When I was in junior high, seventh grade, one day I decided I was going to be an angry, mean person. What possessed me to do this still eludes me today.
I think back about that morning when I stood in front of my bedroom mirror, my hands on my hips and I said to myself, “I’m not going to talk to anyone and if they do I will just give them my mean looking face.”
After arriving to school, I went to my first class and sat down in my assigned seat. One of my classmates sat down next to me and greeted me with a smile and a hello. With my new trial of being a mean tough girl, I turned towards him and displayed a scrunched-up nose with a glare that could burn him to a crisp. I think I might have bared some teeth and growled. His eyes popped wide open and he raised his hands up. “Wow, what’s wrong with you?” He said.
Throughout the day various friends tried to console me thinking something bad had happened. I was not a very pleasant person to be around with.
I made It through the day with my mean girl trial. Thankfully, I tossed what I thought was a grand idea to the wayside. Oh my goodness, what an idiot I was. You’re probably thinking the same thing.
Being angry is exhausting.
So, is there ever a good reason to be angry? Yes. It’s called righteous anger. Here is a definition that I like. – Righteous indignation is typically a reactive emotion of anger over mistreatment, insult, or malice of another. It is akin to what is called the sense of injustice.
Ephesians 4:26-27 – Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity.
I think we all have experienced righteous anger at one point in our lives but what happens if we allow our anger to go beyond being righteous?
I did a little research on anger and found a lot of information about it.
Anger triggers your fight or flight response which causes the adrenal glands to flood the body with stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. The brain shunts blood away from the gut and towards the muscles in preparation for physical exertion. Your endurance level increases, and your senses sharpen.
But if anger is left unchecked, it can turn into a monster ravishing our inner being if we allow it to take residence in us.
I knew a man who harbored a lot of anger and resentment towards family, friends, and basically anyone who had wronged him. I always envisioned him walking around with all these lead balls attached to chains that wrapped around his neck. It wasn’t just a couple but more like fifty. I felt bad for him because life was so miserable for him.
Maybe that’s why there are so many verses in the bible about anger.
1 Corinthians 13: 4-5 – Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
God knew that we would encounter anger many times in our life and He didn’t want us to be slaves to this powerful emotion.
If anger is allowed to take harbor in us it can physically destroy our bodies. It put’s the heart at risk for heart diseases such as strokes and high blood pressure. It weakens the immune system allowing us to be sick more often. Anxiety increases making it hard to handle the stresses in life. Depression is linked to anger, which then effects your mood, sleep, and how you eat. The hostility from anger can hurt the lungs, damage the liver and kidneys. In a nutshell, anger shortens your life span and damages your relationship with others.
James 1:19-20 – Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.
Is there a safe way to release your anger? Yes! At times it can be hard to stop yourself from ‘flying of the handle’ but as you practice restraint it will become easier.
Think – Don’t speak before you think. I’ve always wished I could think quickly on my toes. Always having a good phrase ready to whip out to make a stunning response to what ever talking war I may have encountered. But I have friends who say, “Don’t wish this.” I guess you get yourself into trouble with words you can’t take back.
- Stay calm, deep breaths help.
- Take a time out, step away so you can get control before you do or say something that you can’t snatch back.
- Take responsibility for your actions and admit your wrong when your wrong.
- Exercise, work it out of your body.
- Be creative with positive solutions on how to manage your anger.
- Humor is always good. I usually will watch the Wild Hogs movie. How can I be angry when I’m laughing so hard.
- This is a hard one but honestly, it’s the only thing that will probably solve the root of your anger.
Maybe that’s why there are so many verses in the bible about forgiveness. God knew we would need to be reminded.
Matthew 6:14-15 – For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
Forgiveness, your health depends on it.
- It will lower the risk of heart attacks
- Improve sleep
- Reduce pain
- Decrease blood pressure
- Decrease levels of anxiety
- Decrease depression
- Decrease stress
Forgiveness is not just about saying the words. It is an active process in which you make a conscious decision to let go of the negative feelings whether the person deserves it or not.
Daniel 9:9 – The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against Him
If God can forgive then I most certainly can do it to. Some people are just naturally more forgiving than others. But if you tend to hang onto grudges it doesn’t mean that you can’t train yourself to act in healthier ways.
Remember, forgiveness is a choice. You are choosing to offer compassion and empathy to the person who wronged you. Let go of expectations, no one is perfect. We all make mistakes. Try and step into the other persons shoes. Empathizing helps me to temper my anger.
I think forgiveness is one of the hardest things to do because it removes my defenses and takes me out of the fight or flight mode. This makes me feel vulnerable.
What if the other person doesn’t deserve it? That’s not our place. God will handle it. What matters is that we take care of our actions so that we don’t sin.
Romans 12:19 – Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”
Honestly, I don’t think my wrath can match Gods. So why bother doing God’s job when he can do it so much better.
Psalm 37:8 – Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.
When you decide to forgive, maybe seal it with an action such as talk or write to the person about your forgiveness. Journal about it or talk with someone you trust.
Anger and forgiveness. One is easy to do and the other is hard to accomplish. But if you make an effort to resolve the anger in you and seek forgiveness when needed, you will find wisdom blossoming within you. No one can take that away from you.
Proverbs 14:29 – Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly.
Here’s something to ponder. Will anger rule you or will you rule anger.
Here’s something to ponder. Will anger rule you or will you rule anger.