Anger: Some women bottle it up; others let it blow. The important question: What’s the best way to handle anger?
You’ve experienced anger, haven’t you? We all have. The reasons for anger outnumber summer dandelions. Like a dandelion, it has a root. Just as weeding can rid dandelions from your yard, you can learn the best way to let go of your anger.
In this article, you’ll get these two practical helps to grow hope in your soul:
- Identify 3 main reasons for anger.
- Discover the how to zap anger at its root.
The last thing you want is a place for the devil. The word devil come from the Greek diabolos, which means “one who makes malicious false statements; a false accuser; a slanderer.” It is the a title for Satan.
His main goal is to deceive people, including Christians. He wants to convince you to reject the truth and believe lies.
‘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 4:26-27, NIV)
Reasons for Anger
Hurt: Tami’s husband is MIA — “in the worst way,” she says. “He’s here but not here. I’m so hurt I could scream.” After dinner, he disappears into his man cave, where he reclines in a La-Z-Boy and flips cable channels. He has next-to-know conversation with Tami or their two young school-aged children during the evening. She cleans up after dinner, helps with homework, and gets them ready for bed — and seethes.
A normal response to a hurt is anger. When hurt, do you stuff your anger? Do you yell or slam doors?
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Lack of control. When your life gets squirmy, you may feel out of control and angry.
“What are you? Stupid?” Suzanne yelled into her cell. Her teenage son had forgotten to pick up his little brothers from soccer practice. A single mom, she depends on her eldest for help. Her mocking putdown reveals her feelings of lack of control. She didn’t get what she wanted so she got angry.
Can you think something you got that you didn’t want? Perhaps a parking ticket? A poor performance review? A snub from a friend? What was your emotion?
Godly indignation. Sometimes — but not often, if we’re honest — you and I feel anger when we hate what God hates. God hates hypocrisy. He hates evil. God hates the trafficking of children. God experiences anger yet never sins. His anger is holy.
Here’s a scene in the Bible where Jesus displays anger:
Jesus goes into the synagogue on a Sabbath where there were Pharisees and a man with a withered hand and “looked around at them [the Pharisees] in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand.’ He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored. Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus” (Mark 5:6).
What’s something you hate that God hates? Does it make you angry? This is godly indignation.
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How to Kill Anger
Hold on to your godly indignation and let it propel you to good — this is holy anger. My husband and I hate the suffering of families in poverty. Our anger has led us to support a child through World Vision and to organize a food drive to stock a local food pantry. But. . .
Uproot ungodly anger. It ends up hurting you and the people around you.
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It also grieves the Spirit (Ephesians 4:30).
Unresolved anger can become bitterness that poisons your relationships and you. The sure “cure” for anger is forgiveness. Let’s look at forgiveness from two angles.
When you’ve been wronged, you can become angry and sin. Or you can choose forgiveness. Forgiveness isn’t easy. It costs you. It cost God (Colossians 3:13). When you forgive someone, you no longer hold the person’s sin against them. Forgiving doesn’t excuse their behavior or pretends the wrong never happened. However, you choose to let it go.
Your also deal with your hurt in a godly manner. It is wise for Tami and Suzanne to seek God’s perspective and determine to obey the Word in spite of how they feel. Both women need to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15) to their family members.
Tami could let her husband know how his disappearing act hurts her and the family. She can be confident that God will work in her husband’s heart, convicting him of his need to ask forgiveness (2 Timothy 3:16). Suzanne could lovingly remind her son that she counts on him to help out and if he’s unable to follow through on his commitment than he needs to let her know so she can make alternate arrangements.
In addition, Tami needs to ask her husband’s forgiveness. She has anger toward her husband that she need to confess. Suzanne needs to ask her son’s forgiveness too. Angry words cut like a knife.
My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. (James 1:19)
Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. (Colossians 3:13)
3 Parts of a Message
Did you know that the words you say are just one part of your communication? Your body language and your tone of voice make up a far larger part of your message than your words. Would you believe that they account for more than 90 percent of your message? This is an essential you need to know — that I need to remember too — in all of our relationships.
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Sharing hope with your heart,
DOMESTIC ABUSE: Here’s wisdom on counseling victims. Guest writer Joshua Waulk, director of Baylight Counseling, says domestic abuse is anti-gospel and anti-Christ. His article appeared first here and is used with permission. PLUS: Get a safety plan!
Domestic abuse, in all forms, represents a gross departure from how Scripture portrays biblical marriage, including the example of self-sacrificial love modeled for the church by Jesus.
