How does unhealthy or sinful anger look?
One of the first things we should try to do when we are angry is to calm down, but it is hard to calm down when you are near the situation that caused your anger in the first place. That is why taking a “Time Out” could help. This is not a punishment, it is just a tool to keep you from getting into trouble.
A “Time Out” allows you to see the situation more clearly, and gives you the chance to plan what to do, and what to say.
What a time out is NOT for, is to get attention, to pout, to plan ways to get revenge, or to avoid facing the issue.
Sometimes it is helpful to write down your thoughts. You may want to think of who made you angry and what happened that angered you. What feelings are you experiencing besides anger? Are you feeling sad, lonely, worried, or maybe even guilty?
Try to think of things that contributed to the situation. What are you responsible for? You also may want to write down what you could have said or done differently.
It is often helpful to think of ways you can correct the situation. You can’t change what others do but you can always do the God-honoring thing.
Some questions to ask yourself are:
· Should I apologize? OR Do I need to forgive someone?
· Would it help to wait for the situation to change or cool off before moving forward?
· Do I need to ask for another person to get involved or mediate?
· Do I need to clarify my feelings or get more information?
It is also important to consider the viewpoint of others. This is a good time to plan ways to avoid similar situations in the future.
Most importantly, this “Time Out” should be used to pray. Pray for understanding. Pray for guidance. Pray for the ability to make wrongs right. Ask God for wisdom. Share how you feel. God is a good listener and He cares!
Causes and Signs of Anger
Despite how it may look, there is a cause for anger:
· Fear—facing danger or difficulty
· Pain—harmed emotionally, physically, mentally
· Injustice—loss of control, rights or ownership.
· Frustration—feeling helpless or weak.
Anyone who plays sports understands that there is a need to take “Time Outs” for your team. “Time Outs” are for rest, to plan what to do next, to see what the coach wants you to do, or to make changes in the way you are playing.
“Time outs” can also be helpful to us in dealing with anger by giving us time to think of the best way to respond in the situation.
When is my anger a problem?
1. When it is too frequent.
2. When it is too intense.
3. When it lasts too long.
4. When it leads to aggression.
5. When it disrupts work or relationships.
6. When it affects health.
7. When it is ignored.
We experience emotions daily.
Some emotions cause us pleasure, some cause us pain.
Emotions are normal:
· Emotions are a natural, God-given response to the world around us.
· Emotions are a response to events and outside influences.
· Emotions are also a response to our own thoughts and beliefs.
When we react to our emotions before we process them it can create chaos and cause harm.
God desires for you to have victory, even in the midst of emotional turmoil.
We all have a tendency to let our emotions dictate what we are going to say or do. We say things like, “I know I should exercise today but I just don’t feel like it.”
Letting our emotions guide us will only lead to disaster.
The way to successful living:
· Allow FACTS (or truth) to guide your thoughts.
· ACT in FAITH based on that truth.
· EMOTIONS (feelings) will become more manageable and may even begin to transform.
· Result: Fewer uncontrollable or spontaneous outbursts or responses, less regret, healthier relationships.
God has created us as emotional beings. God shows emotion as well; however, God’s emotions are always appropriate and controlled.
Here is what the Word says about our thoughts, actions, and emotions:
Isaiah 26:3 “The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, because he trusts in You.”
Jeremiah 17:10 “I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give to each man according to his ways, according to the results of his deeds.”
Psalm 26:2 “Examine me, O Lord, and try me; Test my mind and my heart. “
Psalm 27:13, 14 “I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord.”
Romans 12:2 “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”
Colossians 3:2, 12, 13 “Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth... So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.’
The way to overcome our potential negative responses is to use truth as the guide, and by replacing the negative thoughts with positive. Here are some helpful activities:
· Keep a list handy of scriptures and positive truths that speak to you.
· Make a conscious effort to replace doubts and negative thoughts with “But God…” thoughts:
Instead of just saying, “That event wore me out.” Include, “But God I trust you to use it to make me grow.” Instead of just saying, “I am weak” Add, “But God is strong and it is through Him that it will be accomplished!”
· Taking the focus off of “Poor me” and placing it on the One who deserves the focus is the best way to live positively and with purpose.
· List 5 things you are thankful for: when discouraged, when you begin your day or at night . Don’t just list the same things—keep adding new things.
· Worship music is a good way to combat negative thinking.