Salt & Light by Ms. Joyce R. Aryee
'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.' - Ephesians: 26 - 27 (NIV)
Everyone has to deal with anger. The challenge is to deal with anger in the right way. Anger is powerful - an emotional warning that something is wrong, either we have been hurt or rejected. That something has changed and we don't like it! Anger is a difficult issue to address without sounding accusatory. For many, anger can create emotions that overwhelm our souls and cause many negative changes to our lives.
Usually, the first reaction that we might have if we are told to control our angeris more anger. Most people try to reason things after getting angry but the conclusion we seek is justification rather than truth. We manipulate our own souls and believe that there is to be some reason or some person other than ourselves who is the cause for our anger. The simple reason we get angry is that we feel someone or something has wronged us, therefore it is a selfish reaction. Our anger can be traced to our selfish pride.
In dealing with anger, we should avoid the blame game - neither we nor others should be blamed. It is not our fault that prideexists but it is who we choose to get angry. We do so when we choose to continue to entertain the pride, and we must take the responsibility for it. Now let me ask you - when you are angry, don't you feel like something does not feel right? Almost as if you are inside of a plastic bag? Anger is a tough thing to conquer if you don't understand it.
Anger is a temptation of the devil. These are some of the reactions that are related to anger, some weeds in the pride family: jealousy, greed, revenge, scorn, wrath, rage, hatred, etc. Aren't they ugly! Anger is not the kind of addiction that requires withdrawal. It is a habit however, and all we need to do is to replace it with a different reaction whenever it rears its ugly head.
Areaction that we may want to practice in the place of anger is controlling our thoughts as is commanded in the Bible 'Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - His good, pleasing and perfect will' - Romans 12:2.'
The Lord's Anger
Now let's think about something - is the Lord's anger too slow for you? You may grow impatient waiting for the Lord to recompense your offenders but there are also other things to consider. Have you ever been an offender? Has anyone ever grown angry with you? As Christians, aren't we supposed to hope for every soul to turn to the Lord and be saved, not punished? Don't we want God's anger to be slow when we are the ones who may be the recipient? If we are made in God's image, shouldn't we strive to be like Him? 'The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.'
Anger itself is not a sin. We just have to learn to express anger in the right way. Mishandled anger is destructive but anger that is handled correctly can become a tool for good. God's Word is filled with tips for learning to handle anger in a healthy and godly way. Here are a few of them:
* Be Still
'Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth' - Psalm 46:10. If we are busy, it is much easier to ignore or refuse to face and deal with the real source of anger. Anger that is not dealt within the right way accumulates over time, allowing bitterness to take root and rage to simmer just below the surface of everything we do, say, think or feel. In order to manage anger, we need to incorporate frequent and regular 'stops' into our schedules; time set aside to simply be still and hear the voice of God.
· Be Quiet
'Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for he man's anger does not bring not bring about the righteous life that God desires' - James 1: 19 - 20. Our first response to conflict is often not a response at all but a reaction. We jump in with a brutal rebuttal or a thoughtless correction which is like pouring gasoline on a fire. An explosion is bound to happen. Our first action should be to stop and think instead of rushing to respond in a way that could escalate tensions or provoke an offensive response from others. Listen to the other person before responding. Try counting to ten before saying anything. This may not address the anger directly, but it can minimize the damage you will do while angry.
* Be Wise
'Like a city whose walls are broken down, is a man who lacks self-control'- Prov. 25:28. Wisdom is doing the right thing at the right time for the right reason. Anger management comes from wisdom rooted in self-control. Let us consider the story of Jesus driving the money-changers out of His Father's temple. In John 2:15 Scripture says Jesus 'made a whip out of cords.' At the height of His anger, Jesus gathered several cords and braided a whip. Imagine it took several minutes at least to form a whip substantial enough to drive grown men anywhere in the temple. I think Jesus was so angry that He knew He needed to cool off, so He deliberately chose to be still, quiet and wise. When we are close to losing control of anger, we need to be wise.
* Be Discerning
'In your anger do not sin………search your hearts and be silent' - Psalm 4:4. The longer you work or interact with people, the more you realize that there is always a reason for their behaviour. When you are angry at someone, ask yourself why: Think back to what led up to the conflict. Was it something someone said to you? Has a past problem triggeredyour present anger? Give yourself time to consider why you are upset and what you should do to handle it in a way that pleases God.
God created us with the capacity for emotions. That means He has a right plan and a right place for emotions in our lives.
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