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.
Please subscribe to my blog so you don’t miss it! When you subscribe you also will get a complimentary e-Book on your indentity in Christ. Also, order the quick download “7 Steps to Putting the Past in the Past. . .and Keeping It There.”
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,
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,
NEW IDENTITY: Today’s guest writer is pastor-teacher Stephen J. Moll, my husband and a church planter in greater Chicago. You can read his original post here. Steve has preached extensively on the believer’s new identity in Christ, including these 7 truths you need to know. Free download below.
If you’re a believer in Jesus Christ, you’ve received an amazing new identity.You’re a new person! The moment you were saved you became a radically different person from the one you were before you were saved! In his writings, the Apostle Paul details the wonderful new identity all believers have in Christ.
Our new identity in Christ is designed by God to empower us, lead us, encourage us, and motivate us to live fruitful and victorious Christian lives. Therefore, it is vital that we know what the Word of God tells us about who we really are in Christ.
Here are the amazing truths about our new identity in Christ that we focus on and teach at Grace Life Church in greater Chicago:
1. Totally Forgiven!
In Christ you are totally forgiven of ALL your sins (Eph. 1:7, 4:32; Col. 1:13-14, 2:13, 3:13; Heb. 9:26-28, 10:13-14). As believers, all of our sins–past, present, and future sins–have been forgiven through Christ’s death at the cross. We don’t need to ask him to forgive us over and over again. Tragically, some Christians continually ask God to forgive them for the sins they commit when he’s already done that for them at the cross. Be assured that God completely dealt with the sin issue once and for all. All of believers’ sins have been totally forgiven and our fellowship with God is secure because we are in Christ. God now wants us to get on with letting Christ live His life in us and through us.
2. Perfectly Righteous!
In Christ you have the perfect righteousness of the Son of God (Rom. 3:21-24). All of our good works will not make us any more righteous than we became at the moment we were saved, when God gave us the perfect righteousness of his Son. We were declared totally righteous by God, the act of God the Bible calls “our justification” (Rom. 4:25).
Because we are in Christ, God sees us as just as perfectly righteous as his Son! We need to accept and embrace what God says is true about our perfect standing before Him and not base our standing on how we may feel from moment to moment and day to day.
3. Child of God!
In Christ you are a child of God (John 1:12-13). This is the wonderful reality of our intimate relationship with God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Unfortunately, some Christians want to keep distant form God because of bad teaching or a refusal to believe this truth. The great news is that God wants us to grow close to him in a warm and loving personal relationship (Rom 8:15-16).
As God’s children we can approach him freely and confidently.
In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. (Eph. 3:12)
God wants you to rest in and enjoy a close personal relationship with him. He wants you to know that you can turn to him and talk to Him anytime. He’s with you all the time as he’s loving you perfectly all the time. In addition, you are unconditionally accepted by God (Rom. 15:7). Many believers struggle with this truth. It’s difficult to believe, isn’t it? Despite your faults and failures, God still accepts you.
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You have every spiritual blessing in Christ (Eph. 1:3). You don’t have to pray for more spiritual blessings! The truth is that believers already possess every spiritual blessing in Christ, and we received them all at the moment we were saved.
You are complete in Christ (Col. 2:9-10). When God says that you’re complete in His Son, then you are complete! God has given us everything we need in order to enjoy a close and growing relationship with Him. At the moment of salvation, we received everything we need in order to live a victorious Christian life.
Jesus Christ has set you free (John 8:36). He has freed believers from sin and the law (Gal. 5:1). In our freedom we are now free to live as the Holy Spirit guides and leads us.
The Bible teaches that as a child of God you are not to live your Christian life by following the Mosaic Law, which God gave to the nation Israel, or any other works-based systems devised by men. Living that way does not produce victory over sin. It only produces confusion, frustration, bondage, and defeat as a believer eventually realizes, often painfully, that that way doesn’t work.
God’s Word is clear:
For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace. (Rom. 6:14)
Tragically, legalism has been a primary problem in Christ’s church ever since it started nearly 2000 years ago. Legalism mixes law and grace (or all law and no grace!), resulting in all kinds of errors and false teaching. It was the main problem the Apostle Paul vigorously confronted throughout his ministry. Today countless believers live under the heavy yoke of legalism. They’re missing out on the life of peace and joy that Jesus Christ has already given them. We thank God that he has given us the Bible, our sole source book of truth. It brings correction and teaches us His way for us to live as his children.
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. (Gal. 5:1)
7. Eternally Secure!
You are eternally secure in Christ.
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Believers cannot lose salvation (Rom. 8:31-39). All of our sins were forgiven and we were declared righteous at the moment we were saved. Jesus dealt with the sin issue once and for all at the cross when He paid the penalty for our sins. Because He paid the penalty, we don’t have to.
Furthermore, we’ve been sealed by the Holy Spirit (Eph. 1:13-14). Once we’ve been born again of the Spirit we can’t become unborn! The Bible says that nothing “will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:39). We are eternally secure in his perfect love!
You see, Jesus Christ has done it all for us! That’s the beauty of grace. It makes it all about him, not about us. He now invites us to rest in him (Matt. 11:28-30) and the work he’s done for us. We honor him and obey him when we rest in him. As we trust in Christ living in us and rest in him, we give him the freedom to work in us and through us, producing good works that flow out of the “fruit of the spirit” (Gal. 5:22-23). These are real good works that have eternal value in God’s sight (1 Cor. 3:11-14).
DOWNLOAD: Would you like a free download on more new identity truths? Ask Lucy for the New Identity download today.
Sharing Hope with Your Heart,