Our Life on Christ

Sunday, November 27, 2011

7 Steps to Cure Anger, Bitterness, and Resentment

In an attempt to better understand my husband, I read a book by Tim LaHaye titled Understanding the Male Temperament: What Women Want to Know about Men But Don't Know How to Ask

I can’t say that I see Wil as less of a strange being but I can now say that I (somewhat) understand why he is so “strange” and I know that he is not alone—I think ALL men are a bit odd (I’m just kidding guys, I do not want to crush any egos here!). In the book, I found great wisdom regarding not only understanding men but understanding people, in general.

Depending on your temperament, many situations can spark feelings of anger, bitterness, and resentment. In our relationships as wives, husbands, mothers, fathers, girlfriends, or friends, we must remember that anger and fear stifle communication. To have healthy, productive relationships, we must learn to let negativity go.

Most people use the fact that they are "under pressure" as justification to their anger issues. Well, pressure doesn't make your spirit--it reveals it. What a man or woman is under pressure, it what that person is. Matthew 7:20 says, "Thus by their fruit you will recognize them."

Anger is not a measure of strength (or masculinity, for the men reading this). Galatians 5:22-23 states, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law."

Angry mothers and fathers produce angry children. Anger is a sin and God condemns it. Bitterness, resentment, and indignation are subtle forms of anger and are, therefore, sins also.

How to cure anger, bitterness, resentment:

1. Face your anger as a sin. Don't justify it, explain it, or blame someone else. No more saying, “Well, you made me…(fill in with said angry action).”

2. Confess every angry thought/deed as soon as it occurs. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness,” according to 1 John 1:9.

3. Ask God to take away the angry habit. In 1 John 5:14-15 it says, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.”

4. Forgive the person who has caused you anger. Ephesians 4:32 teaches us to be “kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

5. Formally give thanks for anything that "bothers" you. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 says, "...pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." God will use these situations to bring Him glory. Do not ask me how but, He can make anything be used for good.

6. Think only good, wholesome, and positive thoughts. Philipians 4:8 says, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Ephesians 4:29-32 says this, "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you."

7. Repeat the above steps every time you are angry.

These things are going to be difficult to do. These steps require that we put our pride away, put on our “big girl/big boy underpants,” as my friend Tonya would say, and that we do some things that may not make complete sense to us (who gives thanks for “bad” things?). Even if you only consistently do one of the steps in the above routine, I believe that you will build a closer relationship with God. Either that or you will just get angry that the process isn’t working for you!

Do you have any things that you help you to work through situations that cause you to get angry?

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