Recently, I read an article at the site of a counseling ministry that addressed a wife whose husband had the whole family “walking on egg shells.” He had explosive behavior. While physical abuse was not alledged, there was clear indication the family was suffering emotionally since the husband and father subjected them to his fits of anger.
Reading this wife’s story was disheartening, but not surprising. Socially, we know that domestic abuse is now and has been for many a debilitating, sometimes years long reality. Authors Justin and Lindsey Holcomb, in their book, “Is It My Fault? Hope and Healing for Those Suffering Domestic Violence,” wrote the following:
Abusers often find ways to hurt the whole person. They shred their victim’s sense of self-worth, crush their wills, and violate their bodies. The effects are widespread and catastrophic—including physical, social, emotional, psychological, and spiritual damage. If left untended, these effects will be ongoing, no matter how long ago the abuse happened. This is why it is important to deal with them honestly now.
I would like to think that these truths are not novel to anyone in counseling or pastoral ministry. Yet there’s a reason many keep pounding the drum.
We Don’t Question Victims of Domestic Abuse
“I don’t know whether you’re a great wife or your kids are angels…”
The line you just read was inluded in the counselor’s response to the wife mentioned above. She was exasperated at her husband’s erractic and sinful behavior, so she sought wise counsel from a third party. This is no small thing. We cannot afford to miss an opportunity to come to the side of an abused wife or child. Frankly, we may not get a second chance.
Often times, wives and children suffering at the hands of a manipulative tyrant are too overcome with fear to reach out for help. Perpetrators of domestic abuse often convince their victims that to seek help is to risk much more in retrobution and fallout than they might wish to endure. Examples include severe physical harm, loss of children, loss of finanical support, and so on..
Counselors, especially those who serve the church in any official capacity, must be aware of indications of domestic abuse. They must be resolved to never tolerate or give quarter to an abuser or their abusive behavior, regardless of the consequences that follow. Where marriage and family is concerned, biblical counselors must be resolute about this:
In the life of the family, domestic abuse, in all forms,
is anti-gospel and anti-Christ.
We Comfort Victims of Domestic Abuse
This makes questioning the personal, in-home performance of potential victims of domestic abuse a potentially grievous error. Such questioning often shows a lack of care, compassion, and concern for the safety of those involved. It threatens to re-victimize them by sending them into an emotional retreat, potentially convinced of their aggressor’s lies that help is out of reach.
In sum, it shows a lack of understanding and preparation to work with and provide care for victims of domestic abuse. These descriptions must never be true of those who serve as biblical counselors. Biblical counseling, as well as the church proper, ought to represent one place where perpetrators know, without question, they cannot hide their sin.
Domestic abuse represents a dynamic milieu of emotional and spiritual issues. However, addressing the victim and aggressor in the posture of marriage counseling is not the proper place to begin counseling.
In domestic abuse, the problem is not the victim’s alleged shortcomings or even their own sin.
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The problem to be addressed in counseling first is the condition of the aggressor’s heart that gave rise to abusive behavior in the main. This issue is second only to securing the victim’s safety, a paramount concern.
We Help Victims of Domestic Abuse
Biblical Counselor Brad Hambrick writes,
Until safety is no longer in doubt, other concerns should be only a way of understanding how to create a safe disposition or environment for the individual.
Biblical counselors and those in church ministry must be unwavering here: personal sin and shortcomings are never an ocassion for another, especially one’s own spouse or family member, to engage in acts of domestic abuse.
Whenever biblical or pastoral counselors suspect domestic abuse, let them trust that this is the first issue to be addressed in counseling. And, let the manner in which they counsel, speak hope to victims, repentance to perpetrators, conviction to the church, and the gospel to the culture. (Note: When someone is in danger, call police immediately.)
Resource for Victims
How to Develop a Safety Plan for Domestic Violence by Brad Hambrick
Join the Discussion
- What action steps can the church take to communicate to perpetrators that their sin will not be kept hidden?
- What action steps can the church take to proactively minister to the domestic abuse victim?
Sharing Hope with Your Heart,
INSTANT GRATIFICATION: What’s the antidote to instant gratification? Delayed gratification! Guest writer Shannon Kay McCoy, a biblical counselor listed on Heart2Heart Counselor Directory here, says often counselees want quick fixes. But Jesus wants something better! Shannon’s article appeared first here and is used with permisison. Read part one here. (Slightly edited for length.)
Delayed gratification does not come easily for most people. It is choosing to resist present comfort for long-term pleasure. The Christian life is a life of deferred gratification.
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Jesus teaches us to not store up treasures on earth, but to store up treasures in heaven (Matt. 6:19-21).
