A research study at The University of North Carolina Business School determined that incivility, a form of anger, can impact company profits due to lost productivity and employee turnover. Their findings indicated that people who experience rudeness at work often quit their jobs, lose work time, and deliberately decrease their work effort. Further research suggests that anger and incivility are not exclusive to the workplace, but permeate society as well, and that they have worsened in the past decade.
In the Scriptures, there are at least 275 references to anger. We are warned that anger leads to evil doing (Psalm 37:8), and cautioned about associating with angry people (Proverbs 22:24). We are told that the responsibility for managing anger God’s way lies with the person who feels the anger, not with anyone else (Ephesians 4:26, 31). It takes practice to learn how to manage anger God’s way. Consider these strategies.
Remember that anger is an emotional defense mechanism. Admit that you’re angry and take responsibility for the emotion. Don’t blame another person for your response. YOU are the only one who can cause YOU to be angry (Ephesians 4:26).
Watch What You Say and How You Say It
Watch the words, tone and inflexion you use when discussing a situation. Avoid saying things you know will elicit an angry response. Refuse to engage in name-calling and put-downs (Ephesians 4:31). Speak assertively to the person with whom you are angry. If this is likely to cause your anger to spiral out of control, find a neutral person whom you trust to facilitate the discussion.
Get the Facts
Determine why you are angry and analyze your emotional response and feelings. Get to the root cause of any resentment and identify the concern, issue or problem that needs to be solved (Ecclesiastes 7:9).
Help Others Manage Their Anger
When someone gets angry with you model Godly behavior by continuing to act calm, relaxed and focused. Usually, within a few moments, the angry person will begin to settle down and start to discuss things in a rational manner (Proverbs 15:1). However, if the person is out of control, take time out to clear the air. Make plans to resume discussion at a time when the other person has had a chance to calm down.
Be Angry, but Don’t Sin
God created all our emotions including anger. It is possible to exhibit anger and to choose not to sin as a result of that anger. We are to take our example from Jesus Christ, Who displayed righteous indignation at the money lenders in the temple, but did not sin (John 2:13-17).
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In our church’s marriage class, we are studying the book “From Anger to Intimacy: How Forgiveness Can Transform Your Marriage.” Like this helpful column, it uses Biblical lessons as an antidote to the toxin of uncontrolled anger.