Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Quick to Give Our Anger to God {Anger Series}


Last week, on the day I started this series on anger, I opened an email with this Verse of the Day from BibleGateway.com 
Know this, my dear brothers and sisters: everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to grow angry. James 1:19 CEB
Appropriate, don’t you think? God’s perfect timing.

I’ve been thinking about each part of this verse and what it means in my life.

Quick to listen – not just hearing someone speak, but actually listening to what she’s saying.

Slow to speak – thinking before jumping to conclusions and stating my opinions.

Slow to grow angry – controlling my feelings so that anger isn’t my first reaction. Anger lashes out and shuts down communication. {<==Tweet this}

For many, anger has been an initial reaction for so long, it takes over without even thinking about it. To change this first response takes intentionally recognizing how I feel and why.

On my own, this can be difficult, which leads me to a fourth point to apply:

Be quick to give it to God.

I don’t mean what might be a common prayer…God, change her! She’s making me mad.

No, I mean tell God how I’m feeling and ask Him to help me figure out why. Am I short-tempered and low on patience today? Is my anger stemming from old unhealed wounds? Is there a legitimate reason I’m growing angry?

And then…pay attention to what He shows me, and seek His guidance in my reaction.

God diffuses my anger better than I can, no matter how hard I try. When I rely on Him, I am able to act less out of the emotion of anger, and more out of conscious control of what I might say or do.

By taking it to God, I make the intentional decision to address it with Him, instead of letting it boil inside.

Talking to friends and family may help, but it’s important to realize that it often just gives momentum to the anger. Talking to others helps us feel justified—we want reassurance that we have every right to feel the way that we do. However, if you feel more irritated after sharing, it probably didn’t help the situation at all.

But, talking to God is different. He never adds fuel to the fire of anger. He doesn’t encourage negativity, and He doesn’t condemn me for my anger. Just as much as He loves me in that moment, He loves the one I’m unhappy with. That’s not always easy to remember, I know.

It’s a humbling reminder that He loves each of us, no matter what we’ve done. We like to rank sin from the worst, to the not-as-bad, but to God, sin is sin. Which means…if I let anger control my actions, it’s just as bad as whatever was done to me. (Ouch.)

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this anger issue. What do you struggle with most?


In Christ,
Laura

[Photo credit: FreeImages.com]

6 comments:

  1. I love the honesty and reality found in your words. I think it's so important to pay attention to what God says and seeking His guidance in our reactions. I tend to do a lot of talking and not much listening when I pray, so thank you for this reminder. Also, it is so important to remember that God loves the person that we are angry with and how often I rank sin... thank you for your words. They bring much needed humility!

    Blessings,

    Ruth :-)

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  2. Hi Laura, I find lately I have been giving into anger first, then coming before the Lord to sort it out, double whammy! Great encouragement to go to God first!
    God bless
    Tracy

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  3. I struggle most with littles who don't obey. It's so easy to get angry with them! But then I have to stop and consider: do I get as angry over my own sin as I do my children's? Often, I don't. I find excuses for my sin instead of hating it as God hates it. If I would stop and consider this, I think I would be quicker to give my anger over to the Lord. I love what you wrote: "God never adds fuel to the fire of anger." I want to remember that!

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  4. Just as much as He loves me in that moment, He loves the one I’m unhappy with...something so easy to forget in the midst of our anger, yet I believe it has the capacity to give us a compassionate perspective, with spouse, children, etc. It seems like our world is so full of anger, and your message is much needed. Thanks for the challenge and the wisdom in this Laura!

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  5. I'm the type to vent my frustration with another person. And you're right - it's for validation! I need to change this. Next time I'm going to walk away, quiet myself if possible and hand it to Him. Thank you for sharing, Laura!

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  6. Very wise advice. So much wiser to talk to God about what's made me angry before talking to anyone else!

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Thank you for sharing your thoughts!