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:21, ESV
Delayed gratification is a difficult concept to counsel. Counselees come to counseling in desperation. They are on the verge of a spiritual meltdown and want immediate relief for their problems. So their impatience grows as the counselor pulls out the Bible to read a passage, and the counselee does not see how it relates to their immediate need. But for biblical change to happen, both the counselor and the counselee must embrace the process of delayed gratification.
Process of Delayed Gratification
The process of delayed gratification is resisting the temptation of instant gratification. That is the most difficult challenge in the Christian life. Jesus demonstrated delayed gratification by resisting the temptations presented to Him by the devil in the wilderness (Matt. 4:1-11). Satan tempted Jesus immediately after His baptism when God identified Jesus as His Beloved Son (Matt. 3:17). The devil casted doubt on God’s Word and desired to destroy Jesus’ identity as the Messiah.
In addition, Satan’s purpose for us is to cast doubt on who we are in Christ and to destroy God’s plan for us. Jesus’ experience in the wilderness demonstrates the common areas of temptation—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the boastful pride of life. 1 John 2:16 says,
For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world.
First Temptation: Lust of the Flesh
Satan offered Jesus instant gratification by challenging Him to prove His identity. He tempted Jesus to exercise His power by changing stones into bread. Jesus had the right to instantly prove His identity. But instead of succumbing to Satan’s influence, Jesus submitted Himself to the authority of His Father by stating:
Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. Matthew 4:4
Second Temptation: Boastful Pride of Life
Satan offered Jesus instant gratification by challenging Him to proudly use His divine Sonship to obligate God to prove Himself. He wanted Jesus to throw Himself off the pinnacle of the temple, presuming God would catch Him based on His promise in Psalm 91:11-12. Jesus refused to use His position as the Son of God to put God to the test (Matt. 4:7).
Third Temptation: Lust of the Eyes
Satan offered Jesus instant gratification by challenging Him to bypass the pain and suffering of the cross to gain immediate possession of all the kingdoms of the world if only He would worship him. But Jesus choose the difficult route of the cross by obeying God’s word to worship and serve Him only (Matt. 4:10).
Principles of Delayed Gratification
In Matthew 4 Jesus teaches us the principles of delayed gratification: God’s will, God’s way, and God’s timing. These principles lay down the fundamental truths that serve as the foundation for escaping the instant gratification trap.
God’s will is what He wants to happen and how He wants things to be. We know God’s will by reading His Word. Romans 12:2 states,
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
It is God’s will for us to not conform to this world, but to be transformed by a renewed mind in Christ. When the counselee is anxious about a situation, we can counsel what the will of God is based on Philippians 4:6, for it is God’s will to not be anxious about anything. An anxious counselee will be tempted to find a quick way to stop worrying. Instead, we must lead her through the pain-staking process of delayed gratification to present her requests to God by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving.
God’s Way is the manner in which He wants things to be done. His way is powerfully stated in Galatians 5:16:
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.
So the way to live the Christian life is to walk by the Spirit. When the counselee carries out the desire of the flesh—such as immorality, idolatry, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, etc. (Gal. 5:19-21), the counselor must counsel God’s way of living the Christian life which is walking by the Spirit instead of the flesh. The temptation is to give the 3 quick steps to instant freedom from the flesh. The process of delayed gratification is to resist the temptation of the flesh by walking in the Spirit.
God’s timing is to choose the precise moment for doing something for optimum effect. Ecclesiastes 3:1 declares,
There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven.
So it is wise for both the counselor and counselee to understand that God controls the timing of all things. When the stresses of life mount, the temptation is to take matters into our own hands to find an immediate fix to the problems—which makes the situation worse (Prov. 19:2b). Even in the stresses of life, delayed gratification must be practiced in order to remain under God’s authority.
God wants us to do His will in His way in His timing.
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The practice of delayed gratification will provide a way of escape from the instant gratification trap.
Questions for Reflection
How important is the practice of delayed gratification in the Christian life? Have you been tempted to counsel the quick fix instead of counseling delayed gratification?
Sharing Hope with Your Heart,
INSTANT GRATIFICATION: Our instant gratification mindset has snuck into the counseling office, says guest writer Shannon Kay McCoy, a biblical counselor listed on Heart2Heart Counselor Directory here. Often counselees want quick fixes. But Jesus wants something better! Shannon’s article appeared first here and is used with permisison. (Slightly edited for length.)
Instant gratification is not a new phenomenon. However, our expectation of “instant” is now faster than ever.
