How to Control your Anger

Uncontrolled anger, rage and hatred are by far the most destructive of human emotions. Most of the world's problems - from one-on-one confrontations to global wars - can be attributed to anger and hatred toward others. Listed under the "works of the flesh," in Galatians 5:19-21, are "hatred," "wrath," "strife," "envyings," and "murders," among others. The Apostle Paul said that those who practice these things will not inherit the Kingdom of Yah. In other words, they have no salvation.
All of these bad character traits are mental conditions that are controllable by even worldly, carnal minded people, if they but will. Notice Paul's admonition to "Be ye angry and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath."
Ephesians 6:4, "And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of Yahweh."
We are told the cause of wars in James 4. "From whence come wars and fightings among you? Come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?" We hate our brother and want what he has, so we try to take it.
It is the same with nations. Japan fought WWII for oil and raw materials that belonged to their neighbors. Germany fought WWII for territory and to rid the world of the "Jewish problem." They wanted to gain or regain disputed territory they had lost in WWI, and they deemed themselves the "Master Race," the Aryans. They hated the Jews (actually they were envious of them) and lusted after their worldly goods. It has just recently come out that the pious, peace loving Swiss people bought goods from the Nazis which had been confiscated (stolen) from Jewish victims of Nazi atrocities all through World War Two and before.
Cain killed Abel in a fit of rage because Yahweh favored Abel's sacrifice, and did not accept Cain's. But whose fault was that? Yahweh's, or Cain's? Cain's, of course!
Proverbs 19:11 tells us "the discretion of a man defers his anger, and it is to his glory to pass over a transgression." This plainly tells us that we can control our anger, and ignore insults, perceived slights and rudeness in others.
Proverbs 27:4, "Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous; but who is able to stand before envy?"
Ecclesiastes 7:9, "Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger rests in the bosom of fools." Do you get angry easily? Are you a fool? According to the Scriptures and in Yahweh's eyes, you are a fool if you are quick to lose your temper.
There was such a man in the time of David. His name was Nabal, which means "fool" in Hebrew. He refused David's request for provisions to feed his hungry men, after they had saved untold numbers of his sheep from marauding bands during the preceding season.
David, himself becoming angry at Nabal for his ingratitude, purposed to destroy him and his possessions. He set out with 400 armed men to do just that. But Nabal's wife, who was not only smarter than Nabal, but wiser and more compassionate as well, learned of her churlish husband's actions and did what she could to repair the damage before David arrived. She met him on the way with gifts of food, and explained that she was married to an idiot, and if David avenged himself, he would be sorry later on after he became king. He complimented her on her wisdom and understanding, and did as she suggested.
When she returned home, Nabal was throwing a party, and had fallen into a drunken stupor. So she waited until the next morning when he would be sober, to tell him what she had done. And when she did, he must have become so enraged that he had a stroke or heart attack, and finally died ten days later.
What is the lesson to be learned here? That uncontrolled anger destroys relationships, and can even kill the angry one, as well as lay undue stress on those around him or her. So what should we do? How can we maintain control of our emotions in times of stress and maybe physical or verbal abuse from others?
In order to answer that, let's look at some excerpts from an article called How to Defuse Your Anger and live a much healthier life, by Dr. Redford Williams of Duke University Medical Center. It was recently published in Bottom Line/Personal Newsletter. Dr. Williams co-authored with Dr. Virginia Williams, a book titled Anger Kills: 17 Strategies for Controlling the Hostility that Can Harm Your Health. $12 from Harper Perennial, 1-800-331-3761. 10 E. 53rd St. NYC, 10022
If left unchecked, anger can damage your relationships, your reputation and your health. Anger produces the well-known fight-or-flight response--the physiological changes that help us marshal our resources to escape immediate danger.
Today, however, this response is counterproductive. Physical force is an appropriate or useful response in very few situations--yet our bodies continue to react as though it were frequently necessary.
Anger and the Body
Anger stimulates the release of the hormones adrenaline and cortisol into the blood stream. These two hormones have a number of effects that mobilize the body over the short term but that can be destructive if arousal is chronic.
>The hormones cause heart rate and blood pressure to rise. This can damage the delicate inner lining of the arteries and accelerate the development of arteriosclerosis--a buildup of plaque that can lead to a heart attack.
