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Healing Damaged Emotions (Part 5)

anger management


Victory Over Anger

Ephesians 4:31-32

I. Introduction: Anger is the most dangerous of all our emotions. It hurts those it’s directed toward and also acts like a boomerang that comes back at us. We may feel our outrage is justified and that letting go somehow lessens the wrongs done to us. However, hanging onto hostility is what is truly destructive both to our loved ones and ourselves.

II. What is anger?

A. It’s a strong feeling of displeasure, hostility, or indignation as a result of real or imagined threat, insult, frustration, or injustice toward ourselves or others who are important to us.

B. Ephesians 4:31-32 advises us to let go of feelings like bitterness, wrath, and malice and instead be kind, tenderhearted, and forgiving.

C. Proverbs 22:24-25 says anger is contagious and warns us not to associate with an angry person. That’s how it is passed from one generation to the next.

D. Ephesians 4:26 says, “Be angry, and yet do not sin.” This means that not all anger is sin. In fact, Scripture often speaks about God’s wrath. Anger is good and legitimate when it’s controlled, justifiable, and unselfish.

III. To determine if your anger is sinful, ask yourself:

A. Is it directed toward a person?

B. Is it without a justifiable cause?

C. Does my anger seek to harm another person?

D. Am I holding tightly to it?

E. Have I developed an unforgiving spirit?

IV. Typical Ways of Handling Anger. Whenever we don’t deal with our hostility, we’re likely to express it in harmful ways. For example, we might:

A. Repress it. Some people have buried their anger so deeply they deny its existence.

B. Suppress it. Others internalize their resentment without realizing it’s poisoning their lives.

C. Explode. Rage in an outburst that provides emotional relief but harms others.

D. Simmer. Some people put their anger in an emotional “pressure cooker,” letting it continually build.

E. Excuse it. Those who refuse to take responsibility for their anger will blame others or claim it’s the way God made them.

F. All our responses to anger can be summed up in seven words. We can blame others, blow up, bury it, bear it, belittle it, grow bitter, or benefit from it.

V. Consequences of Anger. This negative emotion:

A. Hinders our relationships with God. We can’t harbor anger in our hearts and be right with the Lord.

B. Breaks our connections with others. Since anger is usually self-centered, it hurts our relationships.

C. Creates a critical spirit. Negativity becomes a part of our lives and robs us of peace.

D. Makes us feel isolated. Because we are difficult to be around, we push people away with our negativity.

E. Leaves us feeling empty. Instead of love, joy, peace, and goodness, we find loneliness, fear, frustration, and discontent.

F. Blocks our focus. Anger distracts our minds and often leads to procrastination.

G. Creates physical problems. Our bodies were not designed to function with continual hostility and bitterness.

VI. Dealing with Anger. Since an angry attitude is costly and makes us ungodly, foolish, unproductive, and unhealthy, we must deal with it by:

A. Identifying the source. It’s important to examine our lives to determine the cause of our feelings.

B. Confessing it. We must acknowledge our anger rather than denying the problem.

C. Clarifying feelings. It’s important to determine what’s behind our anger. Perhaps it is due to hurt, rejection, or unwanted circumstances.

D. Dealing with it quickly. The longer we hold onto hostility, the more we justify its presence and defend our right to be offended.

E. Taking an emotional timeout. We should stop and ask the Lord how He wants us to respond. He tells us “Be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger” (James 1:19).

F. Putting it away. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, we can rid ourselves of the anger and begin each day by putting on the spiritual armor of God (Eph. 6:11).

G.  Replacing it. Instead of letting anger harm us, we can use that energy to do something productive such to work out negative emotions.

H. Determining to benefit from it. Anger is a signal from the Lord that something’s wrong in our lives. We should heed His warning, and let Him teach us how to handle it.

I. Purposing in our hearts to prevent it from reoccurring. Once we’ve overcome an angry spirit, we can’t become entangled again.

VII. Conclusion. Life is too precious to continue in self-destructive patterns of resentment and bitterness because friends and family suffer, and your quality of life is lessened. If you’re struggling with hostility, ask the Lord to enable you to put all these principles into practice. Once you do, you’ll be a strong, life-changing witness able to help others who are struggling with the same damaging emotion.

(Dr. Charles F. Stanley. Copyright 2012 In Touch Ministries, Inc. All rights reserved. www.intouch.org.