Anger is an emotion that usually rears its ugly head when an injustice is felt. Sometimes that injustice is real — like the sudden death of a loved one. Other times it is personal — like when life doesn’t go your way. Sometimes anger is the response to feeling attacked or treated unfairly. No matter what the source of the anger, it wells up inside and often seems uncontrollable.
The most important thing to remember is that anger, in and of itself is not wrong. But what you do with that anger can be very wrong. God says in Ephesians 4:26-28, “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.” For example, when you are angry do not break one of God’s commands (lie, steal, murder, adultery, covet, etc.).
We can apply a few basic principles when we are angry:
- Admit Your Anger
Tell God. He is never surprised by our anger and is the best one to handle it. Also, confess your anger to a trusted to friend or family member. This helps to put words, not actions, to the emotions.
- Take Time to Cool Down
Give your emotions a chance to settle down so that you can think clearly. If need be, go for a walk, work on a project, do something athletic to get the adrenalin (a normal, chemical response) channeled into something productive.
- Seek and Pursue Forgiveness
God tells us clearly that we are to forgive others, as we have been forgiven — that being forgiving by God is contingent on forgiving others (Luke 6:37, Matthew 6:15). We are also not to let the sun go down on our anger, meaning we are to resolve our conflicts sooner rather than later. Literally, before sundown if possible. Take time to think about the many ways God has forgiven you. Now imagine Him taking that forgiveness away. Yuck! Just as God has forgiven you, you are called to forgive the person that has hurt you. Trust God to “handle them” instead of feeling compelled to seek justice. Have mercy on them instead of seeking punishment. If a person is not involved and it is a circumstance or even something God has permitted, talk to God about it. Ask Him for an understanding of His plans and for the ability to trust His ways. This is hard, but God will give you understanding as you ask Him for it.
- Commit to Change
Give yourself time for the anger to simmer down. If you are always angry, consider what is fueling your anger. Do you think about offenses all the time? Is the music you listen to angry? What about the TV shows or books you read? How about your friends? Do they fuel your attitude and anger? If you answer “yes” to any of these things, then there is a simple answer. CHANGE. Stop doing what fuels the anger.
Maybe it has to do more with your personality. Do you get angry when things don’t go your way? Are you frustrated with imperfection in yourself or others? You need to change from the inside out. Ask questions of yourself to find out why you get so frustrated. Try to let go and let God. Force yourself to let the unexpected becoming a blessing, the imperfection to become a beautiful new creation.
Anger is tough stuff. It destroys our souls and others. It limits the potential of what God wants to do with our lives. Seek the Lord to show you the root of your anger and how to let it go. Find a trusted adult to speak with, who might have wisdom from her own experience to help give you an idea to find a solution to your anger problem.