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Girlfriends in God - Mar. 20, 2012

March 20, 2012
The Beatitudes of Anger Management Part 2
Mary Southerland

Today’s Truth
In your anger, do not sin” (Ephesians 4:26).

Friend to Friend
A minister was making a wooden trellis to support a climbing vine. As he was pounding away, he noticed a little boy watching him. The youngster didn't say a word so the preacher kept on working, thinking the boy would leave – but he didn’t. Pleased at the thought that his work was being admire, the pastor finally asked, “Trying to pick up some pointers on gardening?” The little boy said, “Nope. I’m just waiting to hear what a preacher says when he hits his thumb with a hammer.”

The people around us want to see what happens when life pushes our buttons and anger puts the squeeze on our emotions. While God created us with the capacity for strong emotions, it is our responsibility to control them instead of allowing them to control us. Yesterday, we looked at four ways to manage anger. Here are four more:

Be focused.   
Psalm 37:8 “Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil.”

I witnessed the utter strength and beauty of our daughter-in-law as she went through hours of labor during the birth of our twin grandchildren. The pain was excruciating, but Jodi worked through each contraction by doing two things: controlling her breathing and choosing a focus point. We need to do the same when we are angry. Take a deep breath and focus on the peace of God.

Be understanding.  
James 1:19 “Everyone should be quick to listen.”

We have two ears and one mouth for a reason—to listen twice as much as we speak. When you find yourself getting angry with someone, take time to listen to what the other person has to say. Make sure you understand their viewpoint. In fact, it might be a good idea for you to repeat it back to make sure you do get the real point. Only then, when you have processed that information and reigned in your emotions, should you offer a reply. Listening for the purpose of understanding plays a significant role in anger management. 

Be kind. 
Proverbs 15:1 “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”       

It had been one of “those” mornings and I was behind schedule in preparing to teach the women’s Tuesday morning Bible study at our church. I am fairly certain I did not exude peace and joy as I rushed around. Finally, it looked like everything was ready – everything except my heart. I knew I needed to spend some time alone with God before standing to teach His Word, so I found a quiet room where I could escape for a few minutes of solitude. As I began to pray, the door flew open and crashed against the wall behind it as the husband of one of our group leaders burst into the room. I could tell by the look on his face that he was not happy and that whatever was wrong was definitely my fault. In a very loud and very angry voice, the man began to explain the problem, ending his tirade with the question, "And just what are you going to do about it?" I knew what I wanted to say to the man. I also knew God didn't want me to say it. In a rare moment of wisdom, I faced my accuser with a smile and whispered, "I'll tell you exactly what I am going to do. I am going to do whatever it takes to make you happy." 

I was completely unprepared for the man's reaction. His mouth fell open, his eyes widened in surprise - no, make that shock - and he stumbled backwards as if I had hit him. We stared at each other for what seemed like an hour before he finally whispered back, "Thank you." Without another word, the man turned and literally ran out of the room. The most amazing part of this story is that from that day on, he has been one of my strongest encouragers. 

The next time someone makes you angry, put a smile on your face. It is hard to stay upset when you are smiling. Smiling is one of the best anger management tips because you can do it anytime, almost anywhere, and to pretty much anyone. The next time you are angry, choose to give a friendly smile of understanding, appreciation, or patience as you listen to the other side of the story.   

Be ready.
1 Peter 5:8 “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.”

The best way to manage anger is to prevent it in the first place. How? Balance your schedule and priorities so that you will not live in a constant state of frustration and exhaustion. Avoid spending time with angry people. Proverbs 22:24 says, “Do not make friends with a hot-tempered man; do not associate with one easily angered.” We really do become like the people with whom we spend the most time. Pray constantly, asking the Holy Spirit to help you cultivate the habits that encourage peace – not anger. Memorize Scripture. The Word of God is a powerful weapon in dealing with and managing our emotions.

Anger is today’s emotional epidemic. What does it take to make you angry? Do you have a short fuse or a long one? How many relationships in your life have been damaged by your anger? Remember … more important than the way you were and more important than the way you are … is the way you can be. Right now, surrender your anger to God and thank Him for a new beginning.

Let’s Pray
Father, I need Your power and strength to help me control my anger. Forgive me for the damage and pain my anger has caused the people in my life. I want my emotional health to honor and please You.
In Jesus’ name,

Now It’s Your Turn
Review all of the anger management tips we have explored. How can you plug these tips into your daily life? I encourage you to recruit a girlfriend who will hold you accountable for the way you handle anger. Check in with her once a week. Be honest and open about your anger level.  Journal your thoughts … the truths God gives you … the progress you make.

More from the Girlfriends

Need help?  Check out Mary’s MP3, Getting Good at Being You and learn how to manage emotions, instead of allowing them to manage you. 

Join other women across the world in Mary’s Online Bible Study, Light for the Journey. When I Am Afraid is the current series and will help you learn how to face and deal with your fears. 

Need a friend?  Connect with Mary on Facebookor through email.  She loves hearing what God is doing in your life!

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