I use to believe that anger was something that happened to me. When I felt angry, I felt like I was a victim of anger, as if it controlled me, and I just had to let it run its course until it sputtered out. I feel like comparing it to a cold virus. It comes on strong and I just have to wait until it passes.
This type of thinking is wrong.
If you do this when you get angry…if you believe anger controls you and that it has to run its course…you need to stop thinking this way.
You may be thinking now:
How do I stop being angry?
My husband did this…
My child keeps doing this…
My mom said this…
My sister won’t….
My dad can’t…
My friends just don’t…
That is the thing with anger. When it flares up, our flesh is motivated to justify its existence and it is that justification – based on other people’s actions or inactions – its that justification that convinces you to let it run its course.
I suppose we should clarify what anger is…
Anger is one of the many emotions God has given us the ability to experience and express. I believe God allows us to know what anger is so that we feel deeply and can gain greater understanding of the world around us. I also think that anger reveals a ton about ourselves and about God and how He designed our bodies. We can know more about ourselves through anger when we experience it as we navigate these questions:
- Why am I angry?
- What triggers my anger?
- Can I have self-control despite my anger?
- How can I resolve this feeling of anger?
Answering these kinds of questions about this specific emotion will help us know ourselves better. Knowing ourselves makes it easier to respond to anger when it flares up, instead of letting go of the reins and just letting it run its course. We can stay in control and manage it.
Anger is an emotion. We are allowed to feel angry. But God is clear in His Word that we should never sin in our anger.
Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.” – Ephesians 4:26-27
So we can experience and express anger. We can be angry. But we should not sin in our anger. We should not let the sun go down on our anger – which in marriage I believe we need to be careful of and address issues as they come up. We should not give the devil any opportunity in any of relationships to bring destruction upon them. He will try. The devil is waiting for an opportunity for us to get angry and has no hesitation to use that against us. He will try to bring up the past, he will remind you of the hurt you have already experienced, he will bring on reasons why you should remain in your anger.
This does bring peace or reconciliation to a relationship. But what will, is being confident that we can experience and express anger, but that it has no control over us. We are not slaves to anger. We have victory in Christ!
There have been situations where people express anger and take it out on someone else. Seeing this breaks my heart.
One time, I pulled into my mom’s driveway and I overheard the neighbors, a dad cussing and yelling at his young teenage boy, demanding him to go to his room. I also heard the boy talk back, which aggravated his father even more. It lasted only seconds, but I felt the weight of their frustrations and it was overwhelming. The anger was obvious on their faces and in the tone of their voices.
In another instance, I went to the store, and as I waited for a couple to walk to their car so I could have their spot, I felt as if I should pray for them. They were an older couple and I am almost positive they were married. I couldn’t hear their conversation, but the way the wife walked a few steps in front of the man in a brisk fashion, glaring at him over her shoulder, and seeing their arms flail at each other, made it look as if they were arguing. They left their spot and drove away with scowls on their faces. I sat there for a moment and just prayed that God would intervene.
There have been other times that I have allowed anger to bring ruin in my relationships. I justify the mean way I talk to my husband and believe it is valid because I am angry. My husband gets hurt. We feel separated. And when my son notices, he starts to express frustration and anger. It is in moments like this that I must humble my heart and remember that I am in control of my behavior. I repent and apologize, then move forward to reconcile the reason I am angry.
I want to remind us all that anger is an emotion. It will always be a part of who we are. Anger reveals depths of our hearts that we would otherwise not know existed. However, we must not sin in our anger. We must not settle to believe that anger just happens to us and it needs to run its course. We are responsible for our behavior no matter what emotion we feel.
So…How do I stop being angry?
Anger is an emotion that even Jesus experienced. However, anger can easily lead us to actions that could cause hurt to ourselves or others if we allow it to rule our hearts. May we be vigilant to extinguish the lies that anger is in control. Start here. Acknowledge your anger and then pray. Remind yourself that you are stronger than your emotions and that God will help you, if you let Him. Take a moment to pray. Take a few deep breaths. Consider why you are angry and what it is that you are looking for that will help resolve your anger. Seek peace and pursue it.
Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. – Psalm 34:14
Also, keep in mind that marriage is an especially easy target for the enemy to try and muster anger. Let’s NOT give him an opportunity to tear us down. Instead, let us submit our feelings unto the Lord through prayer and ask for His help to find peace and reconciliation and victory! We can do this!!