Monday, Jul 04, 2016

How to Handle Anger

by Dr. MaryAnn Diorio

“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines
the course of your life.” ~ Proverbs 4:23

Amy threw the dish across the kitchen, barely missing her husband’s head. Shaking all over, she hated herself for what she’d just done. She’d turned into a monster. What was happening to her? Why couldn’t she control the rage that increasingly tormented her?

angryPerhaps you identify with Amy. Or perhaps you know someone like her. What is going on here? And what can people like Amy, who are controlled by anger, do to get rid of it?

To get rid of anger, we must first understand what it really is. Anger is basically a hostile expression of one’s dissatisfaction with life. Things are not the way we want them, so we respond in anger. Webster defines anger as “a strong feeling of displeasure and usually of antagonism.” 

Anger is aroused by a real or a perceived injury, a feeling that life has treated us unfairly. Often, but not always, a desire for vengeance accompanies anger. The angry person wants to punish the one who hurt him. If that someone is “life in general,” then the angry person will have a consistently negative attitude. Interestingly, anger is sometimes associated with grief, which is the emotion experienced at the loss of someone or something important to us. For example, one may feel anger at the loved one for having died. 

Chronic anger usually has its roots in childhood. Anger can stem from any kind of abuse, injustice, or unmet needs. If one grew up in an angry family, one will often carry those angry response patterns into adulthood.

Scripture has a lot to say about anger. First of all, Scripture tells us that anger is not necessarily a sin (Ephesians 4: 26). Initially, it is only a temptation. It becomes a sin, however, when we give in to it and respond in a negative way. Scripture also commands us never to go to sleep angry because doing so gives Satan a toehold in our lives (Ephesians 4: 26). 

True to its function as our Manual for Life, Scripture gives us ways to handle anger. Here are some of them:

1-Be alert to Satan’s ways of tempting you to be angry. He knows your triggers, so pay attention to those triggers and resist them with the strength of Christ in you. The Bible says this: Be careful—watch out for attacks from Satan, your great enemy. He prowls around like a hungry, roaring lion, looking for some victim to tear apart. Stand firm when he attacks. Trust the Lord; and remember that other Christians all around the world are going through these sufferings too (1 Peter 5: 8-9).

2-Pray for the person who has done you wrong. In my own life, this has been one of the greatest antidotes to anger. As I pray for the person who has wronged me, I begin to feel great compassion for that person and a desire for God to grant him mercy.  The Bible says this: Don’t let evil get the upper hand, but conquer evil by doing good (Romans 12: 21).

3-Leave all vengeance to God. Anger makes us want to punish the one who hurt us. But this is a very dangerous attitude. Scripture commands us to leave all punishment to God. Instead of revenge, ask God to have mercy on the one who hurt you. “Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, ‘I will take revenge; I will pay them back,’ says the LORD” (Romans 12: 19).

Angry young Businessman sitting in the office and screaming on the phone.

If you are struggling with anger, don’t be discouraged. Countless others are struggling, too. But if you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord, you have all the power and strength you need to overcome anger.  If you have not accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord, you will not be able to overcome anger in your own strength. So, accept Jesus Christ now by clicking here

NOW IT’S YOUR TURN:  What do you do when you are angry? Do you handle it God’s way? Please leave a comment in the box below. Thanks!

 “How to Handle Anger” by Dr. MaryAnn Diorio (CLICK TO TWEET)


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2 thoughts on “How to Handle Anger

  1. This is a wonderful post, dear MaryAnn~
    Romans 12 is one of my favorite Epistles, and I have devoured it throughout the years gaining strength and comfort.
    I could write forever about this topic. One of my parents was docile and the other was volatile. I am slow to anger, but at one time, I was very reactive when I believed someone had intentionally hurt me. I would immediately retaliate in temper using angry words. However, I spent more time apologizing and trying to correct the damage I had rendered with my hasty words. I have never been spiteful or vengeful, but I knew my temper needed to be controlled.
    The sad part is that quite a few years ago, I gave up reacting and speaking up for myself and turned the anger inward. This is equally destructive. As a result, I began to experience depression and anxiety and some resentment.
    I know there is a healthy medium whereby I can be calmly assertive and not a doormat or an angry person. I have prayed over this, and I am, through the word of God made some progress.

    • Dear Skye, thank you for your transparency in sharing your struggles. Many of us have experienced the same struggles. Anger arises out of a sense of justice that has been violated. As you have noted, we can deal with anger by giving it to Jesus and allowing Him to be our Defender. We can establish healthful boundaries while still walking in the love of Christ. It is He Who accomplished in us and through us. You are on the right track! 🙂