Anger: Taming a Powerful Emotion

AngerChapmanAnger: Taming a Powerful Emotion( Moody Publishers, 2015)

Anger: Taming a Powerful Emotion by Dr. Gary Chapman is a revised edition of The Other Side of Love, originally published in 1999.  To effectively and positively process anger, we must understand both the origin and purpose of anger.  Bringing anger under the lordship of Jesus helps heal our relationships. It also accomplishes God’s good purposes.

We think of anger as an emotion.  In reality, Dr. Chapman states, anger is “a cluster of emotions involving the body, the mind, and the will.”  Furthermore, anger derives from two aspects of God’s nature- His holiness and His love.  Consequently, postulates the following foundational thesis for Anger:

“I believe that human anger is designed by God to motivate us to take constructive action in the face of wrongdoing or when facing injustice.”

Unfortunately, in the heat of anger we forget about setting things right.  As a result, we make things worse.  In addition, one of Satan’s most powerful strategies serves to convince us that all of our anger is of equal value.  Thus, we conclude that we always have the right to feel angry.  To effectively process our anger, we need to differentiate between definitive (valid) and distorted (not valid) anger.  God only experiences definitive anger, because actual wrongdoing initiates valid anger.  In contrast, any number of things having nothing to do with moral transgression trigger distorted anger.

Hence, the first step in processing distorted anger involves sharing information.  Sharing information focuses on the event provoking one’s feelings rather than the person.  If you still can’t release your anger and accept what the other person has done, you need to negotiate understanding.  Negotiating understanding negates the destructive, sinful effects of implosive and explosive expressions of anger.

With the aid of the Holy Spirit, Christians stand ready to forgive, willing and desirous of forgiving as well as extending forgiveness.  Yet, in the face of tragedy, Christians often express anger toward God.  Like Cain, you can yield to your sinful impulses- or, like Elijah, fully share that anger with God and listen to His quiet whisper.  Forgiveness releases you from the bondage of past failures.  Forgiveness frees you to make the most of your future.  After all, unconditional love is what God does for us every day.

About the author

Dave Henning

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