>They cause platelets circulating in the blood to become sticky. That enables them to cling to damaged areas on the artery lining, where they clump and release chemicals thought to further stimulate the growth of arteriosclerotic plaque.
>They stimulate fat cells to empty into the bloodstream to provide a quick energy source. When that fat isn't burned, it's converted into cholesterol--making more cholesterol available to be incorporated into plaque.
>They appear to suppress the immune system, making us more susceptible to illness.
Psychological Trigger
Anger also has a number of harmful psychological effects that may take their toll on your physical health. Various studies have suggested that hostility may be associated with poor marital satisfaction...difficult relationships with other family members...and greater problems at work.
A hostile attitude also drives others away and may contribute to social isolation--which is itself a predictor of poor health and reduced longevity.
Important: Perhaps because they are under greater stress from frequent arousal, people who measure high in hostility are also more likely than others to engage in habits that are dangerous to their health--particularly smoking, excessive alcohol use and overeating.
Damage-Control Strategies
Reason with yourself. Though at first anger may not feel like an emotion that responds well to logic, you can use your reasoning powers to keep from reacting automatically...and from flying into a rage.
Helpful: When you feel yourself getting annoyed, stop and ask yourself three questions before you react...
* Is the issue at hand important to me?
* Is my anger justified?
* Is there anything that anger can do to fix the situation?
Important: Rely only on evidence you can observe objectively--not your interpretation of others' motives.
If you answer "yes" to all three questions...your anger is probably worth acting on.
Strategy: Instead of losing your temper, be assertive. Describe the specific behavior that's bothering you, and tell yourself what you want. Be specific about the behavior you want changed...and make the request calmly. If necessary, take a few deep breaths before speaking.
If you answer "no" to at least one of the three questions: Instead of trying to change the situation that made you angry, it may be more appropriate to change your internal response.
The key is to talk yourself out of it. Recognize that your anger will not change the person or situation that has irritated you. Remember the damage that anger is doing to your body. Remind yourself that if you remain angry, it's your own health and well-being that suffer most.
Talking Yourself out of Anger
Most angry people are highly cynical, so it will take time before they accept the power of anti-danger messages. But with practice, these anti-anger messages will start to make more sense...
>Empathize. When people do something annoying, try to find a reasonable explanation for their behavior. Seeing a situation through another person's eyes can often short-circuit impatience or irritation before it erupts into rage.
>Use the thought-stopping technique. This strategy may sound so simple that it couldn't possibly work, but it has been used for years by cognitive therapists with great success.
If you've determined that a particular angry thought is unjustified or ineffective, the moment you become aware of it, say the word Stop! To yourself.
In a sense, thought-stopping is an extension of reasoning with yourself--but with an emotional punch that can make the difference when logic isn't convincing.
Distract yourself. Your mind can't focus on two things at once. When you feel angry, scan your environment for something else to occupy your mind.
Example: If you're annoyed by a slow supermarket checkout line, pick up a magazine and bury yourself in an interesting article.
If your environment fails to offer a suitable distraction, make up one. Vividly imagine yourself in a favorite setting...plan the menu for an upcoming dinner party...or daydream. (Ed. Note: Think on Yahweh's law and His plan of salvation, or something else constructive. Reading the trash around most checkout counters or daydreaming isn't very enlightening.)
>Meditate. This takes commitment and practice, but once you've mastered it, you can calm yourself on the spot. When practiced regularly, meditation soothes the nervous system, helping to counteract the damage created by the fight-or-flight response. Set aside 15 minutes a day to sit quietly. Relax the muscles of your body, and focus on your breathing. Each time you exhale, repeat a calming word or phrase such as peace. When random thoughts intrude upon your concentration, gently return your mind to this phrase.
Other Strategies
>Reduce artificial stimulants. Cut back on--or eliminate--nicotine, caffeine, sweets and other substances that stimulate the nervous and cardiovascular systems. Regular, mild exercise can also help to discharge arousal.
>Work on your relationships. Angry people tend to be on the lookout for mistreatment by others--and their distrust is sometimes enough to create that very behavior. Look for ways to develop a spirit of greater trust and cooperation. Suggestions:
Become a better listener. Instead of interrupting while someone else is speaking, look that person straight in the eye and reflect on what you're hearing. Avoid being judgmental--or jumping in with advice.
