Anger: Handling a Powerful Emotion in a Healthy Way
Dr. Gary Chapman
Chapter 5 & 6
We are using a companion to the word of God on this issue. The Book by Dr. Gary Chapman, Anger: Handling a Powerful Emotion in a Healthy Way. If you do not have a copy I recommend you buy one on line or let us order you one. Download one to your computer, smartphone, or book reader.
Our author says that anger is rooted in the in the NATURE OF GOD.
What are the two aspects of God’s nature that are involved in Anger? His Holiness and His Love
What does Dr. Chapman say that Anger is designed to Do at the beginning of Chapter Two? Human anger is designed by God to motivate us to take constructive action in the face of wrongdoing or when facing injustice (p22)
Alright I missed last week when you reviewed
Chapter 5 but let me just quiz you a bit.
You read “how to handle ‘bad’ anger”.
Dr. Chapman says that “bad” anger is anger that is fed by “circumstantial evidence, faulty presuppositions, generalizations, our expectations, or personal preferences …” etc. and we conclude, though incorrectly, that we have been wronged. So our anger is not definitive but “distorted”.
The problem is we may be aware of ALL THAT but we still are feeling what we are feeling, we are still experiencing anger … so what do we do?
Let me summarize what he said in four words …
COMMUNICATE, INVESTIGATE, COMMUNICATE, and COMMUNICATE … wait … three of those are the same so I guess that’s only 2 words …
- 1.What is the first thing we communicate?
Say “I need your help” – tell the other person, in a NICE nonjudgmental way what YOU are feeling, NOT what you have decided … focus on the event/action not the person … THEN … Seek to Understand before seeking to be understood
- 2.What do we investigate?
“What happened” – lay out what you THINK has happened and ask for clarity … do you have all the facts? There may be a good reason or not … but this isn’t a confrontation but a gather of information … THEN
- 3.Communicate again.
Say “this really bothers me”. “I feel that …” … are those feelings justified? Is this an isolated incident? We often say “never” or “always” when that isn’t really the case. Dr. Chapman says to “Negotiate Understanding”. Share what’s going on inside of you so the other person can understand it. Share in a way that won’t cause the other to be defensive but to gain a deeper connection and understanding. LISTEN to the response of the other. In the relationship, hopefully now the one who is the “source” of the anger will Seek to Understand before seeking to be understood … Then
- 4.Communicate once again.
“Request Change”. We will always have little things about others that irritate us. If we can eliminate some of those, then we can deepen our affection for one another. REQUEST … don’t DEMAND … Requesting change out of a position of a love relationship will usually be responded to positively …
Chapter 6 … Big one Explosions and Implosions
We are trying to learn to recognize and control harmful expressions of anger whether definitive or distorted anger can become harmful for EITHER party.
Have you ever heard someone that likes to explode at people say “well at least people know where I stand”? – that is an excuse … a justification for inappropriate behavior. --- which we must recognize is abuse. You might not like that word but it is. Abuse is defined as “use of something to a bad effect or for a bad purpose; misuse”
- How do we Help an Explosive Person?
-Hold them accountable – don’t overlook it, address it … it is not constructive
-Seek help in dealing with and changing behavior
-Realize that “venting” doesn’t “drain the anger” instead it fuels it
-Just because it isn’t physical doesn’t mean it isn’t explosive and abusive
- Implosive Anger – holding it in
-Like a building that is “imploded” like can crumble around this person
-3 Elements of Implosive Anger
- Denial – “I am not angry” – just disappointed frustrated etc
- Withdrawal – from the person or situation
- Brooding – reliving it over and over either planning action or feeding on the feelings –
-the longer it sits the worse it gets
-Sometimes an IMPOLOSION turns INTO an Explosion
-Other times it turns into a breakdown or worse …
*Defusing Implosive Anger
-Admit the tendency
-Reveal the problem to a friend or family member that is causing you anger that you are holding in …
-Decide what to do
“Anger was designed to be a VISITOR not a RESIDENT
Ecclesiastes 7:9 “… anger resides in the lap of fools” … don’t let it live there. You may not have invited it to come visit but you don’t have to let it stay
As I thought about that image … I asked myself … “how do you most easily get something out of your lap?”
What’s the answer? You get up. Notice I didn’t say you LEAVE … I said you “get up” … Why do we most often get up? We get up, in order to …. DO SOMETHING.
When we don’t do something all kinds of things happen.
When we don’t do something we open the door for all kinds of sin … Proverbs 29:22 “… a hot tempered person commits all kinds of sin”
When we leave anger open, unaddressed it is like leaving an open wound. You would never think of leaving a real wound open. Why? Because you don’t want it to become infected. So you clean it out, put salve on it, you put bandage on it and you repeat this step over and over until it is healed … correct?
We get wounded all the time by the actions, justified or not, of others and if we don’t deal with the wound, or worse yet we then inflict counter attacking or self inflicting wounds, the sickness is multiplied …
And we open the door for all kinds of sin.
