Firecrackers and Coke Bottles: Learning to Control Your Anger

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“Be angry and do not sin. Don’t let the sun go down on your anger, and don’t give the devil an opportunity.” (Ephesians 4:26-27)

Anger is a potentially dangerous emotion. Sure, “righteous anger” can be a good thing. But let’s be honest – how much of our anger can really be classified as “righteous?” I’ve seen unbridled anger ruin marriages, destroy families, burn bridges, end friendships, and so much more. You have, too. The Bible even goes so far to say that what we do with our anger carries the potential of rolling out the welcome matt for Satan in our lives: “Don’t give the devil an opportunity.”

Generally speaking, people who struggle with controlling their anger have one of these two natural tendencies: either you are a Firecracker or Coke Bottle.

To the Firecracker, the Bible says, Be angry and do not sin.
If you have a tendency to be short-fused – a little hot-headed – can I tell you something that will change your life? You will never be able control the words or actions of others around you but your emotions and your reactions are your responsibility. If you are to master your tongue and begin to speak life instead of death, you must own your emotions. Count to 10? Sure, if that works for you. Take deep breaths? Ok, I get that. But ultimately you must own the truth that no one can force an emotion on you. They don’t make you angry. You choose to be angry. And you are accountable for what you do with that anger. You are the only one who can light your own short fuse, and your fuse is your responsibility. So to the Firecracker, the Bible says, Be angry and do not sin.

To the Coke Bottle, the Bible says, Don’t let the sun go down on your anger.
If Firecrackers immediately turn their anger outward, Bottlers turn theirs inward. There, it festers. It fizzes. It boils. Sometimes for years before finally you just can’t take it anymore. And it’s like somebody just dropped a whole box of Mentos in your Diet Coke bottle, shook it up, and threw it out on your front lawn. And here it comes… You spit out your frustration in words you’ve been holding back for way too long. At this point, once Mount Vesuvius erupts, the damage is often extensive and the relationship is beyond repair. So to the Coke Bottle, the Bible says not to let the sun go down on your anger. Keep short accounts. Bitterness and unforgiveness will make your blood boil if you don’t get on top of this. As difficult as it is, let your offender know that you are upset and give him or her a chance to make it right.

Understand this: If you don’t learn to control your emotions, they will control you.

Grace and Peace,
Tony

 

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