February 9, 2010
Harnessing our Anger
Proverbs 19:11 "People with good sense restrain their anger."
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I once heard it said that small pots boil over quickly and so do small people. Ouch! I don't want to be a small person known for her quick temper but I need help with harnessing my anger. The life of Nehemiah gives us a wonderful example of how to control and deal with anger. Nehemiah had come back to Jerusalem from a high position in the court. He had come to supervise the rebuilding of the Jerusalem walls. A delegation of Hebrews had come with him, hoping to make a profit and proceeded to take advantage of the poor by enslaving widows and children and by taking the property of people who were sick and unable to defend themselves. Nehemiah was furious but still models for us the right way to deal with anger.
Nehemiah 5:6-7 "When I heard their outcry and these charges, I was very angry. I pondered them in my mind and then accused the nobles and officials. So I called together a large meeting to deal with them."
In this passage, we find four ways to deal with anger.
We must be honest about our anger, which can be a problem if we don't like to admit we are angry. We have convinced ourselves that if we deny our anger, we don't have to deal with it. Consequently, we disguise anger by wrapping it in sarcasm, gossip, criticism, complaining, silence or aggression. It simmers on a back burner until one day, it explodes all over our life and we wonder where in the world that came from. To deal with our anger, we must be willing to say the words, "I am very angry!" That's emotional integrity and pleases God. 1 Chronicles 29:17 applauds transparency when it says, "I know, my God, that you examine our hearts and rejoice when you find integrity there". We must be real in order to be right. When you are angry, be honest enough to admit it.
Proverbs 29:11 "A stupid man gives free rein to his anger; a wise man waits and lets it grow cool."
To "cool it" is a spiritual exercise. When our daughter was about six-years-old, she and I were engaged in a battle of wills. I wanted her to go to sleep but she had other plans for the evening, none of which included sleep. When she figured out that I was not going to give in, Danna stomped to her room in a fit of fury. In a few minutes, I went in to make peace. I opened the door to see her sitting on the bed, arms crossed, teeth clinched and eyes flashing! "Danna, let's talk about this", I said. To which she responded, "Mama, I can't talk right now. My mad is too big!"
When Jesus saw the money changers in His Father's temple, He was angry but He stopped - stepped over to the side and began braiding a whip. Now, it was not because He had taken "Whip Braiding 101." Jesus was "cooling it" because His mad was too big. Then with harnessed anger, Jesus drove the money changes out. In other words, the longer you hold your temper, the more it improves. As Paul Harvey would say, "Join me tomorrow for the rest of the story" as we explore two more ways to harness anger.
Father, I confess to You that I have failed in the ways I have been dealing with my anger. But I want to do it Your way from now on. Fill my life with Your peace. And when I am angry, Lord, please guide me and empower me to walk in obedience.
In Jesus' name,
Now It's Your Turn
Memorize and meditate on the following verses. Make them a part of your arsenal in the battle to deal with anger:
- Proverbs 25:28 "Like a city that is broken into and without walls is a man who has no control over his spirit."
- Proverbs 14:16b "A fool is hotheaded and reckless."
- Proverbs 15:1 "A gentle answer quiets anger, but a harsh one stirs it up."
- Ephesians 4:31 "Do not be bitter or angry or mad. Never shout angrily or say things to hurt others."
More From The Girlfriends
Every one of us deals with anger on a daily basis. The problem is that we deal with it in the wrong way. I want to be like Nehemiah and please God by dealing with anger His way. I know you want the same thing.
One of the most powerful tools in dealing with emotions - especially anger - is the Word of God. Reading and studying the Bible will equip you to harness anger and use its power for good in your life. Need help? Enroll in my online Bible study, Light for the Journey, and join hundreds of women from across the world as we study the Bible.
Struggling with depression? I have been there, friend, and if God can deliver me, He can and will deliver you. Read how God brought me out of the pit in my book, Hope in the Midst of Depression, and be encouraged.
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