Monday, April 11, 2011

Anger 101

Another of the most popular topics for the Women of Peace Workshop/Retreat is anger. Women want to know how they can overcome patterns of anger in their life.

Eleanor Roosevelt was quoted as saying, "Anger is only one letter short of danger."

Scripture says, "Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun set on your anger, and do not leave room for the devil." Eph 4:26-27

It's helpful to remember that this emotion of anger is neither good nor bad. It's a powerful emotion though that can quickly get out of control if we don't manage it well. When managed well it can be a motivating force for good, but if not it can become a destructive force.

The Word is advising us to seek reconciliation quickly because feelings of anger can lead us into dangerous territory--meaning sin. We can lash out at people, be rude, speak unkind words and hurt relationships quickly. Seeking reconciliation sounds good, right, but when we are really mad about something how do we reverse the situation?

First of all, give yourself some space. Just like we instruct children. If possible, break and breathe. Take a break by simply getting a glass of water or stretching. Breathe deeply inhaling to the count of two and exhaling to the count of four.

It's important to be aware of what triggered this emotion. Take time to stop and reflect on what is causing it. What happened or who did what that made you mad? Oftentimes there can be very legitimate reasons for feeling angry. So it's okay. What's necessary is learning to consciously express the anger in a healthy constructive way once we grasp why we're upset.

We've got to resist with all our strength allowing the anger to turn in on ourselves by choosing unhealthy ways to express the emotion or not expressing it at all. This can lead to depression. And it only creates misery and robs us of our interior peace and peace in our relationships.

So, just to clarify, the problem is not in feeling angry but in the way we choose to handle it.

We are called to be hospitable people given to generous and cordial reception of others, welcoming and present to others. Unresolved anger can make us feel hostile toward others, cause us to withdraw, create walls of distance and isolation, and make us unfriendly and downright hateful.

Let us resolve to take these healthy action steps:
  • Break and breathe
  • Be aware of thoughts, self-talk, feelings and affect
  • Recognize and admit it--that's half the battle
  • Surrender to God
  • Pray through it
  • Make positive choice
  • Keep mind on these things Phil 4:8
  • Force the will to do what is right
  • Communicate effectively
  • Reconcile
The devil will try to tempt us in our areas of vulnerability so know what yours are. He'll try to get us stirred up and think that things are worse or can get worse than they are.
"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." Eph 6:12

Don't let the devil steal your peace!


  1. Thank you, Sheila! This is great advice on how to deal with anger and I like the healthy action steps you have listed here! Sometimes I just don't know exactly WHAT to do when I get angry and this post is very helpful.

  2. Ah, Mary, that's wonderful news. Glad it's helpful to you! You amaze me.