When Anger Flares

Confession: I like to get really angry and burst out in harsh words and accusations. There. I said it. Not the kind of thing a small group leader at church is expected to say, but it’s real. It may sound peculiar to you, so let me explain.

When a person (me) (or you) is emotional, discouraged, or worried, those emotions tend to wrap around us like vines, tying us up in knots and making us feel weak and helpless. We don’t really like feeling weak. Anger on the other hand feels powerful. We feel dominant, in control, and like we are actually dong something that will cause a reaction and maybe make an impact in our trying situation. Instead of wallowing in our fear and doubts with nothing happening, we humans are prone to jump anger. It makes us feel better… or at least like we are in control.

Lashing out in anger also gives us a way to release our pent up frustrations similar to the way a safety valve on a large piece of industrial equipment vents off built up steam pressure to preserve the machinery. And while that may feel good in the moment to us, the people receiving our fury have feelings that are negatively affected. Machinery has the advantage here, that piece of equipment feeling the steam vented off has no feelings.

When we feel trapped in our negative emotions it seems our only two choices are either to wallow in our desperate feelings or to blow up and wound others with our angry words. We often choose self-preservation over benevolent actions in these situations.

But there is a third option. We can turn to the Father and pour out our hearts to Him, digging into His word for comfort and direction and a solution. We can fall to our knees and pray, intimately sharing with Him the depth of our despair (which of course He already knows, but it is good for us to express). We can grasp the handholds of scripture that keep us from slipping into either worry or anger, and hold onto those passages as lifelines to get us through the whiteout we seem lost in. Praying those scriptures, repeating them to ourselves minute by minute during our struggle will bring sanity and calm and eventually hope.

So if you find yourself in the blazing heat of an emotional conflagration, if anger sizzles just beneath the surface and you fear it will flare into a wildfire in a heartbeat, step away. God outside, to your room, your office, or your car. Cry out to God. Pour out your anger, fear and the depths of how your feel misunderstood, unloved, and so alone. Grab hold of a scripture from your Bible of your phone – the Word is never out of our reach these days. Hang onto these lifelines of prayer and the Word. The father will get you through. You don’t have to choose anger.

“For as churning cream produces butter, and as twisting the nose produces blood, so stirring up anger produces strife.” Proverbs 30:33

“Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools.” Ecclesiastes 7:9

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