Before we dive in to how to deal with anger, can you think of a time you got really angry? How did you respond? What did you do? Anger is a common emotion that every single person faces. The Bible sheds light on how to deal with anger.
Did you know that anger is really just a cover? HUH?
Yeah, anger is usually just a cover for some other emotion we are experiencing.
Let me explain what I mean. Often, rather than identify with getting our feelings hurt, or feeling vulnerable we go straight to anger. Anger is easy. In the moment, anger feels tough and protective. Without really thinking it through, we get mad to avoid sad. Make sense?
The emotion of anger isn’t the problem. The problem lies in what we do with the anger.
“In your anger do not sin:” ~Ephesians 4:26a
Paul doesn’t say don’t get angry. He says, don’t sin and response to your anger.
I wonder if Paul points that out because we have a sin nature. Our sin nature trips us up. Every. Single. Day. So it only makes sense that anger might be the result of our beliefs, thoughts, attitudes, pride, etc.
Quick recap – before moving on… Anger is the emotion that rears its ugly head to cover up the real feelings beneath the surface. Those feelings could be the result of hurt feelings to a bruised ego and everything in between.
Consequences of Dealing With Anger Poorly
- Responding with anger keeps the heart of the issue buried. Instead of going beneath the surface we cover our primary emtions with anger. This is the perfect environment for the enemy to make progress (Ephesians 4:26-27).
- Burying the emotions that are actually driving the anger results in bitterness and resentment. This happens when we don’t address hurt feelings or an offense. We stay stuck rather than moving toward resolution (Ephesians 4:26-27).
- Relationships are damaged. Imagine having someone in the house that responds to their frustrations with anger. The natural response to a pattern of anger is decreased safety, avoidance of anger through omission of truth and attempts to manage others’ emotions. None of those lead to a thriving relationship. Instead a breakdown begins to occur in the relationship.
- Finally, dealing with anger poorly does not produce the righteousness of God (James 1:20). Let’s break this one down.
When we are faced with tough situations, responding with anger is not productive. Even if we get what we want by responding angrily it’s only a quick win. It does not yield lasting results.
For example, if I respond to my children’s behavior with anger, they might shape up in the moment, but I miss the opportunity to get to the heart of the behavior that needs to be corrected.
Another example would be, I act angrily toward my spouse. I may get the behavior I’m looking for right now, but the issue beneath the surface will crop up again. Continuously acting this way breaks down the relationship.
Lastly on this, responding with anger is a sin, within ourselves. It requires a deeper look in order to deal with the anger effectively. We’re called to honor God no matter how others are acting. We are not to respond to others’ sin by acting sinfully with anger (Romans 12:17).
Quick recap – dealing with anger poorly is sinful and ineffective in the long run. Let’s talk about how to replace these patterns with new ones. Put on the new put off the old.
3 Steps to Dealing with Anger
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” ~Romans 12:2a
1.Know your triggers. When do you tend to respond with anger? Is it typically in your parenting, marriage, work, etc? Look for patterns and come up with a battle plan for dealing with anger effectively. A bad plan is better than no plan. Use God’s Word to help guide your response.
“In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.” Ephesians 4:26-27
2.Now that we know anger is usually a cover up for another emotion, we gotta get brave and take a deeper look. The most effective way to do that is through sorting beneath the surface. This can be done through journaling.
Ask yourself, what happened? How did you feel? How did you respond? What did you want to see happen? Did your response lineup with God’s best for you? What is God’s best for you? How could you respond differently next time?
“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this Colin everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,” ~James 1:19
3.When we get hit with a frustrating event out of nowhere it’s tempting to barrel ahead with anger. But pause, take a moment and give yourself at timeout. It is rare that something can’t be dealt with at a later time period. Sort your feelings through the journaling in step two.
How to Deal With Anger: Quick Recap
The first thing we have to remember is anger is the emotion that rears its ugly head to cover up the real feelings we are experiencing beneath the surface. Those feelings can be a result of anything from hurt feelings to a bruised ego and everything in between.
The consequences of dealing with anger poorly is sinful and ineffective in the long run. We have to learn how to replace these patterns of responding in anger with new, more effective patterns.
Effectively dealing with anger begins with knowing our triggers and coming up with a battle plan to combat angry responses. Next, we need to take a moment, pause and think through our response. And finally, sort through these emotions through an effective journaling guide.
Every day, every person, faces frustrating and annoying situations. It’s never too late to change course and respond to these frustrating and annoying situations as outlined in God’s Word.