Anger management remains a hot topic for the web, as evidenced by the 20,300,000 entries popping up in just 0.3 seconds. After decades of working through my own short-fuse, I’ve discovered five essentials of anger management that have helped me get a grip.
For a long time, my stomach tightened whenever confronted with Bible verses such as, “Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit for anger resides in the lap of fools” (Eccl. 7:9), and “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.” (James 1:19-20 NIV)
I listened just fine–until something provoked me. Then, I forgot all about being slow to speak and slow to anger. I jumped in with both feet, unloading a lap full of foolish anger. Sometimes, I’d misunderstood. Even the times I’d been accurate in my understanding, I discovered it didn’t make me feel one bit better to react in anger.
Today, my struggle resembles more of a tussle than World War III. I recognize that I’ll be practicing the five essentials of anger management for the rest of my earthly life. I do want to produce the righteousness God desires.
The following is the acronym that has helped me, making 20,300,001 bits of advice from which you may choose:
I had to accept the truth that anger is a choice. Yes, you can help it.
Consider this scenario: You are screaming back at your teenager who came home from school loaded for bear. You were the first bear she ran into, and now both of you are saturating the air space with vitriolic banter. The doorbell rings, though it’s a miracle you heard it, right?
Fists balled and face crimson, you stop and peek through the little viewer. The pastor is about to ring a second time.