So last night I slapped the living daylights out of an old college friend who had the nerve to say that I was fat. (I mean I know I’m no Twiggy, but who says that?)
Being completely honest, it felt so good…..
Thankfully, it all happened in a dream (Come on, who really thought this happened in real life?)
Seriously, godly women can’t just go around brawling and beating people up as a release to our anger. That would be wrong. (James 1:20 says “Human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires”)
Instead, we find other ways to deal with it…although I’m not always sure our alternative methods are that much better. For instance, sometimes we deal with anger by gossiping and hurting the other person’s reputation. Other times our words can be as cutting as any punch we could throw. Then there are the innocent victims, the people who receive the fallout after we’ve repressed our anger until a small trigger causes it to explode. Thinking about it, perhaps these aren’t the best routes for godly women to take either.
So what should we do when someone or something makes us angry? How can we truly respond as Christian women when everything inside of us wants to retaliate?
Here are some healthy ways to overcome anger:
1. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you the root cause of your anger.
Now obviously if someone tells you that you’re fat; it’s not hard to figure out the root cause---their words caused you pain.
Unfortunately, it isn’t always that easy. Many times the origin of our anger is years in the past or a trauma that we don’t want to face. When this is true, we need to allow the Holy Spirit to mentally take us there and remember the event and the pain so that we can overcome it once and for all.
2. Choose to Forgive the Person Who Hurt You.
I understand---forgiveness isn’t easy. However, it is the only thing that is going to set you free.
Remember---forgiving doesn’t mean that you are saying what the other person did was right---instead, it says that what they did was completely and totally wrong, BUT (and this is a big but) just because they were wrong doesn’t mean you’re going to let hatred, anger, and bitterness control you.You’re literally cutting the hold they have on you every time you choose to say, “It hurts, but I forgive you.”
That’s how the actual healing begins.
3. Kick Anger Out of Your Life.
Forgiveness has some key components that seem crazy but do a crazy good job of helping you heal. They include:
-Refraining from Revenge (that means no slapping physically or verbally)
-Praying for the person who hurt you (Asking God to bless them and change them)
-Doing something nice for the person who hurt you (Seriously, I know it sounds insane, but it really does help.)
As you choose to put these actions into practice, the Holy Spirit will use your sacrifice to heal your heart.
4. Find Other Outlets for Your Anger
I’m not going to sugar coat the issue of anger and say that a few quick prayers will tame your inner hulk. Reality is that this process may take time as you look at more than one area causing your anger or continue the process of forgiving.
As you continue this process, you may need to find a healthy outlet that allows you to deal with your anger. One that works well for me is journalling and pouring all of my feelings out of paper.
Other people find exercise to be a positive release of endorphins.
Talking to someone you can trust (like a pastor, counselor, or a mature godly friend) will provide release for unhealthy emotions.
Some people paint or play music to get their feelings out.
Another thing that works for me is cleaning (I know it sounds nutty but I’ve often said, “You can fume or you can vacuum”, and vacuuming is much healthier)
Whatever you choose the point is that you need to find a healthy (godly) way to let off some steam.
5. Learn New Behavioral Patterns.
It seems unhealthy ways of dealing with anger come quite naturally. Watch a toddler---they get angry and start crying, throwing a tantrum, hitting others, and throwing things---they follow their instincts.
However, as adults, we need to put away childish things and learn godly behavioral patterns for how to respond to hurt and pain. News flash: this won’t come naturally.
We have to choose learn how to live differently by reading the Bible, sitting under godly Biblical teaching, reading books by godly people, and listening and obeying the voice of the Holy Spirit. This is how we learn to live supernatural, Spirit-led lives.
As we learn what God expects, then we need to begin putting these things into practice, day by day, moment by moment. Remember: practice makes perfect. So if you lose your temper one day, ask forgiveness, and then get back up and begin living by new behavioral patterns again the next day. Like anything else, the more you practice the more natural the behavior will become.
So that’s how you deal with anger when slapping someone silly isn’t an option (and IT NEVER SHOULD BE!!!)
They are the beginning steps to how we can obey Ephesians 4:31-32 which says:
“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
If you’d like to learn more about overcoming anger, or the issues of your past that are causing your anger, check out Finding Healing.