How to Put out the Fire of Anger

stay_coolContinued from here.

As I pointed out in my last blog entry, anger is a choice. So, whenever you feel angry, don’t let yourself off the hook by assuming that you have no control over your anger. You do. You chose anger, and you can also “unchoose it.” But how?

Here are the steps that God showed me after praying for guidance about how to “unchoose” anger. Each step is a question for you to consider:

  1. What do you want that you are not getting?
  2. Why do you want it?
  3. What does God’s Word tell you to do in this situation?
  4. What should you do next?

Let me give you an example. I was traveling with a group and was erroneously told that during our 30-minute lunch break, I could cross a bridge to purchase food and return in time to move on to the next destination. As it turned out, the tour guide was provided with incorrect information, which she passed along to me. It took almost a full 15 minutes to cross the bridge, and there were no eating establishments on the other side. So, I wound up using my entire lunch break to cross over a bridge twice without being able to eat lunch.

Let’s apply the four steps to the situation:

  1. What do you want that you are not getting? Lunch.
  2. Why do you want it? I’m hungry.
  3. What does God’s Word tell you to do in this situation? Remain content.
  4. What should you do next? Extend grace. The tour guide did not intentionally lead me in the wrong direction, and expressing anger toward her is not going to get me what I want (food). I can choose to be gracious, even when I am hungry.

The tour guide was apologetic and appeared to be ready for a “tongue lashing,” but I extended grace. I ate a protein bar for lunch instead, enjoyed the next leg of the tour, and had a hearty appetite for dinner. I did not have to “get my own way” to have a pleasant afternoon.

Put another way, I chose not to exchange my joy for anger. If I had chosen to become angry, I still would have missed lunch, but I would have also lost my joy. By choosing grace over anger, I was able to continue experiencing joy, even as I missed lunch.

Continued here.

[Graphic: Cartoon of Grace surfing on a popsicle under the words, “Stay cool.” Courtesy Bitmoji.]