You feel jilted, misunderstood, and hurt. Your blood begins to boil and control seems to become elusive. In fact, control over these emotions isn't something you particularly desire anyway. You want to give into the heat. Satisfy this desire to get back at someone or make them feel bad.
This is anger and I know it all too well.
I grew up in a very angry home; tension so thick that at times you could cut it with a knife. It was a default mode and because I was around it so often, I adopted it as my own approach to dealing with situations I didn't like. It was stronghold I crippled under for many years.
No matter how hard I tried to fight the anger growing inside of me, I couldn't defeat it. I felt trapped by the heaviness and lost in its shadow. It caused me to lose control of my emotions in a heated discussion with my parents, harbor negative feelings towards people, and treat my brothers poorly. It was something so overwhelming I thought I would never be free.
But then I found Jesus and my life began to change. In beautiful and tangible ways, such as holding a hope I'd never had before and seeing my thoughts radically change. The anger didn't disappear, however. It still haunted me.
That is, until a youth service when I cried out to God at the altar to deliver me from the anger I held so close. And He did. Miraculously!
Now, I'm not saying I've not felt anger since because I have. But it doesn't lock me into a pattern of thinking I once held. And it doesn't cause me to lose control or be in a perpetual state of "about to blow." I still experience it now and then, which I believe is normal, but I can share with others that anger doesn't have to take the driver's seat in your life.
What do you do when you're angry? You don't let it overcome you. I know that's easier said then done but it's vital to overcoming the emotion.
If you begin to feel your blood boil, take a deep breath and try to gain some perspective. That perspective might mean recalling Scripture you've memorized about anger. (See verses below to help). Or thinking about the consequences of losing your temper. Or perhaps putting yourself in the others shoes for just a moment. I know it's incredibly hard to take a second to collect yourself when you're angry but if you can learn to do this, you can begin to master your anger.
Take a deep breath, get some perspective, and perhaps even walk away if you need to. It's often better to walk away and cool down, then come back to the conversation then it is to lose your anger in the moment. Trust me, it's hard but it's so helpful.
If you are struggling with anger, take these steps to heart.
- PRAY: Ask God DAILY to help you be free from a bondage to anger. And when you feel angry, pray in that moment that God would help you to respond out of kindness instead.
- MEMORIZE: Start memorizing verses below that you can recall when you're angry. According to Ephesians 6, the Word of God is a sword--our defense against the enemy. Take it up and fight your anger with it!
- PAUSE FOR PERSPECTIVE: In your pause, take a deep breath and get that perspective I was talking about above.
- RESPOND IN GENTLENESS AND LOVE: The Bible is very clear that you should respond to others out of gentleness and love. Choose this path instead of anger; the situation will play out much better if you do.
- RECONCILE: Show forgiveness to others and ask for it as well.
Anger isn't pretty but it certainly is a powerful tool for destroying relationships and keeping someone locked inside a lonely prison. But you can overcome it and you can be free!
Bible Verses on Anger
"He who restrains his words has knowledge, And he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding." Proverbs 17:27
"Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you." Ephesians 4:31-32
"He who is slow to anger has great understanding, But he who is quick-tempered exalts folly." Proverbs 14:29
"Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses." Proverbs 10:12
"Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil." Ephesians 4:26-27
"This you know, my beloved brethren But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God." James 1:19-20
"He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, And he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city." Proverbs 16:32