A number of years ago, my daughter Anna was spending the afternoon with me in a quaint English village. We found a charming cafe and sat enjoying a pot of tea and some delicious scones with copious layers of butter, jam and clotted cream. We were not watching our weight!
As we left the restaurant we happened upon one of the most frightening scenes I had encountered for many years. An angry young man rammed his car into the driver in front of him and then putting his car in reverse he rammed it into the driver behind him. He repeated this process a number of times. People were gathering at the scene and you could feel tension and fear rising in the atmosphere. The young man got out of his car and began to pursue someone – we learned later that he had a gun on him. We were both praying fervently and made a decision to get out of the village as quickly as we could. The situation was resolved after many hours and the young man was incarcerated.
However, when the two of us got back to our home we were both visibly shaken by our experience. When I reflected on the scene I realized that in all of my life I had never seen a display of anger like that. I married a wonderful man and although I might have ‘pushed his button’ on occasions in our relationship, I had never seen him lose control or display anger in that way. I suddenly realized how powerful and terrifying anger can be.
The Bible is the most amazing book. It gives us so many wise principles for how to govern our lives. One of the emotions the Bible deals with is anger. Here is what it says:
1. There is a place for Anger: Anger is not always a negative emotion. There is a place for anger. Paul said in Ephesians 4:26 “In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.” There are some situations that deserve our anger. When defenseless children are harmed and people are killed for their beliefs we should feel angry. Anger is a normal human emotion. If we didn’t feel anger at times we would not be fully human.
2. Anger must be controlled: The anger we saw displayed in that English village was anger out of control – and that is frightening. You should not express your anger in any form of violence because then it becomes sin. Learn to control your anger. If you feel that you are out of control then you may need professional help. But for most people it is as simple as making a decision that you will control your anger and your anger will not control you.
3. Find the appropriate time and place to express your anger: If your spouse has made you angry it is probably not wise to make an immediate response because it will probably not be the right one. Take some time out and consider what your response should be.
4. Don’t bottle your anger: Keeping anger on the inside will not be good for your emotional well-being. It is almost as bad to ‘bottle your anger’ as it is to release it in unmeasured ways.
5. Don’t cling to your anger: Don’t keep rehearsing the event that made you angry over and over in your mind. Deal with it, communicate effectively about your anger and then move on
Anger is a normal human emotion, but one that we must learn to control. In fact, James 1:19 says, “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” Sometimes our anger is produced because we did not listen, or rather, we did not listen carefully. We can jump to conclusions, get angry and then realize the words got twisted in our ears. Proverbs is a wonderful book that gives great advice about human emotions. In chapter 16: 32 it says, “better a patient person than a warrior, one with self-control than one who takes a city.” Self-control is the key to handling anger. It is a decision that each one of us need to make on a daily basis.
Have a wonderful and blessed day! And may your life reflect God to your family and your friends by the way you respond to the trying situations of life.
I am and always will be,
Recklessly abandoned, ruthlessly committed and in relentless pursuit of Jesus