Ushering Anger Out

Wednesday, March 18, 2020
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Listen while you read: "O How I Love Jesus"1 (Lyrics)

An ancient memory pictures an event that occurred when I was four. I was busily engaged in playing with grain stored in the spare bedroom of a farm home where my family lived. My small hands were spreading the grain over the floor. What fun! Then, my father called up from the cellar, where he could hear the grainy scratching sounds. Clearly, I heard him tell me to stop playing with the grain. I continued. He called again. Several times, this happened. Then, I heard footsteps approaching the door of the room where I was playing. Those footsteps sounded to me like those of an angry man ready to call me to account for what I was doing. I had no desire to take the consequences for my behaviour. Unhesitatingly, I moved to the door, with its unusual lock device near the doorknob, and closed the lock. My father could not enter. But now, I was trapped! I found myself in a bind because consequences awaited outside that door. I couldn't stay there forever, so eventually, I unlocked the door and entered the hallway. It isn't surprising to note that in short order, I was bent over my father's knees as he applied firm correction to the seat of knowledge — the only spanking that he ever gave me. In my assessment of the situation at the time, I thought that he was justifiably angry at me.

Anger is a normal human experience. Sometimes, anger lasts but a brief time, but other times when the wound is deep and the hurt profound, we may find our minds captivated by angry thoughts from which escape seems impossible. The joy in everyday life is marred as these thoughts take over. What can we do? How can we rid ourselves of angry and vengeful thoughts? The Bible tells us:

Ephesians 4:26a – "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. (NIV)

However, it is not healthy to just put a plug in the anger and stop it up. We need healthy ways to deal with anger. We first need to admit that we are angry, so that we can deal with it.

When Jesus was dying on the cross, He gave us all the highest example of how to behave towards those who have caused us harm. He said to His enemies, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." (Luke 23:34 NIV)

Forgiveness plays a basic role in ridding ourselves of anger. Distraction can also be a powerful ally. Engaging ourselves in mentally demanding activity can override the dark thoughts that cling persistently. When one's thoughts are busy with productive mental work, the mind has no space remaining. Dark thoughts are ousted.

Ridding ourselves of deep anger is a process. We need time and patience with ourselves. As we redirect our thoughts into life-giving, productive channels, in time, this, too, will pass, and we will have been able to navigate successfully past the storm of angry thoughts without causing anyone harm. We will have heeded the wise words of the Bible: "In your anger do not sin."

Prayer: Loving God, thank You for the amazing words of Jesus, when He said, "Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing." Thank You, too, for our wonderful minds that enable us, with Your help, to live lives that find their direction in Jesus, our Lord and Saviour. Amen.

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About the author:

Joan Adams

1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Thank you.

    Thanks, Joan, for the wise words.

    Thanks, Joan, for this excellent advice.

    Thanks for a good word today Joan.

    Thank you, Joan, for sharing this thought-provoking devotional with us. Blessings.

    Thank you, a wonderful reminder, on how to deal with anger today.
    May the good Lord bless the day he hath made.

    My husband’s good Mennonite relatives said they never spanked when angry and when not angry they did not feel like spanking. One threatened a daughter and niece that he would deal with later for whatever they had done, but he never did do anything. But the fear of WHEN he was going to deal with it, then if he had just spanked them.

    So needful and well-said, Joan. The only thing I’d add is found in the AA Big Book, page 552 which talks about getting rid of resentments through prayer. It’s the ‘Freedom From Bondage,’ chapter which I also use for anger and time after time it has worked for me. Praying that every good thing come to the one you are angry with, that you resent. It usually takes about two weeks for me. Sure needed your great reminder today. Thank you.

    This is timely teaching at this difficult place we are living now. Living closely with loved ones, without the usual outside distractions and social enrichment can build all kinds of emotions. In the newspaper today, advice was given to “accept negative emotions”.
    We are only human and finding grace in particular situations is hard. But, miraculously, the Holy Spirit can provide the will to follow Jesus’ example.
    Thanks for directing our thoughts in a positive way!
    Bless you and may God keep you safe,

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