Anger: Handle with Care

by Dr. Gary Chapman

Do find yourself over-reacting to little irritations? Your spouse forgot the milk. Your child tracked mud on the new carpet, and you explode. There is a good chance that you are suffering from stored anger. Anger that has been living inside of you for years. Your parents hurt you with harsh words or severe punishment. Your peers made fun of you as a teenager. Your boss treated you unfairly.

You've held all of these hurts inside and now your stored anger is showing up in your behavior. The Bible says, "Don't let the sun go down on your anger." In my book entitled Anger, I talk about getting rid of stored anger in more detail, but here's a few helpful insights that could help you handle this powerful emotion.

Discover the Symptoms
One of the common problems I encounter in the counseling office is people who are eaten up with anger. They have been deeply hurt by others. In an effort to be good Christians, they have held their anger inside. They didn't want to explode or be unkind, so they said nothing. Anger held inside leads to bitterness, hatred, and often depression.

Many people have no idea why they are cranky, critical, and condemning. They make life hard on others and hard on themselves. Almost always, these people are filled with anger. Everything they encounter seems wrong. They read into the present what has happened to them in the past. They were hurt by parents, siblings, and others. The hurt turned to anger and the anger to a critical attitude.

Release it to God
If you have internalized your anger for a long time, it's time to release it to God. Tell God how much you have been hurt. Then, release the person and your anger to God. He is a just and loving God. If the person repents, God will forgive. If they do not, God will punish them. When you release people to God, you put them in good hands.

Confront in Love
When we are mistreated we need to lovingly confront the person who hurt us and seek reconciliation. Don't sit around the rest of your life letting anger control your life. Make one more effort in seeking reconciliation. The first step in getting rid of anger is to make a list of all the people who have hurt you through the years and then release these people and your anger to God. Then, go to the person and tell them that you would like to 'make things right'.

Live Free
If someone is open when you lovingly confront them, they will confess their wrong and you can forgive. If they are not, then ask God if there is anything else you need to do such as 'return good for evil'. Whatever He brings to mind, do it. Then give that person and your hurt and anger to God. Pray for them, but don't allow their behavior to control your life. God wants you to be free to follow Him.

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