by | Feb 16, 2023 | Anger, Leadership, Ministry Leader, Pastor

As we continue our series on Unshakable You: 5 Choices of Emotionally Healthy People, be sure you’ve taken a moment to catch up on the previous installations here and here.

The foundational step mentioned in the previous posts: Become your own best friend. Once we have made the choice and taken the steps to begin genuinely loving ourselves, a building block we lay on top of that foundation is learning how to manage our anger. Telling our anger where to go.

This is a big one. I don’t have to tell you that we live in an increasingly angry society. It is everywhere. We see anger on the news, fury in social media arguments, wrath in the check-out line at the grocery store, and rage on the roads we drive. Anger seems pervasive.

Anger in and of itself isn’t the problem—It’s a natural human emotion. Even Jesus felt anger. The problem is what we do with that anger. In Ephesians 4:26, Christians are instructed to not sin while experiencing this extraordinarily strong emotion. The Apostle Paul doesn’t say “don’t be angry.” He simply says don’t let your anger cause you to sin.

This portion of our journey evaluates three ways we can manage anger in our lives. We’ll spend this week and next week investigating where to tell our anger to go.

Conduct an honest appraisal

We really need to understand some things about the anger we feel:

  • Anger is part of the human experience. As I mentioned earlier, anger is simply part of being human. If someone crosses a healthy boundary or violates you, it’s natural to experience anger.
  • Anger often involves emotional residue. Often our angry responses are a result of something brewing below that surface that happened well before the specific occasion of anger. This can include leftover feelings from a negative, unresolved event in our past. In many ways, anger is a secondary emotion.
  • Anger—at times—can be the right response. There are very appropriate occasions for anger. These include but are not limited to betrayal, abuse, and injustice.
  • Anger can be holy. Every incident of Jesus’ anger ultimately had to do with the wellbeing of others. If our anger resembles that of the Jesus variety, it can be regarded as holy.
  • Anger brings attention to the root issues we need to address. Sometimes we deny our irritable feelings instead of acknowledging they require our attention. In his book, John says, “Anger often exposes areas of our heart needing development.”
  • Anger can alert us to our limitations. At times our feelings of frustration and irritation are a result of overscheduling, or back-to-back emotionally draining events. Our anger is often an indicator of overcommitment of time and resources.

After conducting an honest appraisal, it’s important to move to the next step.

Identify and reject unhealthy expressions of anger

Here are a few examples of the wrong places to tell our anger to go:

  • Caving in. It can be tempting to succumb to the feelings of rage and just let them overtake us. This is unhealthy and can be damaging to us and to those around us.
  • It is very easy to blame our unhealthy expressions of anger on other people. “I wouldn’t act this way if you would just behave better!” Blaming is the wrong place to send our anger.
  • This expression of anger involves telling your angry feelings to go underground, and often results in bitterness, grudges, unforgiveness, and depression. It’s important to resist the tendency to do submerge.

Now that we know how to honestly appraise anger, to identify and reject unhealthy expressions of it, we can learn how to communicate and exhibit healthy expressions. To tell our anger the right places to go. Next week we will cover the final implementation step in managing our anger.

We are praying and rooting for you!

John & Jaime