No matter what pushes your buttons, one thing is certain — you will get angry once in a while. Everyone does. Anger is a normal emotion, and there’s nothing wrong with feeling mad. What counts is how we handle it (and ourselves) when we’re angry. In Ephesians Paul reminds us that it is possible to be angry and yet not be sinning.
“In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry,
Through this week we will provide information about anger as well as tools to manage this powerful emotion. Today we will consider the first two of which are being self aware and self controlled.
Tools to Tame a Temper: Self-Awareness & Self-Control
As with all of life we must be aware and controlled to live well. Peter writes in I Peter 5:8 “Keep your mind clear, and be alert. Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion as he looks for someone to devour. Be firm in the faith and resist him, knowing that other believers throughout the world are going through the same kind of suffering.”
Because anger can be so powerful, managing it is sometimes challenging. It takes plenty of self-awareness and self-control to manage angry feelings. And these skills take time to develop.
Self-awareness is the ability to notice what you’re feeling and thinking, and why. Little kids aren’t very aware of what they feel, they just act it out in their behavior. That’s why you see them having tantrums when they’re mad. As we mature we should begin to develop the mental ability to be self-aware. When you get angry, take a moment to notice what you’re feeling and thinking. Often just this step will help to avoid costly mistakes.
Self-control is all about thinking before you act. It puts some precious seconds or minutes between feeling a strong emotion and taking an action you’ll regret. You might remember the story of Jesus driving the money changers from the temple. The writer John includes and often overlooked detail in the story when he shares that Jesus “made a whip out of cords”. Although the whip itself isn’t significant it did take time for Jesus to form, time he could use to think clearly over his next moves.
Together, self-awareness and self-control allow you to have more choice about how to act when you’re feeling an intense emotions like anger.
Tomorrow we’ll take a look at “Getting Ready to Make a Change.”