Monday, 25 April 2011

What to Do About Your Anger

This is a follow up to “What You Need to Know About Anger”, a previous post, in which David Powlison of the Christian Counseling and Education Foundation began a conversation about the root of anger.
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. Ephesians 4:29-5:2
David Powlison
The Apostle Paul tells us that we shouldn’t stuff our anger, or blow up, or gossip. He tells us to go to God for help. As you go to Him, you will learn how to think through your angry reactions, how to go to other people in such a way that you’re actually asking for help, and how to go to the other person in a way that’s constructive. Here are five questions to ask yourself, and then one thing you need to do that will direct your honest meeting with God.

1. What is happening around me when I get angry? What pushes your buttons? Think of specific times when you become angry. Make a list of the last five times you got angry, or keep track of the next five times. When did you get angry at something that doesn’t really matter in God’s world? When did you get angry because you had made a good thing more important than God? And, when did you get angry because you were truly wronged?

2. How do I act when I get angry? Look at your list and write down what you do when your anger goes wrong. Do you express your anger in bitterness (stuffing your anger)? In arguing (in expressing your anger freely to those around you)? In slander (gossiping and talking about those who have wronged you)? Or in some combination of all three?

3. What were my expectations (what did I want, need, demand) when I became angry? Examining your motives brings God into the discussion, because it reveals what hijacked God’s place in your heart. Your answer will show you where you need God’s help the most.

4. What message does God have for me, in His word, that will speak to my anger? Think back to what James says about the cause of anger. We get sinfully angry when we forget that God, not us, is in charge of the world.

5. What am I called to do? Your relationship with God will always lead you to your relationship with people.

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