Anger: Handling a Powerful Emotion in a Healthy Way
Dr. Gary Chapman
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)
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” Seek to Understand before seeking to be understood
2.What do we investigate? “What happened” –do you have all the facts?
3.Communicate again. Say “this really bothers me”.
4.Communicate once again. “Request Change”.
Chapter 6 … Big one Explosions and Implosions
- How do we Help an Explosive Person?
-Hold them accountable
-Seek help in dealing with and changing behavior
- Implosive Anger – holding it in
-3 Elements of Implosive Anger
-the longer it sits the worse it gets
*Defusing Implosive Anger
-Admit the tendency
-Reveal the problem
-Decide what to do
Ecclesiastes 7:9 “… anger resides in the lap of fools” …
“how do you most easily get something out of your lap?” – Get UP and DO SOMETHING.
Deal with it in a timely Manner so that Satan cannot get a foothold to move us in a negative way
Dr. Chapman says that wrongs are not forgotten unless they are processed
Anger that is not processed can result in depression
Remember that anger was intended to motivate us toward positive action. If we don’t take that opportunity to move toward positive action it CAN bring a dark cloud over us.
So we have to be able to release the anger to God
It may be helpful if we feel overcome with anger … that we have deep seeded issues we have forgotten that are the root. Dr. Chapman sometimes recommends
- making a list of everyone who has ever wronged us and analyze how you responded to each event or person
- Go before God and release them 1x1 – that is believing that God can deal with the situations if you do not feel you can resolve them.
- If they are no longer living release the anger you have to God. If they are living you have to determine if it is useful or wise to go for reconciliation or “let the offense go”
- When it is possible, it is healthy to deal with people directly but be prayerful about direct confrontation. Make sure your spirit is write. Make sure you have released your anger and the results to God … do not go desires to set them straight or get them back
- Bring a trusted 3rd Party who can support you and hold you accountable
- Burn or destroy the list to symbolize letting it go
- Make forgiveness your purpose and be eager and anxious to offer it if requested
We will talk more about Forgiveness in the next chapter …
- Foundational Truths
- God is Love
- God is Just
- Vengeance Belongs to God –
Vengeance is always an act by a Holy God to dole out justice on those who have sinned against what is good and right. It is always a decision made by God alone. It always has a purpose and a time
Rom 12:19 Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written “it is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord … Then verse 20 says On the contrary: ‘if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink, in doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.’
The instruction there is one of showing kindness toward one who has wronged you in order to bring about repentance not to pour salt in the wound. “burning coals on his head” … is a picture of a repentant sinner carrying a basin of coals as a sign of repentance not as punishment
Finally verse 21 says “do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good”
How does Evil Overcome us? …
a. When it makes us do things we wouldn’t do otherwise
b. when it causes us to doubt God
c. when it causes us to subvert the process God is working
d. when it causes us to take our eyes off of him
What is the greater alternative?
“overcome evil” … with God
Let’s go back and read Romans 12:17-21
Do what is right in the eyes of everyone
Live at peace when at all possible, as far as it depends on you
Do not take revenge –
there is a difference between self-defense even pre-emptive self-defense and revenge. Revenge seeks to hurt simple so that person will feel what you felt. It is a desire to inflict pain out of an out of place feeling of justification or vindication or feeling that our actions are otherwise validated
Leave Room for God’s Wrath –
God ultimately is the one whose job it is to right wrongs. Sometimes he directs us to take action but it is always with his direction. Also know that most references in scripture to God’s Wrath carry as eschatological reference, meaning that they refer to the consummation of all things and the final judgment. So when we take vengeance into our own hands we are assuming we know how things will and should turn out. Perhaps God is using these circumstance and our response to bring about life change with eternal consequences in the life of the offender. Or it is a failure to trust in the Just nature of God to handle it in a timely and Just fashion.
God will REPAY –
often times our response is over the top or less that what is fair. But we can always trust God’s response to be correct whether it is Grace because of the covering of the blood of Christ or judgment because of the rejection of him, God’s response will always be equal to what is owed.
Offer Kindness in regards to the deepest needs of a person –
it doesn’t teach us extravagance but that may be an option … but it talks about the deepest needs, i.e. food, water. One writer I read said that in an eastern home, besides food and water, fire was critical to daily life. If a fire went out, a person would go to a neighbor’s house and ask for some coals from their fire that they could take home to restart their own. The picture then would be from a basin that would carry those coals home. But of course if the coals lose their heat before getting home they were no good. So you wouldn’t give them one or two but you would heap them up so that some would survive the trip. And so when we give food and water or other life sustenance to a person who has wronged us to are to do it in sufficient means to keep the fires of life burning. Hoping for transformation in their life and home.
Overcome Evil with God –
the word overcome is nikao – to be victor, conquer … over come EVIL … WITH “in Union with” GOOD – agathos – of good nature, useful, good, pleasant, agreeable, joyful, happy, excellent, distinguished, upright, honorable
That’s a pretty good list … if you can leave it to the Lord in regards to the results and be sure that your actions toward that person fit the bill as “good natured, useful, pleasant, agreeable, joyful, happy, excellent, distinguished, upright, honorable” … then you will win. Ultimately what does evil want to do? STEAL, KILL, and Destroy. But if WE can respond with that slew of synonyms then even if the relationship is never mended because the other person refuses to allow it … GOOD WINS OVER EVIL because YOU will not be brought down, you will not be destroyed by depression and anger, you will be freed up to keep on praising God …
So Good Wins … in YOUR life … in the things you CAN control even if things outside of your control go another way
I think perhaps we have lost our sense of the relativity of all things. We are today most easily offended and feel that we deserve better. I am guilty of this and I don’t know why it is. I think most likely it is because we have taken our eyes off Jesus Christ and what he did for us at the cross and what they did to him. Perhaps it is because we have taken our eyes off his command to daily take up our cross and follow him. Perhaps it is because we have forgotten that the greatest command is to love God with heart soul mind and strength and so instead we love ourselves and this life most. Perhaps it is because we have forgotten the 2nd greatest command is to LOVE our neighbor as ourselves. Perhaps it is that we have taken our eyes off the things above our home and eternity in Heaven and we have set our eyes on gaining things below
We need to pray “Father forgive me and set me eyes on Jesus. Set my heart on following him. Set my longing on things above. Give me the passion of an evangelist and the patience of a Martyr.”
I found a prayer from 1528 written by 7 anonymous martyrs just before they were put to death. The youngest was a 14 year old boy that was promised wealth for life if he recounted his faith but he refused. And as they prepared to die for their faith they wrote this prayer "O Lord, thou art our Shield, we turn to thee. For us it is a minor pain when they take our lives. Eternity thou has prepared for us, so when we suffer shame and stress here, it is nothing, we will be amply repaid”
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. How can you relate to Mike and Jule’s stories? Whom do you connect more with?
2. From Julies view, how had Mike changed? What were his tendencies in anger expression?
3. what traits does he show that are common for stored anger? Have you seen this in your life or someone close to you? How?
4. How was anger hurting the marriage?
1. When have you stored anger? How did avoiding the anger cause you problems later?
2. How can you help those around you deal with stored anger? For example, a parent can help children resolve anger rather than store it
1. Use Mike’s “homework assignment” in your life. Use a sheet of paper and make a list of the people who have wronged you. What have they done? How did you handle the anger? Is anything unresolved? What do you need to do to deal with the anger?
2. Mike needed to get alone with God. Schedule some time alone with God. Use some time to pray regarding individuals who have angered you. Seek God’s wisdom for processing any stored anger