“When angry count to ten before you speak. If very angry, count to one hundred.”
As we pray and count, we need to think about the consequences of our anger. It is vital that we understand what will happen if we lose control. If we lose control of our anger, we could do something we will regret. In some cases, we will do something stupid that will get us in trouble. When angry, we don’t usually do thing we mean to do, so this would make our actions out of control.
In some cases, we can become violent and hurt someone. This person we hurt could be someone we care about. Anger is a habit that steals our joy and peace. When I am angry, I feel miserable and desperate to get relief from the anger. Unfortunately, some of us don’t use constructive ways to express our anger. Many times we express our anger through yelling, hitting, throwing objects, and slamming doors. When we behave this way, the consequences can be devastating. Many individuals lose friendships, relationships with spouses and children, or they spend time in jail. There is an experiential amount of inmates that are angry, and, due to this anger, will spend the majority of their life in jail.
Here is a scenario of how to consider the consequences before we act:
A friend came over to help Rachel decorate for a dinner party. For months, she had carefully planned and shopped for everything she needed. As Rachel excitedly showed her friend everything she had bought, her friend looked contemplative and then began to criticize her work. She actually had the nerve to call Rachel uncreative. As Rachel listened to her toxic comments, she became really hurt and angry.
How dare she come into Rachel’s house and make such comments. At this point, Rachel had to pray and start counting before you exploded. As she was praying and counting, she visualized the consequences of screaming at her. Although she is rude right now, in the past, she has been a really good friend. This is not a friendship she wanted to lose. Plus, she would feel horrible inside if she hurt her friend.
Next, she let her friend get to a stopping point and told her that she felt hurt by her words. She did this in a calm voice. She explained that she had worked really hard on preparing for this party. Rachel though it would be wise to ask her friend how she would have done the decorations differently. Even more than getting her advice, Rachel was showing her that she forgive her. When Rachel forgave her friend and truly let go of the hurt, she freed up space for joy and peace. Any grudge would only clutter her heart and mind.
“When anger arises, consider the consequences.”
These are only three ways to help control anger. There are many more ways to help us with anger management. This week my challenge is to find where the anger is stemming from and forgive the situation or person once and for all. As we face past or present anger, we need to learn to pray, count, and think of the consequences before we act on our anger. If we learn to control our anger, we will have better relationships and more peace in our lives. Remember, it is our job to become more like Christ. He is slow to anger with us, so we need to learn how to control our anger when dealing with others.
The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and plenteous in mercy and loving-kindness.
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