger is a God-given emotion.Emotions are simply mood responses to living your life.They are influenced by thoughts and behavior, and are unpredictable, positive,and negative as the case may be.They are part of your human makeup.God didn’t make a mistake and say, “Oops, I threw in anger when I created man.That was a mistake. Now what?”
Anger is an emotional response which occurs in relationships. For example,you may get angry when your husband forgets to take out the trash.Your wife may anger you when she is a backseat driver. To deny the feelings serves no purpose. In fact,it can lead to all kinds of physical and emotional difficulties such as depression,eating disorders,alcohol,and drug problems.
Obviously,God knows that anger is a part of the emotional makeup He created within you which is why He instructs you to “Be angry and do not sin.”(Eph.4:26).The first part of this scripture gives permission to be angry.Anger can be used to correct wrongs and bring about change.
“Do not sin” means control this emotion and use it in productive- not destructive ways.
Spiritually,you are taught:
- Be quick to hear,slow to speak,slow to anger; resolve anger before the sun goes down(Jam.1 :19) Whether you want to lash out or bury your anger deep inside,the instruction is to calm down and deal with the problem immediately. Things spoken hastily can hurt.Words are powerful and cannot be taken back. Think,listen, and calm down before you react.Then deal with anger immediately,not weeks,months,or even years later.
- Don’t give full vent to your anger.(Prov.29:11). You may be angry,but you don’t have license to unleash it on anyone or anything. Control your tongue and behavior.Self-control is a actually a fruit of the spirit.Cursing,hitting,breaking,and intimidating others are ungodly behaviors.
- Don’t get caught up in name-calling (Math.5:22). Name-calling and bullying are not christ-like behaviors. They are damaging and serve no purpose but to hurt the other person.
- Don’t take revenge on a violator(Rom.12:9,Heb.10:30). You and I live in a culture of lawsuits and revenge.God says, “Vengeance is mine and will repay it.” This isn’t a popular position and very difficult to accept,but don’t repay evil with evil.Marriages built on revenge are headed for divorce if not handled effectively.
- Forgive those who anger you(Math.6:14). Forgive others as Christ did to you.It doesn’t matter how justified you are in your position. If your spouse is wrong,you are to forgive.You didn’t deserve Christ’s forgiveness,but He gave it to you anyway. Now do same for your spouse or anyone who hurt you.Don’t wait for them to ask for forgiveness.
- Don’t stay angry(Col.3:8). Feel angry,try to resolve the problem and then move on.You can get physically and emotionally ill if you hang on to anger.Bitterness can develop and grow too.Not everything in life is resolvable,so learn to let go.
In addition to spiritual directives regarding anger,you need to take practical steps:
- Don’t make excuses for your anger. It’s easy to say, “That’s just the way I am,” Take responsibility.You are not a victim of people or circumstances. You are responsible for your own behavior no matter what.
- Don’t jump to conclusions. Ask yourself, “Is my anger based on a real situation,or is my perception off?” You might sometimes misread your spouse even after you have been together for a long time.You might judge them incorrectly and hold on to upset.Clarify the situation and facts of an angry moment.
- Don’t let anger cover other emotions.Anger can make you feel powerful and mask hurt and pain.It is a socially sanctioned emotion for men,while other emotions are viewed as less than masculine.Beneath the anger may lurk a disappointed or wounded soul.
- Refuse to keep thinking about the injustice metted out to you. For instance,most couples continue to ruminate on past problems,especially those in which they were treated unfairly. Confront the issue,do what you can,and then move on.Don’t get stuck in anger.
- Don’t vent. Research actually shows that when you express anger by screaming,yelling,punching pillows,or throwing tantrums,you actually increase anger rather than reduce it.Contrary to popular belief,these acts do not make anger go away.
- Do something physical like a sport to release anger from your physical body.Take a walk,play racquetball or work out at the gym.These are appropriate ways to release physical tension.
- Practice Calming strategies.Count to ten.Take a deep breath. Learn deep muscle relaxation and other physical and emotional strategies to calm and soothe you.
- Walk away temporarily.This is a form of time-out and useful so long as you return to deal with the issue.
- Deal with any underlying feelings of insecurity,low self-esteem,and past hurts or misgivings.Most times,the conflict between two spouses is a replay of past unresolved issues and individual insecurities .You may need counselling and a deep encounter with God,asking Him to reveal those areas of your life under reconstruction inorder to move forward.