How to Handle Anger
As Proverbs 19:11 reminds us, “…it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.” Much easier said than done! Braxton tells us how and why we should aim to manage our anger well.
“I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Ephesians 4:1-3
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:43-45
Extending grace, especially in the midst of anger, can be one of the most difficult tasks to accomplish. Our knee-jerk reactions are powerful…thankfully, Jesus is stronger.
I can reflect on a wealth of times where I became angry in sports, school, and friendships. The actions of others and the natural progression of events in life sometimes sparking our anger are out of our control. But our response is what we do control!
Our calling is to love God and love others, but how do we extend grace and control our response when angry? Let’s focus on a few things:
- Take ownership. Our anger can make us oblivious to our own part. How different would any given situation in dealing with anger turn out if we approached the situation from a place of gentleness, humility, and patience? Imagine if we all approached anger and conflict in this way. When we exhibit humility, gentleness, and patience with one another, anger is dealt with in a God honoring way.
- Don’t make a small deal a big deal. Many things can be overlooked. Rather than escalating any ordeal, practice the act of forgiveness. People will wrong us in life, it will happen. That is out of our control, but again what remains in our control is our ability to respond and to respond in a Christ-like manner. This doesn’t mean to ignore what insights anger, but it does mean not letting this wrong be a barrier to our relationships. Jesus shows us forgiveness and grace daily. Give forgiveness and show grace to others. Proverbs 12:16 & 19:11
- Use your anger to show Whose you truly are. When we are given the short end of the stick showing love to those who wrong us can be a sure way to let Christ shine in our lives. This outpouring of love while angry will make people wonder what fuels this feat. Responding to conflict with kindness shows our heart belongs to Jesus.
Next time you find yourself angry take a few seconds to gain perspective. It’s to our benefit when we overlook an offense. Christ’s forgiveness of us is more than we will ever be asked to forgive! Let’s use our response to the things in life that cause anger to point people to Jesus.
Read the verses at the top of this devo. Often anger can get in the way of how we honorably respond to situations. Think of the last time you were angry. How could you have been more gentle, humble, and patient?