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Control Your Anger So It Won't Control You

  • Whitney Hopler Live It Editor
  • 2002 26 Mar
Control Your Anger So It Won't Control You
Anger is spewing out all over - road rage in traffic, domestic violence, workplace hostilities, and more. Nearly everywhere you turn, someone is mad about something. But not much of that anger is directed in healthy ways that can actually help solve problems. Unfortunately, much of it is destructive.

If you're angry for the wrong reasons or express your anger in the wrong ways, that anger will poison you mentally, spiritually, and physically. Only Christ can give you the power you need to break free of destructive anger.

Here's how you can control anger so it doesn't control you:

  • Think and pray about why you're angry. Notice what issues trigger your anger in various situations or conversations. Ask God to help you sort out exactly what is causing you to burn with anger. Also consider how you feel when you're angry - do you experience other emotions at the same time, such as anxiety?

  • Determine whether or not your anger is righteous. If it is, it will motivate you toward constructive action, such as working for justice, praying for someone in need, or alleviating suffering. If it's not, it will hurt you and those around you.

  • Ask the Holy Spirit to give you God's perspective on your circumstances, so that you can see them clearly and accurately, without unnecessary anger due to a distorted perception of realities around you.

  • Remember who you are in Christ - a valuable child of God. Nothing will ever change your identity when it's rooted in Him. Embrace your intrinsic worth as God's child and derive your dignity, confidence, and sense of significance from that. Accept that life won't always go your way, and people won't always respond to you as you think they should. Realize that undesirable circumstances don't determine who you are as a person.

  • Turn to Christ alone for your security. He is the only reliable source of it. Trust the One who made you to provide everything you need and guide you well through life.

  • Accept the unconditional love and powerful grace that God offers you. Strive just to do your best rather than trying to be perfect.

  • Humble yourself. Confess to God that you have a problem with anger, let Him know that you're sorry and want to change, then rely on His power to help free you.

  • Ask the Holy Spirit to fill you and take control over your anger, using it in productive ways to transform you more into the person God wants you to be. Pray for the fruit of the Spirit in your life: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

  • Forgive! Forgive people who have hurt you, forgive yourself, and forgive God for any wrong ways you've blamed Him for something. God will help you do it. Remember that God has forgiven you by dying on the cross for your sins, and He expects you to be willing to go through the process of forgiving others so you can enjoy intimacy with Him. Invite God to heal your damaged emotions as you forgive.

  • Cultivate a peaceful life. Spend regular times in prayer and meditation. Shut out unnecessary noise and designate some time for silence and solitude.

  • Fill your mind with thoughts that align with the truths found in Scripture. When negative thoughts bombard you, take them captive by refusing to dwell on them and replacing them with purer thoughts that you choose to think about instead. As you discipline your thought life, the Holy Spirit will renew your mind.

  • Recognize your "hot button" issues - those that cause you to become angry. When confronted by them in any situation or conversation, try to put some space between yourself and the anger stimulant. For example, leave a room until you've calmed down.

  • When you're thinking about something that's causing your anger to spew out of control, try to divert yourself through exercise to redirect your energy. Choose an activity you enjoy, such as going out for a walk or to a gym to lift weights.

  • Make a habit of asking yourself several questions when you're angry. Consider whether the matter is truly worth your attention, whether you actually have the ability to do anything about it, whether your anger is justified, and whether the issue represents a goal or a desire.

  • Fight evil spiritual attacks by praying for spiritual protection and keeping yourself in close communion with God.

  • Build and maintain relationships with godly friends who will encourage you, pray for you, and hold you accountable as you strive to manage your anger in healthy ways.

Adapted from Getting Anger Under Control, copyright 2002 by Neil T. Anderson & Rich Miller. Published by Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, Or. To buy this book online, click on the link below.

Neil T. Anderson is the founder of Freedom in Christ Ministries and a speaker on Christ-centered living. He is the author or coauthor of many books, including The Bondage Breaker. Rich Miller is an author and speaker for Freedom in Christ Ministries who has coauthored several books. He lives with his wife and four children in the western mountains of North Carolina.

What makes you angry, and why? What challenges do you face when trying to control your anger? How has God helped you manage your anger in healthy ways? Visit Crosswalk's forums to discuss this topic by clicking on the link below.