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Let's compare the truth about anger versus what I heard and learned growing up.
1. Anger is a normal God-given emotion. Truth!
My childhood had shown me that often the adults in my life couldn't see their anger or the justified it; yet they always saw my anger and told me it wasn't appropriate or justified.
2. Anger is a natural and normal response to many situations. Truth!
As I grew up, I had heard, "You shouldn't feel that way." "What is the matter with you?" "You better change your attitude and get that look off of your face."
3. Anger is typically fueled or energized by hurt, frustration or fear. Truth!
I had heard, "You are alright." "Calm down and get over it." "You shouldn't be afraid."
4. Anger is often experienced during the forgiveness process. Truth!
This is what I heard growing up. "You have to forgive and forget." "Let me remind you of what you have done."
5. Anger does not automatically go away with time. Truth!
I had heard, "Put the past in the past." "You ought to be grateful and happy."
6. Anger builds unless it is processed to closure. Truth!
I had heard, "What is wrong with you?" "Why do you act like that when something happens?" "You can't get angry about everything that doesn't go your way."
7. Anger can include a false sense of control and power. Truth!
I had heard, "You are being selfish." "You are being stubborn." Later I learned when we feel overwhelmed we instinctively try to move away from powerlessness.
8. Anger is often misunderstood. Truth!
I had heard, "Tell me why you are upset." My reply was, "I don't know." "Yes you do. Now tell me why you are mad."
9. Anger is often mislabeled. Truth!
I had heard, "You're just having a pity party and feeling sorry for yourself. "Oh, he is just being quiet today."
10. Anger, if chronic, is hazardous to our health. Truth!
I had heard, "I don't know why your stomach (or head) hurts and you stay sick all the time."
11. Anger leads to emotional exhaustion and depression. Truth!
I had heard, "Why are you so tired all the time?" "Why do you look sad. You ought to be happy and have lots of energy."
12. Anger typically begins as resentment. Truth!
I had heard. "Why do you have a chip on your shoulder all the time. There is nothing to be upset over."
13. Anger can become rage. Truth!
I had heard, "Why do you overreact to everything? You're just not right (normal) when you get mad."
14. Anger requires God's help to restore peace, security and proper perspective. Truth!
I had heard, "Other people deal with things. You can too."
Oh, how I wish I had asked God for help before I was 32 years old! When I asked God for help, He began to teach me how to deal with life on His terms, using His resources. He began to change me into a safe person.
Learning and applying Biblical truth about emotions, especially anger management skills.
Taking ownership of my past and present condition rather than living in denial.
Recognizing the options God was offering for the future.
Stopping my attempts to figure out and fix everything in my own power.
Forgiving myself and others.
Grieving what was lost in a Godly manner.
Yielding to God's timing.
Embracing God's desire and ability to heal.
Finding my place in God's Kingdom and serving Him.
Learning to live by faith.
Through this process God began to put the Fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control) and His perspective into my life.