Find ways to care for others. Adopt a pet or regularly perform community service.
Confide in a friend or family member.
Laugh at yourself. When you feel angry, take your annoyances to a ridiculous extreme until you laugh at their absurdity. Laughter not only banishes negative emotions, it's relaxing. End article.
While these suggestions may not seem to have much to do with Scriptural teachings, I believe that at least some of them do. Let's examine them from that perspective.
1. Reason with yourself: Some people pass off a bad temper, or inability to control themselves when angry, by saying, "Well, I'm just high-tempered. I was born that way and can't change." Of course we can change. We must change. All true believers who have repented, have changed. Read 1 Cor. 6:9-11, where Paul recites a litany of sinners who will not inherit the Kingdom of Yahweh unless they repent, and then he adds, "and such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the Name of the Master Yahshua, and by the Spirit of our Elohim.
Yahshua quoted a man who "reasoned with himself," in Luke 16:1-4. He was designing a strategy to protect his future livelihood in case he was fired from his job, and was mentally exploring his options.
2. Empathize. This is simply putting yourself in another's shoes. See things from his perspective. The Biblical admonition to "do unto others as you would have them do unto you" fits here, as does simply loving your neighbor as yourself.
Paul said (Phil. 2:3-4), Let nothing be done through vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Note: This does NOT mean we are to condone sin, or compromise our standards to satisfy someone else. Rather we are to consider the ideas and feelings of others, even to the point of deferring to them as being "better than you."
3. Use the thought-stopping technique. One good way to stop a possibly wrong thought is to "bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Messiah," 1 Cor. 10:5, last part.
How? Phil. 4:7-8: And the peace of Yah, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Yahshua Messiah. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
4. Meditate. David said he meditated on Yahweh's law day and night. If you have His law written in your heart - if you know that wrongful wrath, rage and anger is wrong - then meditating on His words should instantly have a cooling effect on your emotions. But you cannot do this unless you have immersed yourself in His word through diligent study beforehand. Just as a soldier facing an armed and well-trained enemy needs at least equal training and weaponry to have a chance to subdue the enemy, we must prepare in advance through study, prayer and meditation.
5. Work on your relationships. Some of these suggestions overlap with others. If you are applying number 2 above (empathize), you will, of necessity, have to work on your relationships with others. Seek advice. Proverbs tells us there is safety in many counselors. Yahshua said that if a brother had "ought against us" to go to him quickly and make it right.
6. Find ways to care for others. Yahshua told us about this in Matthew 25. When we care for others, we care for Him. If we fail to care for others, we reject Him.
7. Laugh at yourself. Most of us take ourselves far too seriously. But Scripture tells us that "a merry heart doeth good like a medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones," Prov. 17:22.
Generally, an angry person is a prideful person, who is turned inward, thinking only of him or herself. That is not in the spirit of Messiah. The words of Scripture confirm this from Genesis to Revelation. And we must have the Spirit of Messiah to be saved. If we have not that Spirit, we are none of His (Rom. 8:9).
If you have problems with uncontrolled or offensive anger toward others, then maybe you ought to examine yourself, whether you be in the faith.
2 Cor. 13:5, Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Yahshua Messiah is in you, except ye be reprobates? (Reprobate means unapproved, rejected, worthless).
We must "let this mind be in you, which was also in Messiah Yahshua," Phil 2:5. How is this accomplished? Acts 2:38, "Repent and be baptized everyone of you in the Name of Yahshua Messiah and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."
Repent means to be sorry for our past sins, then turn from them. Stop sinning and start obeying. What is sin? What must we stop doing? I John 3:4, "Whosoever commits sin transgresses also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law."
What law? Yahweh's Commandments. Notice Revelation 14:12, "Here is the patience of the saints: here are they who keep the commandments of Yahweh, and the faith of Yahshua."
It takes both - obedience and faith - to be saved. And if we don't obey, He will not grant us His Spirit (Acts 5:32). If we are angrily striking out at those around us - if we do not have our negative emotions under control - then the Scriptures clearly show that His Spirit does not dwell in us, and we are fooling ourselves. FB

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