Archimedes (c. 287 BC – c. 212 BC) was a Greek Mathematician, Physicist, Engineer, Inventor, and Astronomer. He didn’t INVENT a Lever, but he understood and explained the concept of how it works to move something greater than one could move alone. You could never move a Heavy Object but you could with a lever and a good place to stand. Archimedes said “give me a place to stand on (with a lever) and I will move the Earth”. His point was that anything is possible with the proper leverage.
If we are not careful, anger is a point of leverage that can move relationships and other things in our life where normally we would be unmovable. Things we would never do are done, because of anger. We get to places we never would have gone without anger.
So our scripture for tonight
Just a few quick verses …
to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 26 “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold.
Let me just point some things out …
Yes we get angry,
it’s in our nature, and we do it wrong … but we don’t have to … “put off your former way” because it is “corrupted by its deceitful desires” …
Stop saying “that’s just the way I am” or “he’s just like that” …
Be made new in the attitudes of your minds …
Notice you were taught … to put off and to BE MADE NEW … yes IN Christ we ARE new and yet at the same time we have a responsibility to BE MADE NEW … we are STILL struggling with our old nature and we have to put that aside and
Put On the New Self ---
You HAVE a new self … PUT IT ON
Why? “To be like God in TRUE Righteousness and Holiness” … listen folks we ARE righteous and holy … so let’s start LIVING like we ARE … and stop making excuses
Put off falsehood and Speak Truthfully
When we don’t deal with anger honestly and openly it is the same as lying …
We must do this because we are part of the SAME BODY …
we are in relationship with God through Christ and with one another
IN YOUR ANGER … do NOT SIN
Yep it IS possible to BE angry and NOT sin … so HOW do we do that? Even distorted anger when it comes is a temptation … but it doesn’t have to BECOME sin … it was a reaction that is a result of our imperfection but we don’t have to let it BECOME sin …
What do we DO to keep it out of the realm of SIN? Let’s take these two in reverse order
- Do not give the Devil a Place to Stand
we have to recognize that when we put off dealing with our anger we GIVE the devil a point of leverage in our lives. If nothing else, we STAY angry, which we already know is an open wound waiting for the Bacteria of Sin to creep in
if we are supposed to deal with it and we do NOT that inaction in itself is SIN … James 4:17 anyone who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins
so we want to pull the rug out from under satan so he can’t move us. Have you ever said “I would never …” and then you got angry and you did? Well let’s not give him a place to stand. You can’t move the Earth because “where would you stand” … right?
- Do not let the Sun go down on your Anger …
This is the one of the most obvious, direct, useful, and still ignored or neglected verses in scripture.
- This is HOW you pull the rug out from under satan.
“don’t let the sun go down” … but what if I get angry at 10:00 pm? -- it means deal with it TODAY or Sooner Rather than later.
Lisa and I have made a commitment in our marriage and we encourage it with couples we counsel. Deal with your disagreements / angry BEFORE you go to bed. That’s what this verse is saying
-- Satan wants to blow the sparking embers of your frustration, disappointment, hurt, and anger into a raging wildfire that will destroy everything in your life. But we won’t let him!
-- So, address the issue, go through the steps you’ve learned already … A sleepless night is better than a loveless life. A few missed winks can work out the kinks.
-- Put on a cup of coffee or tea and look in each other’s eyes and deal with it.
-- Express your love for each other and desire for the relationship MORE than being right or WINNING … Who cares if you WIN if you have no one to share it with … “DUH winning” alone is “DUH LOSING …! What is the point of getting all the toys if you have no one to play with.
Now, let’s be practical, perhaps the issue you are dealing with that has caused the anger, is bigger than what can be solved that night. What if others are involved or need to be included?
•DEAL WITH THE ANGER …
•ask “what do we need to do TONIGHT, to deal with our anger and mend the rift in the relationship?”
•MAKE A COMMITMENT and an APPOINTMENT and a PLAN to return to the problem together and deal with the underlying problem that caused the anger. And the SOONEST time is the best time.
•But NOW, however, you are addressing the problem from the same team, not opposing sides!!
- GUESS What? When we do this. Satan sprawls out on the floor and has to leave, he can’t move us, destroy us, or harm us! HALLELUJAH!
Is that GOOD? YES!
Is it EASY? NO
OH but it’s GOOD!
Now, I want you to break up into smaller groups of 3-5 … and discuss the questions and reflections on the book … Focus first on the Reflections … then on the questions as time permits … and then please spend some time on the Personal Application at home in your time alone as it will help you as you begin this journey on handling anger in a healthy way.
Please save some time at the end of your discussion to share prayer requests and answered prayers with the group and pray together
1. Implosion, Explosion, what is your most common response?
2. what are some typical signs of explosive anger?
3. what most often motivates a person who is explosive to get help for their anger?
4. What are signs of Implosive Anger? How does it hurt BOTH the angry person and those around them?
1. how is your expression style affecting your relationships?
2. How can suppressing anger lead to hate or bitterness?
3. what principles are you learning for handling destructive anger? (Eph 4:26-27; Col 3:8, Eccl 7:9)
1. List at least 3 recent anger situations write how YOU reacted, explosive or implosive. Write down what happened and what you could have done to improve your response
2. Review the verses above and Choose one to list on an index card for review and memorization. Share with someone next week how this helped you daily