If you’ve ever witnessed someone having an angry outburst, your reaction might have been, “Where’d that come from!” The unexpected violence of the person’s actions caught you off guard and stunned you.
You may have also watched someone’s anger build slowly but surely to a dark, dangerous crescendo.
Anger can manifest itself slowly, as dark ominous clouds moving over a peaceful landscape. Anger can also burst and explode on the scene as a whirlwind of emotions, just like a tornado springing up from nowhere.
Looking Beyond the Dark Clouds
The way to discover the true source of the anger is to look beyond the outward phenomenon as a meteorologist would predict weather. Anger is a sign of something deeper. It’s a secondary emotion, usually a reaction to information and experiences that are disliked.
Anger is usually the sign of a deeper disturbance.
Meteorologists use science to understand and forecast the weather. While we all think we can outsmart weather forecasters by looking outside our windows, these experts look at atmospheric phenomena and trends to discover what will occur in the coming days, and how it may affect our daily lives.
Having an Anger Meteorologist
Wouldn’t it be great to have an anger meteorologist who could recognize emotional phenomena and trends, and predict when outbursts will occur? How useful it would be if psychologists could stand before a blue screen, like those used on television behind weatherpersons, to predict when, why, and how a family member of yours would have an angry outburst?
Anger doesn’t solve problems, but unlike other emotions, it doesn’t drain the angry person. It’s a deceptive emotion with adverse physical effects. It’s important for those prone to anger to express their displeasure in a constructive way, and to resolve underlying issues.
Holding grudges and unforgiveness are personal atmospheric phenomena that can burst onto the radar screen with negative consequences.
The Ultimate Source of Peace and Healing
Even before anger erupts, it’s important to turn to the ultimate source of peace and healing, the Lord. Prayer can be a great source of peace.
If you are holding grudges, sheltering unforgiveness, or prone to angry outbursts, go before the Lord, expecting him to help you with the underlying causes of your anger, and give you strength to control it.
Listen to God's Words
Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil. (Psalm 37-8)
In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold…Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. (Ephesians 4:26-27,31)
My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. (James 1:19-20)
Also read: Proverbs 15:1, Proverbs 17-27, Colossians 3:8
In the Words of Others
“Anybody can become angry---that is easy, but to be angry with the right degree and the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way---that is not within everybody’s power is not easy.” Aristotle
“A man can’t eat anger for breakfast and sleep with it at night and not suffer damage to his soul.” Garrison Keillor
Think About It
Recall a time when you were angry. Identify other emotions that could have been the cause (i.e. fear, hurt, sadness).
Did your anger solve anything? What reactions did it cause in those around you? How did your anger affect you physically?
Recall an instance when someone expressed anger to you. How did you react? What emotions brought on that person’s “storm?”
If you’re prone to angry outbursts, have you asked God for his help in dealing with this emotion and its underlying causes? If not, plan to do so.