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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Understand Your Anger

Anger and rage is an issue that many families must confront. As a matter of fact, anger is a normal human emotion. If it is not properly processed, it can lead to serious problems in family life. Deep seated anger leads to bitterness, and bitterness causes unresolved family problems. The Bible has good advice about anger. "Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of malicious behaviour" (Ephesians 4:31, NLT).

Unresolved anger shows up in the family several ways. First, it leads to disputes and name calling. Things are said that are hurtful and cause division. Secondly, unresolved anger leads to withdrawal. A notable example is the elder brother in Luke 15. Instead of going to his father with the anger, he withdrew. Also, such anger causes tension in the whole family. The bitter person recruits other family members to be on his/her side. Finally, unresolved anger in the family may lead to domestic violence. A large percentage of homicides originate with family violence.

Anger should be recognized as a normal human emotion. We all have the capacity to be angry. However, we need to know how to process it. Withdrawal, name-calling or violence are unacceptable.

Anger becomes a sin when we lose self-control. Such anger can cause us to do and say things that we will regret in the future. When we lose self-control, we should call time-out. It's time for a cooling period.

Anger should be expressed in conversation. In a word, we need to talk it out. If we can't talk to the person who has wronged us, we should talk to another family member. We need someone to listen.

Anger tells us that we need reconciliation. We should pray that God will heal our broken relationships. We need to be reconciled with God and one another.

Anger should not be allowed to ferment into bitterness. It will sour our lives and affect all of our relationships. If we are unwilling to forgive, it even affects our relationship with God.

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