Sunday, July 31, 2016

When Anger is Easier {Anger Series}


I recently remembered a conversation I had with a friend years ago. I don’t remember what situation I was telling her about, but I know I was angry. After listening for a while, she said, “You’re hurt.” I agreed. I was hurt by what had happened, but what I said was, “Yes, but anger is easier.”

I’ve been thinking about it lately as I watch the news and hear about things going on around me. Even as I look at my own life.

Sometimes it’s easier to be angry than to admit the emotional pain.

Anger feels offensive. Hurt feels defensive.

Anger allows me to put up a wall, with the assumption that it will keep pain out. In reality, that wall locks the pain inside. {Tweet this}

Admitting emotional pain makes me vulnerable. It means I have to address what has happened, and it might involve forgiving someone who isn’t sorry…or someone who doesn’t even acknowledge they hurt my feelings.

Vulnerability takes us to a risky place. To admit we’ve been hurt means we have to take the “I’m fine” mask off, and risk being hurt further. But keeping the mask on brings just as much risk.

Behind the mask, we take the chance of losing ourselves to a life lived in anger.

Emotional pain and vulnerability are frightening places to be—except when we take them to the foot of the cross. There we don’t have to rely on our own strength to forgive because Jesus will help us.

We are only able to forgive others because God first forgave us.

Anger is a normal human emotion, but how we handle it and how we act while angry is in our control.
Understand this, my beloved brothers and sisters. Let everyone be quick to hear [be a careful, thoughtful listener], slow to speak [a speaker of carefully chosen words and], slow to anger [patient, reflective, forgiving]; for the [resentful, deep-seated] anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God [that standard of behavior which He requires from us]. James 1:19-20 (Amplified Bible)
I’ve been thinking about this as I watch the news. We have a lot of anger, and so much hurt, in our world. Maybe we see more of the anger because anger demands attention…while emotional pain often suffers alone. {Tweet this}

For myself, I’m trying to identify anger before it takes root. Here are a few questions I’ve been asking myself. Maybe they will help you too.

Why am I feeling angry?

Is it something legitimate? Or perhaps I’m overtired, stressed out, or not feeling well, and things are just getting to me. Little things have a way of building over the course of the day. Changing my perspective and taking control of my thoughts go a long way.

Is there something I can do about the situation, or is it out of my control?

Identify what I can and cannot control. If there’s something I can do to change my situation, then planning a course of action helps. No matter if it’s short-term or long-term goals, it still feels like I’m doing something to make a change.

If the situation is truly out of my control, then I need to make sure I’m spending time with God to get past my anger. Stewing about whatever it is will only make everything worse. Negative feelings and a bad attitude grow quickly and are highly contagious to everyone around me. Negativity needs to be diffused before it grows like wildfire.

Is my behavior pleasing to God?

Whether it’s deep-seated anger I’m dealing with, or a really bad day, I can work to control my behavior. Walking closely with God and considering what He thinks of my words and actions really helps. And it goes a long way in keeping myself out of trouble.

Anger is the easier route if that’s what you’re used to. It takes a conscious effort to make a course correction and then to keep walking on that new, unfamiliar path, but it can be done. 

In time, we become accustomed to a different way of doing things, and even when it’s still difficult, it is more familiar, and slightly more comfortable.

In Christ,
Laura 

[Photo credit: FreeImages.com]

5 comments:

  1. This is so good. And yes, being angry is so much easier than dealing with our emotional pain. I still have some locked up pain. I'm asking God to help remove the walls so I can look at it and allow healing to come.

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  2. Sometimes it’s easier to be angry than to admit the emotional pain [ what an ah-ha moment. I had one of those a few years back when I realized how much FEAR drove my decisions. I denied fear for quite a few years but it was there all the time. Now I know fear ( and anger) comes along with being human but I don't allow them to drive the car. LOL

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  3. I've seen it in myself and in my kids - we use anger to mask more tender emotions. But then, anger can be a great motivator to righteousness if it is Spirit-directed. Thanks for all your helpful thoughts today!

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  4. Beautifully written Laura! I like what you said about feeling vulnerable. It is scary place to be at times but when we go there with God and trust Him, we a growing in Him. So many great points you ask us to consider. Anger may be easy but when we show love like Jesus shows in His strength, we can be a light in this world.. Thank you for sharing this thought provoking post. Have a wonderful week and may God bless you and yours!

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  5. Such great questions, Laura! So important to ask. Thanks for tackling this tricky topic so well.

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Thank you for sharing your thoughts!