How to Handle Your Emotions (Counseling Through the Bible Series) (5 page)

BOOK: How to Handle Your Emotions (Counseling Through the Bible Series)
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Unresolved anger is known to produce in many people some of the following physical, emotional, and spiritual symptoms:
14

Physical Symptoms


high blood pressure


headaches


heart disease


blurred vision


stomach disorders


insomnia


intestinal disorders


compulsive eating

Emotional Symptoms

 


anxiety


fear


bitterness


insecurity


compulsions


phobias


depression


hatred

Spiritual Symptoms


Loss of
perspective

Allowing your emotions to distort your thinking


Loss of
vision

Losing a sense of purpose for your life


Loss of
sensitivity

Failing to hear the Spirit of God speaking to your heart


Loss of
energy

Lacking strength for your service to God and others


Loss of
freedom

Becoming a prisoner of your circumstances


Loss of
confidence

Feeling insecure about your response to difficulties


Loss of
faith

Failing to trust that God is working in your life


Loss of
identity

Becoming like the person toward whom you are bitter

Unresolved anger produces bitterness. And the Bible links bitterness with being in bondage to sin.

“I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin”

(A
CTS
8:23).

D. Do You Have Hidden Anger?

Many people live life unaware they have hidden anger—suppressed anger that only occasionally surfaces. While this hidden anger is usually rooted in past childhood hurts, the underlying effects are always ready to surface. For example, when someone says or does something wrong, the one with suppressed anger often overreacts. When someone makes an
innocent mistake, the magnitude of anger exhibited is out of proportion to the mistake.

If you have hidden anger, you can find yourself at one extreme or another—from feeling hopeless to feeling hostile—and yet be totally unaware of why you are experiencing these feelings. The Bible makes it clear that some of our motives and emotions are hidden from our own view.

“Who can discern his errors? Forgive my hidden faults”

(P
SALM
19:12).

Clues to Finding Hidden Anger


Do you become irritable over trifles?


Do you smile on the outside while you hurt on the inside?

 


Do you find your identity and worth in excessive work?


Do you ever deny being impatient?

 


Do you have to have the last word?


Do those close to you say you blame others?

 


Do you feel emotionally flat?


Do you find yourself quickly fatigued?

 


Do you have a loss of interest in life?


Do you become easily frustrated?

As the Lord reveals any hidden anger that has taken root in your heart, take action to resolve it because

“man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires”

(J
AMES
1:20).

III. C
AUSES OF
A
NGER

Imagine leading thousands of people through the desert. They look to you for both their physical and spiritual needs. While setting up camp at the base of a mountain, God calls you to climb up to meet with Him alone because He plans to give you the Ten Commandments.

As you meet with God, unbeknownst to you, the people whom God has asked you to lead turn their hearts away from Him, melt their gold, mold a golden calf, and then begin their idol worship. God then interrupts your meeting to inform you that your people have turned against Him. Flushed with anger and fear, you rush down the mountain to intervene.

Exodus 32:19 describes the scene: “When Moses approached the camp and saw the calf and the dancing, his anger burned and he threw the tablets out of his hands, breaking them to pieces at the foot of the mountain.”

Moses reacted because he was full of
fear.
He was afraid that God’s righteous anger against his disobedient people would result in their destruction. He knew they needed to

“worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our ‘God is a consuming fire’”

(H
EBREWS
12:28-29).

A. What Are the Four Sources of Anger?

Throughout the world, spontaneous fires can be started and fueled by one of four naturally occuring sources: seeping oil, seeping gas, molten lava, or coal bed methane (a flammable gas that can cause mining explosions). In a similar way, anger is typically started and fueled by one of four sources: hurt, injustice, fear, or frustration.

Probing into buried feelings from your past can be painful. Therefore, it can seem easier to stay angry than to uncover the cause, let go of your “rights,” and grow in maturity.
15
Yet the Bible urges us to persevere:

“Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything”

(J
AMES
1:4).

1.
Hurt—Your Heart Is Wounded
16

Everyone has a God-given inner need for unconditional love.
17
When you experience rejection or emotional pain of any kind, anger can become a protective wall that keeps people, pain, and hurt away.

B
IBLICAL
E
XAMPLE
: 12 S
ONS OF
J
ACOB

Joseph was the undisputed favorite of the 12 sons of Jacob. Feeling hurt and rejected by their father, the older sons became angry and vindictive toward their younger brother.

“Israel [Jacob] loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age; and he made a richly ornamented robe for him. When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him”

(G
ENESIS
37:3-4).

2.
Injustice—Your Right Is Violated
18

Everyone has an inner moral code that produces a sense of right and wrong, fair and unfair, just and unjust. When you perceive that an
injustice
has occurred against you or others (especially those whom you love), you may feel angry. If you hold on to the offense, the unresolved anger can begin to make a home in your heart.

B
IBLICAL
E
XAMPLE
: K
ING
S
AUL

King Saul’s
unjust
treatment of David evoked Jonathan’s anger. When Jonathan, Saul’s son, heard his father pronounce a death sentence on his dear friend David, he asked,

“‘Why should he be put to death? What has he done?’ Jonathan asked his father. But Saul hurled his spear at him to kill him [Jonathan]. Then Jonathan knew that his father intended to kill David. Jonathan got up from the table in fierce anger”

(1 S
AMUEL
20:32-34).

3.
Fear—Your Future Is Threatened
19

Everyone is created with a God-given inner need for
security.
20
When you begin to worry, feel threatened, or get angry because of a change in circumstances, you may be responding to
fear.
A fearful heart reveals a lack of trust in God’s perfect plan for your life.

B
IBLICAL
E
XAMPLE
: K
ING
S
AUL

Saul became angry because of David’s many successes on the battlefield. He felt threatened by David’s popularity and feared he would lose his kingdom (read 1 Samuel 18:5-15,28-29).

“Saul was very angry…‘They have credited David with tens of thousands,’ he thought, ‘but me with
only thousands.’…Saul was afraid of David, because the L
ORD
was with David but had left Saul”

(1 S
AMUEL
18:8,12).

4.
Frustration—Your Performance Is Not Accepted
21

Everyone has a God-given inner need for significance.
22
When your efforts are thwarted or do not meet your own personal expectations, your sense of significance can be threatened.
Frustration
over unmet expectations—your own or others’—is a major source of anger.

B
IBLICAL
E
XAMPLE
: C
AIN

BOOK: How to Handle Your Emotions (Counseling Through the Bible Series)
11.06Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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