We have all been around people or know people with a negative outlook on life. It may be the co-worker who is always complaining about something on the job or the friend who can make even good news seem bad or the spouse who goes on a tirade at the slightest provocation. No one likes to be around those people and we certainly don’t want to become one of those people.
Do you realize that often times a negative outlook on life comes from unresolved anger, either at people we feel have wronged us somehow or at our current circumstances?
That’s why we want to deal with one of the root causes of a bad attitude–ANGER.
What is anger?
Although anger is a natural emotion that helps us prepare to protect ourselves and to respond to emergencies, we should not be angry all the time. Being in a chronic state of anger is a telltale sign something is wrong. You have a problem with chronic anger if you frequently display the following symptoms:
- Constant hurrying
- Speaking in a harsh, abrupt manner
- Egotistical and self-centered behavior
- Inability to relax readily
- High blood pressure
- Inability to play or enjoy vacations
- Verbal aggressiveness
- Free-floating hostility
Now if you exhibit many of these symptoms, don’t panic. God is willing and able to help us deal with and manage our negative emotions effectively. But first, let’s identify the primary causes of anger and then we will discuss how to eliminate them through the power of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God.
What causes anger?
1. Frustration– You may get angry if you fail to reach a goal or feel as if things are out of your control.
2. Stress– Stress related to work, family, health and money problems might make you feel anxious and irritable.
3. Fear– Anger is a natural response to threats of violence, or to physical or verbal abuse.
4. Annoyance– You may react in anger to minor irritations and daily hassles.
5. Disappointment– Anger often results when expectations and desires aren’t met.
6. Resentment– You may feel angry when you’ve been hurt, rejected or offended.
Source: Community Resilience Project.
Unfortunately, we cannot waive a magic wand and make all the causes of our anger disappear. We will always have to deal with people and the stresses of daily life, so we must learn to respond to situations with the appropriate force and not overreact. Your anger may be justified, but your response may not be.
For example, Moses, who is one of the mightiest figures in the Bible, had a problem with anger. He loved God and dedicated his life to serving God, but at times let his anger get the best of him. Let’s look at one instance when Moses handled his anger appropriately.
In Numbers 11:6-18 Moses is in the process of leading the Israelites through the wilderness. Because they were in a desert land without food, God supernaturally provided them with “manna” everyday. They took the manna, a seed-like substance similar to coriander seeds, and ground it into flour and then made cakes with it. The only problem was the people got tired of eating the same thing everyday. So, they got angry and complained…
“But nothing tastes good out here; all we get is manna, manna, manna. Moses heard the whining, all those families whining in front of their tents.GOD’s anger blazed up. Moses saw that things were in a bad way. Moses said to GOD, “Why are you treating me this way? What did I ever do to you to deserve this? Did I conceive them? Was I their mother? So why dump the responsibility of this people on me? Why tell me to carry them around like a nursing mother, carry them all the way to the land you promised to their ancestors? Where am I supposed to get meat for all these people who are whining to me, “Give us meat; we want meat.’ I can’t do this by myself–it’s too much, all these people. If this is how you intend to treat me, do me a favor and kill me. I’ve seen enough; I’ve had enough. Let me out of here.” (The Message Bible)
Okay, it looks like Moses was having a rough day, and justifiably so. Who wants to listen to a bunch of whining and complaining? Moses handled his frustration with the people correctly. He went to God (with his negative emotions) before he confronted the people. In other words, Moses admitted his anger to God. He didn’t pretend that the situation didn’t bother him. God understood Moses’ anger because the complaining people made God angry too. Check this out…
GOD said to Moses, “Gather together seventy men from among the leaders of Israel, men whom you know to be respected and responsible. Take them to the Tent of Meeting. I’ll meet you there. I’ll come down and speak with you. I’ll take some of the Spirit that is on you and place it on them; they’ll then be able to take some of the load of this people–you won’t have to carry the whole thing alone.
“Tell the people, consecrate yourselves. Get ready for tomorrow when you’re going to eat meat. You’ve been whining to GOD, “We want meat; give us meat. We had a better life in Egypt.’ GOD has heard your whining and he’s going to give you meat. You’re going to eat meat. (The Message Bible)
Notice, that God gave Moses a solution to the problem–delegation. Plus, God told Moses he would give the complainers exactly what they wanted. It’s not always a good thing when God gives us what we want. Read on to see how God disciplined His children for excessive complaining…
And it’s not just for a day that you’ll eat meat, and not two days, or five or ten or twenty, but for a whole month. You’re going to eat meat until it’s coming out your nostrils.You’re going to be so sick of meat that you’ll throw up at the mere mention of it. And here’s why: Because you have rejected GOD who is right here among you, whining to his face, “Oh, why did we ever have to leave Egypt?'” (Numbers 11:19-20, The Message)
Looks like God handled the situation on Moses’ behalf and put the children of Israel on punishment for a month for complaining. (I’m sure all of you parents can relate.) The key is: God is able to resolve situations on our behalf if we give Him the opportunity. We don’t have to get angry or get even.
Dear friends, never avenge yourselves. Leave that to God. For it is written, “I will take vengeance; I will repay those who deserve it,” says the Lord. (Romans 12:19, New Living Translation)
Anger Eliminator #1: Go to God first with your frustrations.
Congratulations friend! You are on your way to an anger free attitude. Now, let’s seal it with a prayer of faith.
I admit that I get angry at life and with the people you have called me to love. I repent right now and ask for your forgiveness. I know that You love me and will help me deal with any situation or person if I just ask. According to Matthew 21:22 your Word says “And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.” Lord right now I ask you to help me deal with anger effectively so I can treat people right and enjoy life to the fullest. I believe you heard my prayer and will answer me. I thank you because you have already started the transformation process in my life and I give you the praise and glory for the outcome in Jesus’ name, Amen.