Saturday, May 29, 2010

Dealing With Anger

In our family, we have some anger problems.  It's not so much that we get angry more than most people.  I believe that everyone gets angry at times.    I do think that we need better ways to deal with the anger when it comes.  The Apostle Paul said "Be ye angry, and sin not:  let not the sun go down upon your wrath (Ephesians 4:26)."  This tells me that it is not a sin to be angry.  It is a sin, however, to let your anger influence your behavior in a bad way.  Any behavior that hurts someone (physically or emotionally) or damages something  (yours or someone else's) is sinful.

Popular psychology says that holding in your anger is harmful to your body.  I believe this is true.  Holding on to anything bad is going to cause something bad to happen.  It's kind of like holding a burning match.  If you don't let go, you will get burned.  This same psychology suggests that you should find a non-harmful way to release the anger.  Children are told to go to their room and punch their pillow.  Of course, it is really hard to damage a pillow by punching it, so on the surface, this would seem like a good idea.  However, is transferring the anger to something else really helpful?  Does it actually release the anger?  In my experience, the answer is NO.  It's just exchanging your match for a different one.  As a young adult, I took several years of Tae Kwon Do classes.  I enjoyed the challenge of using my body in new ways, and the mental aspects of having to concentrate so that my brain got a rest from my day-to-day problems.  There were times that I was frustrated with people or situations at work.  I tried to release my anger by taking it out on the punching bags at the dojang.  I got a good workout, and did well with my punching and kicking at those times, but I did NOT get rid of the anger.  It was still there the next time I went to work and had to deal with the same person or situation.

So, if we can't take our anger out on the person or thing we are angry at, and we can't take our anger out on something else in their place, what is left for us to do?  We could complain to someone, a psychologist or friend who would listen and feel bad for us.  But, does this really help?  Maybe, but many times it just gets another person angry in addition to ourselves.  Or, it makes us look bad to the person we are talking to.  (Let's face it, sometimes our anger is just a tad bit irrational or misplaced).  So, while this may help us to "get it off our chest," it's not always the wisest path.

I believe the best thing to do when you're angry is actually a really radical idea.  On the surface, it makes no sense at all.  To most of the world, it seems totally stupid.  I believe that the best thing you can do, is to do something nice for the person or pray for them (not that they'll do what's right, but that they will be blessed!)   WHAT?!!! you may be asking.  Why would I want to do something NICE for someone who just made me ANGRY?  Hear me out, here.  First of all, I believe that our words are important.  (Don't worry, I'm preaching to myself, here!)  Jesus said "But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgement.  For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned. (Matthew 12: 36&37)."  What can be more "idle" than "blowing off steam?"  We many times say things in anger that we don't really mean, and wouldn't generally say to or about the person we are angry with.  So, we should watch our tongues and "Be angry, and sin not."  Okay, so we aren't supposed to do something BAD with our anger.  How does this mean that we should do something utterly GOOD?  We're going to listen to Jesus again.  In Matthew 5: 39, He said: "But  I say unto you, That ye resist not evil:  but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also."  See what I mean by radical?  This is NOT what I learned in Tae Kwon Do class!  I think if someone hit me in the face, I would be pretty angry, wouldn't you?  But instead of hitting him back, or going home and hitting my pillow, Jesus says, just let him do it again.  Bear with me, here. It gets worse.  In verses 43 - 45, He says:  "Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thy shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.  But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven:  for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust."  In other words, don't take it personally!  It is not about you.  However, as a follower of Christ, you have a responsibility to do the right thing.  You have the power to show the world the love of God.  When Jesus came, he came to show us the Father in a tangible way.  When he ascended to Heaven, he left that responsibility to us, his followers.  In Matthew 5:16, He says:  "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in Heaven."  Someone once said that we are the only Bible some people will ever read.  This is our chance to shine!

1 comment:

  1. I know I have OCD and the dogs has kind of curbed that a bit because its impossible to keep up. im learning to live with it. Hope all is well thanks again for the clothes there were a lot of great dresses!


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