Friday, 14 October 2011

Behind Anger

Dr. Dana Fillmore says, “Anger is always the result of fear or pain.” She goes on to say, “If you’re trying to have a conversation and one of you blows up, understanding this truth can reveal what’s really going on. It is very important to keep in mind when you are attempting to communicate with your spouse that anger is a secondary emotion of fear or pain or both. This is an essential point. Anger is always the result of fear or pain. If you’re angry, you’re actually hurt or scared or both, every time.”
In some ways this understanding the root cause of your anger or that of your spouse can be helpful however knowing the root cause and dealing with it are two different things. In reality the root cause is always going to be sin, regardless of whether it is fear or pain. Perhaps a real life experience shared by Barbara Rainey will give us some insight.

I had been a mom for about six years when I first began to experience significant anger. And as the pressures of parenthood increased and our older children moved into adolescence, I started getting angry more severely and more often. It was inappropriate, and it was really becoming a problem.

One Thanksgiving weekend, my 13-year-old son and I got into a raging argument about . . . something. I don’t even remember what. I just remember I couldn’t control him, and I couldn’t control me. For years, I had justified my anger by saying I was so tired and worn out every day. Now, for the first time, I realized it had gotten bigger than I was. I could justify my behavior no longer.

Dennis was a part of the solution. As we talked it over, we agreed that it would be healthy for me to go through a period of counseling. As I sought help, the Lord sensitized my heart one summer day to the words of Psalm 52. As I was reading the fourth verse my eyes filled with tears.
You love every harmful word, O you deceitful tongue.Psalm 52:4

Suddenly I knew that in all my years of struggling, the only thing I really hated about my anger was that I couldn’t control it. Yet in those few moments of holy conviction, I realized I needed to hate my anger simply because it was sin. Before, I had only hated what I did with it. Now, I hated it for what it was.

Healing will only come about as you give your fear or pain over to God, trusting in His sovereignty and goodness.

1 comment:

  1. You're right. So often anger is a mask for other feelings that are too painful to acknowledge directly. If we truly love the other person, then we owe it to both of us and the relationship to explore that truth.


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