How Do You Express Anger?
“For every minute you are angry, you lose sixty seconds of happiness.” –Author Unknown
Thomas Henry Bolt was an American professional golfer known by the nicknames of “Thunder” and “Terrible Tommy” for his fiery disposition on the golf course. Bolt’s frequent fits of rage included shouting abusive language and throwing or even breaking his golf clubs. He was fined by tournaments so often for his behavior that he set up a special fund from his winnings just to pay them.
During his induction into the World Golf Hall of Fame, Terrible Tommy told the story of a particularly frustrating Pro-Am he played. On the final hole he was 135 yards from the green when he asked his caddy for a 7-iron. The caddy replied, “It’s got to be either a 3-iron or a 3-wood—those are the only two clubs you have left.”
There are many things—even people—in this life which can frustrate you. But whether or not you express anger, or better still, how you express anger when you’re frustrated is a choice. Nothing and no one makes you respond irrationally or inappropriately. Unfortunately, our responses can become easily habitual, or automatic, so as to define us.
What does the Bible say on the subject? A lot!
“A patient man has great understanding, but a quick-tempered man displays folly” (Proverbs 14:29).
“A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control” (Proverbs 29:11).
“Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools” (Ecclesiastes 7:9).
Those verses (and many others like them) tell us giving irrational vent to anger is not a good thing.
“My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires” (James 1:19-20).
This verse teaches that getting angry isn’t productive.
“In your anger do not sin” (Ephesians 4:26).
And this verse reminds us there is a difference between the experience of anger and the expression of it.
Anger is an inescapable fact of life. But we can make wiser choices, change or improve the way we respond to frustrating situations and circumstances, so as to reflect Christ.
How would my colleagues, friends and family say I handle my anger?
My prayer this week – You are the God of peace and wisdom! Will you give me a perspective which will help keep me from unrighteous and unbecoming expressions of anger? When I do get angry, will you give me the wisdom to recognize it and manage it in ways which will honor you and not hurt others?