Don't Make Me Mad
“Don’t make me mad!”
How many times have I caught myself saying something along those lines? Usually to my kids, but I also communicate something similar to my wife, coworkers, and friends. If you do something I don't like, I'm going to get angry and that's going to be a BIG problem for you.
Anger is a difficult emotion and can easily cause us to do a lot of harm to the people around us and ourselves. Paul tells us to rid ourselves of anger in Colossians and Ecclesiastes says that only fools let anger lodge in their hearts. If it is so destructive, why did God create anger?
More importantly, what am I supposed to do with anger as someone who follows Jesus?
For starters, anger is an emotion that would be unnecessary if it wasn't for humans' fall into sin. In a perfect world, there would be no need for anger. However, we live in a dangerous world.
Things are broken within us. People around us are broken. The world itself is broken.
Think of ANGER as a CHECK ENGINE WARNING LIGHT for your heart and mind. Anger lets you know that there is a problem that needs to be addressed. The problem may be that someone is trying to do wrong to you (take advantage of you, hurt you, etc). It may be that there is wrong being done to someone else. Or possibly, your anger is coming from something wrong in your own heart – perhaps an insecurity, a loss that needs to be grieved, pride, jealousy, or even biological factors. Maybe you forgot to eat and you just need a Snickers.
SO, WHAT DO I DO?
Well, Ephesians tells us that we are supposed to be angry and not sin. Which means there HAS to be a way for us to navigate this.
DON'T GIVE UP! Jesus can help even the biggest rage monsters.
SLOW DOWN. Recognize when you are starting to feel angry. Before saying or doing anything, breathe. Take 4-5 slow, deep breaths. It may feel like you need to react right away, but give yourself a moment.
TAKE A TIMEOUT. You're body is being pumped up with all kinds of chemicals to help you fight or run away. Take a walk, move around, clench and release your muscles to bleed off some of the extra energy. (If you're in the middle of a "discussion" with someone, let them know that you need a few minutes to calm down.)
PRAY. Ask God to help you calm down and for direction in how you should respond to the situation.
ASK FOR FORGIVENESS. If you have hurt the other person with your anger, own it and make amends.
LEAN INTO IT. The check engine light went off for a reason. With a calm mind and grace, spend time figuring out what the root of the problem is. Ask someone that you trust to help you figure it out and if the problem involves someone else, go seek a resolution.
DON”T BE AFRAID TO GET SOME HELP. If anger is a struggle for you, a Christian counselor can be of tremendous help! If you would like some help getting connected to a counselor in our area, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written by Jason Maroney
CrossPoint Director of Care Ministry