Learning to Properly Handle Our Anger

23 Jul

William Stafford: “Individuals or whole peoples can gnaw on old grievances, remembering them again and again, renewing them obsessively until the shape of memory and desire is permanently warped along the lines of anger.”

Dr. Gary Smalley, in addition to listing honor as the number one need in our homes today, also suggests that forgotten, unresolved anger is the number one poison – the one thing that is causing more divorce than anything else.

Whether we agree with that assessment or not, we certainly can agree that we simply must learn to deal more effectively with the anger we have in order to have the peaceful homes we need, desire, and deserve.

We think it’s forgotten, or that it has disappeared…yet it comes to life again because anger is usually ‘buried alive’ and it keeps on growing. It is made up of hurt, frustration, and fear. We should not welcome unresolved anger, because that allows it to linger and settle in, bringing harm not only to ourselves but also to those around us.

Anger has three deadly results:

1.     Anger creates distance

Anger almost always creates an unhealthy distance between the parties involved. Do you want to stay or run away from angry people? People are not comfortable being in the presence of any angry person; they won’t want to interact with you; the won’t want you in their room.

If you are married to anConflict-Resolution angry man or woman, he or she will usually try to create distance between you. You may want to get close, but the offended one will pull away. Angry people refute closeness. Improve the relationship, and they will sabotage it. Call it black – they will call it white, just to keep you at arm’s length.

We each have to face out past and check the level of our own anger. We can stop what sometimes becomes a generational pull (we find ourselves acting like our parents!) of ruined relationships by taking responsibility for reducing the level of anger within ourselves.

2.     Anger pushes us into darkness

Ephesians 4:26-27: “BE ANGRY, AND yet DO NOT SIN; do not let the sun go down on your anger, {27} and do not give the devil an opportunity.”

Have you ever found yourself awake in the middle of the night in a hotel room – and you can’t find a light switch? You need to answer the telephone, turn down the air conditioner, or locate the bathroom, but you find yourself groping in inky darkness – walking into a table, knocking the clock off the nightstand, banging your shin on a chair or tripping over the shoes you left on the floor.

Unresolved anger does that in our lives. It rips away our perspective and throws us into chaos. We don’t know where we are. We can’t think logically. We don’t realize what we’re doing to ourselves and those we love. As we blindly lurch and stumble, our families become candidates for serious, possibly permanently, injuries of the heart.

Is it surprising that if unresolved anger puts us at a distance from each other that it might have the identical effect upon our relationship with God?! There is usually a certain correlation between anger and faith; it seems that the greater a person’s unresolved anger, the more difficulty that person has in developing a meaningful spiritual life.

Walking consistently in darkness prevents us from being sensitive or loving toward others. It also kills any interest we have in studying God’s Word and lays any desire to pray into the deep freeze. Further, it robs us of any desire to please and honor Him or to experience His joy, contentment, and peace.

When Satan secures a foothold in a life, it’s no laughing matter. Deception and chaos come through the door with him. Unbelievable pain and destruction follow. Anger trickles into the emotional heart of a relationship, chilling feelings of warmth or attachment. No wonder Paul said:

3.     Anger ties us into knots

Like few other emotions, anger restricts and binds us, tying us into internal knows. Forgiveness, on the other hand, sets us free from those bonds, untying the knots that hold us captive.

The Lord Jesus gives us a powerful word picture of forgiveness: Forgive, and you will be forgiven” (Luke 6:37). The word used here in the original language literally means to “release fully, to unbind or to let go.” It is the only time in the New Testament that this word is translated “forgiven.” It is usually found to be “release” or “free.” (see John 11:44).

The Anger Inventory

To take the inventory, simply rate each statement below, on a scale from 0 (very low) to 10 (very high), for how much it applies to you.

___ 1. I have frequently recurring minor problems.

___ 2. I tend to have difficulty remaining close to people. Others have even said I am “cold.”

___ 3. I continually fail to see the pitfalls in business deals.

___ 4. I have little interest in religious matters.

___ 5. I have many doubts about the existence of God

___ 6. I tend to see religious people as “a bunch of hypocrites.”

___ 7. I tend to be judgmental or overly critical of people.

___ 8. I have a general inability to see my own shortcomings.

___ 9. My image is very important to me. What I wear and drive are big concerns.

___ 10. I often struggle with feelings of low self-value.

___ 11. I often fail to see that my words or actions hurt the feelings of others.

___ 12. My parents divorced before I turned eighteen.

___ 13. I think one or both of my parents drank too much alcohol.

___ 14. My parents seemed addicted to drugs or other substances.

___ 15. My parents abused me.

___ 16. My parents seemed too distant or neglectful to me.

___ 17. I felt that my parents were too controlling of me.

___ 18. I often struggle with feelings of discouragement or depression.

___ 19. I seem to be at odds with several people for long periods of time.

___ 20. I tend to be overly controlling of my mate, children, or friends.

___ 21. I have general feelings of anxiety; I can’t put my finger on what it is that I’m uneasy about.

___ 22. I have sometimes thought about suicide.

___ 23. I have had a hard time forgiving others when they hurt or frustrate me.

___ 24. I have a hard time confronting others when they hurt me, and I know that I’m not that good at getting my anger out.

___ 25. I find myself overly busy most of the time.

___ 26. I find it easier to blame others than to take responsibility for my mistakes.

___ 27. I often overreact to what others say or do to me.

___ 28. I feel I am motivated far too often by fear of failure.

___ 29. I often wish people who have hurt me could be punished somehow.

___ 30. I frequently think that I’ve been cheated out of important areas of life.

___ 31. I get into fights with others that sometimes result in physical aggression, such as throwing things, slapping, or hitting.

___ 32. I don’t really trust anyone other than myself.

  • Now add up the 32 numbers – your waiting…….My total score: _______
  • If your total score is more than 100, there is some help for you offered in available books. If your score is more than 200, see a counselor.
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Posted by on July 23, 2014 in Article


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