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20 January 2009

Anger Management

We've all had those moments of anger - I know I certainly have. No matter how much I try to tell myself otherwise, there are times I just can't stop the fury from flooding me. I am, however, getting better at managing one part of the anger - and that is keeping my mouth shut when the hurtful words are filling my mouth and begging to come out. (written 19 Nov 07)

Remember the time that you were mad at your "best friend" and said something you later regretted? Remember the time you were on the receiving end of those angry words? Do you remember how that made you feel? No matter how many times you are told how smart, cute, funny (insert your own descriptive) you are, what sticks in your mind? The one (or more) times you were told that you were stupid, ugly, crazy (insert your own). Those words are the ones that hurt most, and linger longest. How, then, do we avoid the angry words?

Each of us have our own way of dealing with anger. I have opened my mouth before thinking about how the person on the receiving end would feel. You can't unsay those words! I still have to stop and think before spouting off. How would I feel if I was hearing that? I know for a fact that I wouldn't like it. I try my hardest not to say things that will intentionally hurt someone. I don't always succeed.

What method do I use to control my anger? I try to put myself in the other person's shoes. How do I know what they have been through today? I don't. I ask God for help, in what some may consider a facetious manner, but I am serious: "Lord, keep your arm around my shoulder and your hand over my mouth!" I ask Him to help me curb my temper and offer the understanding and love that He would offer. In my growth with Jesus, it is my goal to learn to be like Him. I ask myself "what would Jesus do?" Well, I know He wouldn't spout off angry and hurtful words. It is something that I struggle with frequently. The struggle is not because I feel it is difficult, but because the immediate reaction to being hurt is to want to lash out in return, to make your tormentor feel the pain you feel. That does not solve the problem.

What have I discovered? There are those who will not care how understanding you are, those who will not want your kind words. Give them even more understanding and kindness. Ask God to help you do so. He is the best method of defense when the anger builds. Ask Him to take it from you and fill you with peace. It is not always easy, but it CAN happen. Believe in the power of God to bring you through the anger. Pray that He gives you the right words to say.

God, every day I am thankful that You bless me with your presence and strength. Thank you for helping me to understand that anger hurts not only me, but any to whom I direct it. I ask for your continued guidance and help in controlling my anger.

"You who tear yourself to pieces in your anger, is the earth to be abandoned for your sake? Or must the rocks be moved from their place? The lamp of the wicked is snuffed out; the flame of his fire stops burning."~Job 18:5-6 NIV

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