So how long will you wait for that cute cat video to load? I love cute cat videos, but if the video has not loaded after 10 seconds, I’m out! I move on to another site that has piqued my interest. And when I order something on the internet, if the shipping time is too long, I check to see if it is on Amazon Prime and order it there to get it in 2 days, even though I do not necessarily need it in 2 days.
And do you remember dial-up internet? I won’t even go there.
Instant Gratification Defined
Instant gratification is satisfying a desire immediately, without delay or deferment. It is the opposite of waiting. It is satisfying short-term pleasure instead of enduring the pain of long-term gain. Indeed, instant gratification often manifests as the ultimate in impatience. In fact, it is the difference between those who have the mindset of “strike while the iron is hot” versus “good things come to those who wait.”
Unfortunately, our culture feeds our innate desire for satisfaction now. With the wonderful inventions of computers, smartphones, and tablets, we can connect to anything we could possibly want. And this includes a selection of all types of entertainment on Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, a library of eBooks and audiobooks, and real-time local and world news at the touch of a button.
Instant Gratification and Quick Fixes
How does the need for instant gratification affect the counseling ministry? We may now have the dreaded feeling that instant gratification and counseling do not coexist. To be a Christian is to be set apart from a self-centered existence to a Christ-centered existence. We no longer live for ourselves.
Galatians 2:20 states the theme of the Christian life:
I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.
The believer’s life is characterized as living by faith in Jesus Christ and not living in the flesh, which craves instant gratification.
Also, Christians often get caught up in the instant gratification mindset in ministry. In the counseling room, the counselee wants a quick fix to a problem and the counselor wants the counselee to change instantly. An instant gratification approach to counseling is detrimental. And just as we demand instant feedback on social media and 2-day shipping, we demand that God fixes the negative circumstances and change people immediately.
If God does not come through fast enough, then we will find another way to resolve the problem—often leading to an even worse situation. The result of such impatience is stress, frustration, anger, fear, discouragement, and despair.
Downside of Instant Gratification
The instant gratification trap causes the counselor and the counselee to abandon the core spiritual disciplines of prayer, Bible study, fasting, and fellowshipping with other believers. Prayer is abandoned because it takes too long to see results. Studying the Bible seems pointless when we can Google any question we may have. Fasting seems bad for your health. And fellowshipping is a waste of time when we have other things that need our attention immediately.
Truly, there is no quick fix to counseling a couple whose marriage was damaged by adultery. And one cannot instantly work through the grieving process of losing a loved one. You also cannot say “Stop it!” to someone who is addicted to painkillers. When we try to fix the problem quickly or push for change instantly, then the essence of the Christian life is missed.
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The apostle Paul states the purpose of the Christian life in Philippians 3:10-11:
That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.
The goal of counseling is change based on a relationship with Jesus Christ. The pain and suffering of life are meant to develop a greater intimacy with Christ and to transform us into the image of Jesus Christ. The counselor and the counselee also must be reminded of this truth. And we come to know Him better when we wrestle through the trials of life in this fallen world.
In Part 2, I will walk us through the process of delayed gratification.
Questions for Reflection
How is your daily life affected by this instant gratification culture?
Also, is your spiritual life affected by an instant gratification mindset?
And in what way is your ministry/counseling affected by a desire for instant gratification?
In Mitchell’s “gallery of gossips,” meet five types of gossiping people. See if you can identify a gossip in your family, church, or workplace. See if you can identify yourself.
#1: The Spy
In Proverbs 11:13, the Hebrew word translated “gossip” means “‘a peddler (of secrets), a huckster/hawker, deceiver, or spy.’ This type of gossip is an informer. She convinces us to tell her our story then share it without permission.
A gossip betrays a confidence,
but a trustworthy person keeps a secret. Prov. 11:13
#2: The Grumbler
Another Hebrew word commonly translated “gossip” refers to a whisperer. Whisperers murmur about another person to others; she shies away from open complaints about the person.
#3: The Backstabber
Backstabbing gossip overflows from a revengeful heart. The backstabber wants to hurt you.
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The backstabber typically spreads lie after lie. It is a smear campaign.
#4: The Chameleon
A chameleon goes along with gossip to to fit into the crowd.
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She is motivated by fear and is afraid of what others will think, say, or do if she doesn’t join in. The fear of man keeps her in this prison (Prov. 29:25).
#5: The Busybody
The busybody meddles in other people’s buisess. She gossips for personal entertainment and to live vicariously through the stories of others.
Please leave a comment or question at this blog post if you have a sec. I’d love to hear your thoughts and pray for you. You may also send me a message, if you prefer.
Sharing Hope with Your Heart,