I’m participating in a study about anger, something I’ve struggled with in the past.  I used to be taunted and teased quite badly as a young person (from first grade until eleventh grade).  I was made to feel very badly about myself – the clothes I wore, my personal hygiene, my social skills and how very close I was with my sister.  The constant teasing resulted in a poor self-esteem and caused me to have a very short temper.  That temper followed me for many years.  It’s a habit, becoming angry and holding onto that bitterness instead of talking to people and telling them you how you actually feel.

It’s a process, moving past that anger.  I’m still working on it.  When things are going well for me, it’s easier than when things are difficult.  When I worked in human service as a cashier, I had a lot of practice letting go of my anger.  Customers would say hurtful things or treat me like I wasn’t all that bright (It seems to be really easy for some people to forget that person behind the counter has feelings too.)  Instead of lashing out (which would lose me my job) I would bite my tongue and smile at the person and try to see things from their perspective.  “Your pizza was cold?”  Sure it’s because you ate your ice cream and let it get cold but you wanted to have warm pizza and at the same time you didn’t want your ice cream to melt.  “Let me replace that pizza for you.”

To finish, I’ll post my reply to the online Bible study questions.  You don’t know the scenario we were given but I’ll give you it in brief.  Jason was working for a company for quite some time and when the manager retired he wanted the position but instead of voicing that, he figured his record would speak for itself and he would be promoted.  He was asked to serve on the selection committee to find a new manager and felt like the other members of the committee were shutting him down instead of listening to his opinions.  When a younger man is chosen as the new manager, Jason feels slighted and holds back that anger, talking to his wife but no one at the company about it.  He starts to feel like she’s not listening to him too when she tells him that he’s put himself in the position he’s in because he should have spoken up sooner.  His anger at the new manager and his job situation culminates in him quitting his job.

We’re presented with the idea that Jason is a new Christian and has called us up for advice and a Christian perspective on anger. My reply:

Proverbs 14:29 “A patient man has great understanding, but a quick-tempered man displays folly.”

In this case the folly was quitting his job without talking over the decision with his wife. In letting his anger make his decisions and losing patience with his company, Jason made what may have been a poor choice for him.

Ephesians 4:31 “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.”

If he’d talked to his new manager about his disappointment at missing out on the management position, he might have made something good come out of it.   He was already in a position to help the new manager (by training him). Sometimes God gives us something we need rather than something we think we want. By giving into his anger, Jason may have missed out on something even better for him in the long run than a management position.

In addition, since he’s starting to feel anger toward his wife regarding the situation, he might ultimately hurt his relationship with her as well. Instead of simply venting his anger, he should talk to someone who can do something more constructive about the situation.

  1. Are you quick to anger, or do you hold back the anger you experience until you explode and what have been some of the barriers you’ve experienced in trying to work through your anger?

I have in the past had a short temper. Many times my anger has resulted from situations like Jason’s, where my own lack of action or holding back my opinions put me in a situation that I felt wasn’t fair. Looking back on these times I can see the mistakes I made that put me in those situations but at the time, it was very easy to blame others and get angry.

I think a lot of time anger comes from not wanting to accept the results of a mistake I’ve made. It’s “easier” to get frustrated and angry at others than to accept my own guilt.   However, in the long run acknowledging our mistakes is what helps us grow as people and helps us move past our anger.