Dr. Kevin Boll
Anger is an emotion that can cause a lot of harm and get people into a lot of trouble, but anger in and of itself isn’t bad. In fact, experiencing righteous anger towards injustice can be a positive catalyst for change. We should get angry about injustice, especially towards the weak or poor. God experiences anger and his wrath and anger are talked about in the Bible.We may be very familiar with Numbers 14:18 which says: “The Lord is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion.” But, we may not be as familiar with scriptures such as Psalm 7:11 which says: “God is a righteous judge who displays his wrath every day.”
Just like any emotion, anger is a feeling that can be used for good or evil. In the same way an individual can experience happiness or sadness and make a bad decision, a person can experience anger and sin.
The problem with anger comes when it’s not dealt with in a healthy way or results in sinful actions and behavior. When the severity of anger begins to interfere with your relationships or work performance, it’s time to seek out healthy strategies for how to handle the way you react to anger. It’s your reactions that need to be kept in check.
Myths About Anger Issues
Often times when we picture a person with an anger issue, we imagine someone screaming and yelling, arms flailing in the air as they explode. When envisioning a chair hurled across a room or punches thrown.
We don’t always think of the more subtle forms of anger issues, but the truth is that a person can be perpetually angry and have issues without being prone to outbursts. These individuals don’t always know how to acknowledge or identify what they’re feeling or how to express it. So, it can remain bottled up inside and manifest in different, more subtle ways that are equally as harmful.
People who need anger management can be internally suffering from persistent angry thoughts and emotions or angry outbursts of rage.
Anger and Physical Health
When anger is frequent and prolonged, it’s a problem. Numerous studies show that it causes stress hormones to release in the body, which weakens the immune system and destroys neurons in the brain. Because anger also fires up the body’s “fight or flight” response, which studies show causes a burst of energy that tightens blood vessels and causes blood pressure to soar, it’s also tied to increased risk of heart disease and heart attack.
Signs of Anger Issues
If you’ve been told that you have anger issues or you feel guilty because you’re allowing anger to impact how you respond to people or treat them, you may be wondering if you really do have anger issues.
Here are some signs of anger issues:
- You get aggressive – If you get physically or emotionally aggressive when you’re upset, you may have anger issues. This may involve punching walls, placing your hands on someone who angered you, verbally abusing or screaming at an individual, or taking physical measures to “get even.”
- You become passive-aggressive – You might not show your anger in the form of a blow-up or shouting, but you may become sarcastic, mean, or bitter towards the other person. You might resist requests by the other person and shut him or her out.
- You harm others – You may physically harm a person that you’re angry with.
- You can stay angry for days – You might not be able to let go of your anger and dwell on it for days or weeks, refusing to forgive the person who “wronged” you.
- You get angry quickly and often – You might get angry at the drop of a hat and find that you spend more time feeling anger than you do any other emotion.
- You blame others – You may blame others for your anger and repeatedly tell them if they’d just stop a certain behavior, you wouldn’t be the way you are.
How to Deal with Anger God’s Way
So, if you’ve identified that you have anger issues, how do you deal with it God’s way?
1. Restrain It
Proverbs 29:11 tells us that “Fools vent their anger, but the wise quietly hold it back.” This scripture does not mean that the wise bury their anger or do not deal with it, but it means that they control their anger and how they express it. When you restrain your anger, you keep it within limits.
2. Re-evaluate It
James 1:19-20 says, “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.”
God’s way of dealing with anger is to be slow to anger. There are some things that you need to let roll off of your shoulders and not internalize or act on. When you re-evaluate a person’s words or action, you often find that there’s no need to get angry as that person really did not intend to hurt you or was merely acting out of their own biases, which is not a reflection of you.
3. Release It
Colossians 3:8 says “But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.” When you deal with anger God’s way, you feel it, vent it in a safe way (possibly complaining to an innocent third party) where no one is harmed, and then release it. You get rid of it from your body, heart, and mind.
How Do Emotionally Intelligent People Deal with their Anger?
Those who are considered emotionally intelligent and deal with anger well often display these biblical traits. They are self-aware and first try to understand the true source of their anger.
Are they angry that someone cut them off in traffic or are they really angry that it made them feel disrespected, further perpetuating a belief they have that no one respects them or takes them seriously? Are they angry that their spouse was late for dinner or are they really angry because it made them feel unimportant and people have made them feel unimportant all their life?
Emotionally intelligent individuals are also curious and explore their feelings. They question whether they’re misplacing blame, are harboring an untrue belief about themselves or others, and are quick to show compassion and grace. They’re practicing a process of restraining, re-evaluating, and releasing.
When You Feel Angry, it Means Something Else is Going On
When you find yourself in a constant state of rage or always blowing up and losing your cool, it means that something else is going on. Finding the true source of your anger is just an opportunity to learn how to manage your anger. Often times, there are a number of past experiences and beliefs that need to be addressed so that you can release your anger.
Forgiveness may be something you need to work through. You may be able to identify the true source of your anger on your own and implement strategies to manage your anger and you may need to take time to explore your emotions, experiences, and work through your anger with the help of a Christian Counselor.
What Does Christian Anger Therapy Involve?
When you work with a Christian Counselor for anger management, therapy often involves a number of modalities along with a biblical perspective. A counselor will help you unpack your anger and get to the source of it along with helping you identify the right strategies to cope with anger that will work for you.
It involves understanding your anger and where it comes from, which can often be quite difficult for individuals, especially if they’re not used to looking inwardly and assessing themselves. It also involves helping individuals find healthy ways to express anger and release it.
If you’re looking for anger management counseling, we’d love to help you get to the root of your anger and experience true and lasting freedom. Give us a call or visit our counselor directory learn more about our Christian counseling services and schedule an appointment.
“Irate”, Courtesy of Icons8 Team, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Migraine”, Courtesy of Siavash Ghanbari, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Not. Happy.”, Courtesy of Ryan Franco, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Sulky”, Courtesy of Priscilla Du Preez, Unsplash.com, CC0 License