We all know what its like to experience some kind of anger at different times of our lives. Anger is a response to ‘emotional excitement induced by intense displeasure’. We see the results of people’s angry responses throughout our society and world through their words, attitudes and sadly at times violent outbursts. Will Rogers once commented, "People who fly into a rage seldom make a good landing." We can all identify different situations that have caused us to become angry, some are small and pass quickly, other situations seem to continually trigger us to remain angry for a period of time.
What can we learn about the effect of anger in Proverbs – take a few minutes to reflect and seek comment from the group on the following scriptures.
- Prov.14:17. He who is quick-tempered acts foolishly.
- Prov.14:29. He who is slow to anger is of great wisdom.
- Prov.15:1. A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
- Prov.16:32. He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.
- Prov.29:22. An angry man stirs up strife and a furious man abounds in wrongdoing.
Some wrong reactions to anger manifesting itself within our lives are (1) defending ourselves or justifying our actions, (2) blaming others for our anger and (3) holding onto our anger. Rather we need to
- Thank God for all circumstances (1 Thes 5v18, Eph 5v20) and believe that God is always working for us.
- Identify possible causes and consider how to change these triggers.
- Ask God to develop character (maturity) in you. (Matthew 5, Galatians 15, James 1:2-4, 1 Peter 1:6-7).
Along with these things, God gives us clear instruction in how we should respond when we begin to feel angry.‘In your anger do not sin’. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold’ - Eph 4v26-27
Discuss some practical examples of how you can outwork this scripture whenever situations arise that cause you to become angry.
Ask the group to consider the following three questions,
Some Practical Tips to Controlling Anger in ours Lives
- How would I feel if I no longer felt angry (or bitter, guilty, resentful etc)?
- How would I act and behave differently if I no longer felt angry (or how would my world change)?
- How would I feel if I acted and behaved as I just described in the last question?
- We need to realise what are some of the triggers of anger you experience in your life? Take a moment and consider if you have allowed the enemy to use these to gain a stronghold in your life. We will all experience some situations that cause us to become angry, how will we respond to these? In all of these situations we can actually be proactive. Remember that anger is generally a secondary emotion and its helpful to work out the primary cause – is it triggered by hurt, frustration, jealousy or insecurity? As we identify triggers we can be aware of the challenges these may present.
- We also need to embrace realistic expectations about people and life . The reality of life is that there will be some reasons to become irritated, frustrated, agitated and we will probably experience some hurt in life – sorry!
Col 3v13 ‘Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against each other. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.’ A great question to ask when you feel like your anger is getting the better of you is to ask – is this worth loosing my joy over?
Happiness is based on what ‘happens’ to you – Joy comes from outworking a growing relationship with God where you can trust Him with your future. We need to choose to be a forgiving person.‘Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else’ - 1 Thes 5v15 Reasons why it’s important to forgive others
Forgiveness needs to become a habit, not a battle.
- Restores relationships
- Brings personal freedom: unlocks the prison door
- Brings God’s forgiveness in your own life
This can sound simplistic – generally it’s actually not – we need God’s help to forgive others. Read Matthew 5v9 and Romans 12v9 what do we learn from these scriptures?
Talking openly and honestly with people you trust is a great way to help identify anger triggers and work through them. It’s always good to try to learn from different experiences so there can be room for change and growth
If there are people we are in conflict with
- Speak in love trying to reconcile and build a relationship
- Don’t allow emotional distance to remain
Ventilation often relieves the anger surge but it does not deal with the anger causeQuestions to ask
- Are there situations that seem to cause angry emotions to rise within you?
- What are some healthy responses we can choose when we become angry?
Finish by praying for freedom for anyone who has struggled with anger in the past and for other areas mentioned throughout the Prison Break series.