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Miranda Writes: How to Be Good and Angry, Part 2




by Omar Miranda



Last week we began our discussion about the issue of anger. We defined anger as a morally neutral emotion that lets us know there’s something wrong that we need to deal with. In other words, the anger itself isn’t good or bad, it’s just like an “indicator light” on a car’s dashboard that alerts you to a larger problem in the engine. We also realized that anger can be either positive or negative—depending on how we deal with it. We introduced what the Bible said about anger and talked about the four different ways people deal with anger: spewing, stuffing, leaking, and scheduling.

Today I want to discuss the reasons people get angry, the consequences of ineffective anger management, and what the Bible says about how we can effectively deal with our own anger.

Why do people get angry? In my experience there are four reasons. They are:

• The desire is to hide behind a safe, surface emotion. Many times it’s easier—and safer—for us to go to our anger, especially for guys, when we’re feeling [fill in the blank]. It’s just easier than opening up and talking about what’s really going on. Anger is not the problem. Anger is the warning light on the dashboard telling us something under the hood isn’t right. We “stuff” the stuff that God wants to heal, forgive, and restore. But God “reveals” to heal.

• Hurt because of unmet needs . . . either real or perceived. When I talk to teens about what actually happened, and they are calmer and able to see things more objectively, many times they recognize that caused by feeling that your self-worth is threatened, or you are personally attacked . . . either real or perceived. When this happens, you’ve got to step back and talk to yourself. You heard me right. Talk to yourself. Now, you don’t have to do it out loud, but if it helps, go somewhere private and do it. Because I have ADD, I write these five questions down and seek to answer them. Many times, answering these questions helps me focus better on why I’m angry and what I need to do to fix the problem . . . or even if the problem is worth the energy of fixing. Here are the questions:

• Why am I feeling threatened?

• Who is being attacked?

• Who is attacking me?

• Is the threat meaningful?

• Whose approval am I seeking?

Next, I’d like to talk about the consequences of ineffective anger management. I’ll break them down into three different areas:

• Physical: migraines, gastrointestinal disorders, increased risk of heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure, and cancer.

• Emotional: they totally misinterpreted events. One tool you can use is to begin communications with “I feel . . . ” These statements address the issue, not the other person.

• Frustrations because of unmet expectations . . . either real or perceived. Other people can’t read your mind. You’ve got to be clear with them about what you want out of a relationship. A tool to use with this issue is “I desire . . . ” statements. You’re still telling the other person what you’d like, but it’s not as “in your face” as “I demand . . . ” statements. If the goal is to solve the problem, not hurt the other person, why wouldn’t you put what you want in the most gentle, respectful, kind way possible? (see Proverbs 15:1). The Bible says we should always tell the truth in love (see Ephesians 4:15).

• Insecurity broken relationships with friends and family, higher incidence of mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety, guilt, shame, and lack of joy.

• Spiritual: broken relationships with God, guilt, lack of joy.

That was the bad news; now I’d like to remind you that you don’t have to live with anger. God has given us this emotion for a reason. If we learn to pay attention to it and follow God’s prescription, we’ll be able to manage it effectively.

God’s three-step method for learning to effectively manage anger is found in James 1:19, 20. I’ll discuss those steps and also share a question we can ask ourselves that we should always keep in mind. Here’s the three-step process:

Step 1: Be “quick to listen.”

• Our immediate response to God, others, circumstances, and our anger is to be “receptive listeners,” not “reactionary responders.” The key question that we need to ask ourselves is: What is this anger telling me?

Step 2: Be “slow to speak.”

• Before we shoot our mouths off to God and others in anger, we need to “think before we speak.” The key question we need to ask ourselves is: What must I do to prevent a “verbal knee-jerk reaction”? Several verses that apply to the specific issue of having self-control are: Proverbs 10:19; 13:3; and 29:20.

Step 3: Be “slow to anger.”

• Our life-changing response to anger begins when we replace reaction with reflection. We should take time to think and, if possible, pray about the things that upset us. The key question that we need to ask ourselves is: What root issue (stuffing, injustice, hurt, frustration, or insecurity) is behind this anger? A verse that applies to this specific issue is Ecclesiastes 7:9.

Next week we’ll take our last look at this topic. God doesn’t want us walking around with anger. He wants us to recognize it and deal with it appropriately, so that we can free ourselves to be and do whatever He wants us to do.

Until next time, remember these things: God’s way is always the best way. Life is full of decisions, so make yours good ones. Put God first in your life, and you can’t go wrong.

Feel free to contact me: you can e-mail me at omiranda@rhpa.org; or you can keep up with me on Facebook; or you can read more of my stuff on Miranda Writes, at www.insightmagazine.org.

In Christ,

Omar Miranda, editor, Insight Magazine

Omar Miranda is the editor/director of Insight Ministries and a Christian counselor and with more than 20 years’ experience working with youth in public and private middle and high schools. He’s married and has two kids. He enjoys teaching the youth at his church, reading, writing, gardening, and camping. He’s a recovering knucklehead who spent a lot of time in the past doing stupid stuff away from God. He’s been back with God for years now and is eager to share what he’s learned from his experiences by answering any questions you may have about life, the Christian life, Jesus, spiritual matters, and relationships in his column, Miranda Writes.





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