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Dealing with Anger
A Perspective on Anger, Part II

In the article Seeing Red, I discussed that we can express and deal with our anger. I identified the different sources of anger: guilt, fear, frustration and hurt.

Once we identify the source of our anger, we need to decide where to go with the feeling. I noted that Eph. 4:26-27 says, in your anger, do not sin.

There are two extremes in expressing anger. At one extreme, we ignore it or live in denial—just “stuff it.” At the other extreme, we express it in a destructive matter by hurling ugly, sharp words or with sarcasm that personally hurts someone.

Anger can be expressed in one of the following dysfunctional ways:

1. Stuff it. Through our childhood conditioning, we learn not to recognize when we feel angry. If we do recognize it, we are afraid of it and need to control it so we deny what we are feeling. We stuff the anger down inside and deny that it exists.

2. Delay it. Since we are afraid of being angry, we put it off, thinking later will be safer.

3. Displace it. It may seem safer to put the anger we feel onto some place, thing, person or event or even onto ourselves.

4. Minimize it. We may rationalize our anger, telling ourselves that it really isn’t that bad. We may try to “understand” the other person or make excuses for them. “He didn’t mean it.” As Christians, we often tell ourselves that it is wrong to feel angry.

5. Numb it. We may try to avoid our anger with a chemical or other substance.

6. Avoid it. We may try to distract ourselves with excessive work, play, hobbies or other activities.

Steps to deal with anger:

1. Admit it. Acknowledge you have a problem with the way you express anger.

2. Talk honestly with God. He won’t hurl back. Give control of the other person or situation to God.

3. Talk through it with a friend.

4. Learn how to express your feelings. You can learn to safely express your anger. “I care about you (or love you) as a person (friend, spouse, etc.). What I have to say is not about judgment or blame, but I need to tell you how angry I am. When you __________, I felt ____________. I wanted you to know so that we can talk about it and continue our relationship.”

5. Say the following affirmation five times: “I can express my anger safely.

6. Pray for those with whom you are angry.

7. If your anger has turned into bitterness and resentment (and may possibly lead to rage), you need to seek Godly counsel. Get help to work through your anger and feelings of rage.

Remember, you can’t change the way you feel, but you can change the way you think about the way you feel. Then your responses will come from new thinking out of a renewed mind (Romans 12:2).

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