Summary: Learn to resolve the emotion of anger
How many people in this room struggle with anger? Raise your hand. Some of you are thinking, I don’t struggle with anger; I let it out and get it out. Or, I don’t struggle with anger; I just don’t cooperate with the people I’m angry at. Or, I don’t struggle with anger; I never let it show. I keep my anger to myself.
Anger is something common to man and woman. But anger can be harmful to our physical health, to our spiritual life, and to our relationship with others. Anger can lead us to say or do things that we will later regret. Anger can lead to road rage. Anger can lead to child abuse or spouse abuse. Anger can lead to ulcers. Anger can lead to bitterness and depression.
Paul J. Meyer wrote, “As an author of business programs marketed in more than sixty countries, I have encountered numerous people in every culture who have shortened their careers, ambushed their futures, and stifled their personal progress because they could not handle their pent-up anger appropriately.”
Anger is universal, but most people don’t know how to deal with anger. Most teachers and parents do not teach us to handle our anger. They simply teach us not to express our anger. Over time, we habitually respond to anger in one of three ways. Spew out anger. Seep out anger. Or stuff in anger.
Spewing out anger is most commonly done at home. Rather than to blow up at work and lose your job, you blow up at home. Yell at the children. Complain about the cooking or cleaning. Throw, hit or kick furniture. You words and actions hurt others.
Seeping out anger can be done anywhere. Psychologists call this passive-aggressive behavior. You let out your anger in small, almost indiscernible form. You procrastinate, show up late or somehow interfere with the person you are angry at. You use mild sarcasm or uncooperativeness. Anger is seeping out in disguised form.
Stuffing in anger can also be done anywhere. This is a great danger for Christians, who mistakenly believe that anger is wrong and a sin. Anger is not a sin, but it can lead to sin. The Bible tells us, “In your anger do not sin.” The Bible does not say, “Do not be angry.” Stuffing in anger leads to emotional, spiritual and physical health problems.
Prisons are filled with people who did not deal with their anger, but let their anger spew out in violent acts. Schools and homes are filled with young people who do not deal with their anger, but let their anger seep out in uncooperative behaviors. Churches are filled with members who do not deal with their anger, but stuff their anger, until depression or bitterness replaces the anger.
This morning, we will be looking at how we can answer anger in a healthy and biblical way. We will not be addressing the causes of anger. There are many causes, fear, hurt, impatience, self-righteousness, jealousy, injustice, and much more. What we will address is how to work through the emotion of anger, so that you can discern the underlying cause of anger and have a clear head to deal with the causes. Because there are so many different causes of anger, we cannot address how to remove each cause in this short time.