Message by Rev. Erny McDonough
Fisherman’s Chapel, Port O’Connor, Texas
I Cor. 13:5 & 6 “[Love] … is not easily angered. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with truth.”
Intro: A good subtitle of today’s message could be Taming Our Temper. If our outbursts, rages, or bulling are negatively affecting relationships with family, friends, co-workers, and even complete strangers, it is time to change the way we express our anger. We can take steps, with the Lord’s help, to improve our anger management.
In week one of this series, we listed some of the physical and psychological problems brought about by inappropriate anger.
Week two, we examined the fight-or-flight responses and saw both are damaging to God’s special creation.
The third week, we saw that God’s got mad in the Old Testament and used four (4) examples to show how His responses were always from a loving heart.
Week four, we noticed that Jesus and the Holy Spirit are recorded in the New Testament as getting angry and used three (3) examples from Jesus’ life and one from the Acts of the Holy Spirit to demonstrate their love in their actions.
In the fifth week, we mentioned three (3) areas where we as Christians need to get angry and how we could respond to the injustices in our world.
Last week, we finally got to Anger Management and learned to have a balanced approach to anger.
Today, with the Lord’s help, we are going to see seven (7) management tips to help get our anger under proper control.
I. Take a “Time Out!”
Most of us use a time out with our little children. In fact, we find it occasionally necessary to use, too, on Friday Nights with our youth. Although it may seem cliché, counting to ten (10) before reacting, or leaving the situation altogether, really can defuse our anger.
II. Do Something Physically Challenging!
Physical activity can provide an outlet for our emotions, especially if we are about to erupt. Physical exercise causes endorphins to be secreted by the brain and provides us a “feel good.” Go for a fast walk or a good run. Go swimming, lift weights, or put some boxing gloves on and beat a “bag.” Some have told me the value of golfing in these situations. Whatever you do, allow your body to be challenged by something other than your emotions.
III. Find Ways To Calm Down!
I encourage people to take deep breathes and “breathe in the breathe of God!” God breathed into our nostrils the breathe of life, so breathe in some more of God’s life! You can also read a good Bible passage or listen to Gospel music or write a love letter to someone you truly care about.
IV. Once Calm, Express Your Anger As Soon As Possible!
Do not allow yourself to “stew” the problem. If you can not express your anger in a controlled manner to the person who angered you, try talking to a family member, friend, counselor, or another trusted person. Scripture teaches that the sun must not go down on our anger – we must deal with it!
V. Think Carefully Before You Speak!
How often have we seen one expressing their anger and it leads to words spoken that everyone will regret for a long, long time! Words spoken can never totally be removed! Write a script and rehearse it so that you can stick to the issues before you speak.
VI. Use “I” Statements!
When describing the problem to avoid criticizing or placing blame, remember to use “I” statements. Example: “I am upset you did not help with the housework this evening,” instead of “You should have helped with the housework, you lazy bum!” To do otherwise, you will only escalate tensions instead of resolving issues.
VII. Use Humor, But Not Sarcasm!
Imagine yourself or the other person in a silly situation. For instance, imagine you are in a diaper, with a pacifier in your mouth, throwing a temper tantrum. See yourself lying on the floor, kicking and screaming. Notice something funny in the situation or even in the environment as a whole. Laughter is a good medicine.
Conclusion: These are very elementary solutions to helping us gain the upper hand in dealing with our anger. With the Lord’s help, we will conclude this series in two more Sundays. I hope these have been helpful to you or to someone you truly care about. Get these notes, or wait until they appear on our web site, and share them with others. I know that the Lord wants us to be emotionally healthy so we can do His work better! Let us allow the Lord to do His work in our lives, submitting to His Master plan!