Processing Anger

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Until my twenties, I was almost never consciously aware of my anger.  Over the last few decades, learning to identify and process my anger — especially towards God and people I love — has been a critical skill in enabling to break through spiritual strongholds and grow in maturity.

I still (and always will) have further to go, but at least I’ve started developing healthier habits for dealing with my anger.  I am writing this down to remind myself, and hopefully help others who may have similar struggles.

The Anger Checklist

  1. Recognize being angry
    1. For me, the tip-off is that I am obsessing over something another person did.
    2. I may not even realize I am upset, but I am learning to notice  when I am focusing on the negatives, rather than what is “pure, lovely, and admirable.”
  2. Thank God for the gift of that anger
    1. Anger helps me recognize unhealthy behavior in others
    2. Anger reminds me of the virtues and principles I highly value
    3. Strong anger is a sign where I myself lack grace and security in Christ
    4. Anger provides energy I can turn into constructive action
  3. Confess my unforgiveness
    1. Getting angry is not a sin; we have a right to be angry at perceived injustice
    2. Staying angry is a sin; we have a responsibility to forgive as God forgives us
  4. Receive God’s grace
    1. In Christ, I no longer have the right to self-righteously judge the sins of others
    2. I am most angry at others where I am least secure in God’s love and protection
    3. In order to give them grace to change, I first need God to change me
  5. Speak God’s grace
    1. Find the place where they need the same grace you need
    2. See them as God sees you, as a wounded person in need of comfort
    3. Take spiritual authority to free them from negative patterns
  6. Pray for an opportunity to reconcile within 24 hours
    1. Confess my anger and struggle to forgive
    2. Ask forgiveness for any ways I withdrew or acted out
    3. Share the grace I received from God
    4. Explain my perception of what happened
    5. Listen
    6. Forgive
    7. Pray for us both to grow in God’s grace
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