Anger/Frustration

What causes it
Perfectionist attitude

Frustration can be dealt with by developing a more flexible personality. It pays to discipline ourselves to be adaptable to changing situations.

Unrealistic expectations

Some Christians think that if they are moving in God’s will, then they should not be encountering any obstacles. Therefore when obstacles come, they feel frustrated.

The Bible tells us that even Jesus met with many obstacles in His ministry.

Hurt

It is so natural to feel anger when someone has hurt us – either physically or emotionally. Yet Jesus gave us such a remarkable example in this area. He was hurt physically while on the cross but He was not angry with His tormentors. He was hurt emotionally when His disciple Peter denied Him three times. Yet He did not display anger. Jesus was never angry at injuries and insults directed towards Himself. He was only angry when His Father’s rights were violated.

(1 Pet 2:23 NIV)  When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.

Manipulative anger

Anger can be a conditioned response. When we are young, if whenever we display anger we get what we want, we will be tempted to use this effective “method” whenever we want to manipulate someone to do things our way.

Learned anger

Anger can also be a learned response. If we occasionally watch movies or associate with people who exhibit anger, that anger will take root in our character.

(Prov 22:24-25 NIV)  Do not make friends with a hot-tempered man, do not associate with one easily angered, {25} or you may learn his ways and get yourself ensnared.

Methods of dealing with anger
Wrong methods
Repression

In our desire to imitate Jesus, who was not angry for personal reasons, we may deny that we are angry when people hurt us, even when we really are.

Anger does not go away simply because we deny it. Buried anger can lead to high blood pressure, headaches, gastric ulcers, even mental depression.

Denying anger will not solve it because denial of a problem will not solve any problem. We need to come to God and admit that we are angry and ask God to help us to deal with this anger and to make us more like Jesus not to be angry for personal insults.

Suppression

Repression, as discussed above, is the unconscious denial of our anger. We deceive people and ourselves that we are not angry. Suppression is simply deceiving others that we are not angry when we know full well we are.

Though less serious, it can also lead to many physical problems that are associated with repression.

Substitute expression

A husband may come back from work, angry with his boss but not able to show it, leashes out at his wife in anger for nothing she has done.

We are told that to displace anger, it is okay to kick the furniture or even the cat.

This sort of alternative expression is harmful. If it does not break your furniture, it breaks hearts and causes other people to suffer on your behalf.

Wrong Expression

Simon Peter adopted this method of expression when he sliced off the ear of the Roman soldier who came to arrest Jesus. From the incident we can see that Jesus was against the use of this method.

(John 18:10-11 NIV)  Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest's servant, cutting off his right ear. {11} Jesus commanded Peter, "Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?"


Right methods
Practice restrain

(Eph 4:26 NIV)  "In your anger do not sin" : Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry,

It is possible to be angry and still not sin. Anger is a human response. Even though it is our ultimate aim not to be angry when hurts are directed at ourselves, it is nonetheless true that being angry is natural and in itself does not cause us to sin.

One way to prevent ourselves from sinning when we are angry is simply to walk away from the situation and give ourselves time to cool off. Count to 100 or even take a walk round the block.

Analyzing our anger

This means that we probe our hearts as to why we are angry. Is there something in us that caused us to be angry? Perhaps it is our pride. Maybe we should be changing ourselves.

We should ask the Holy Spirit to search our heart to reveal the hidden areas.

(Psa 139:23 NIV)  Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.

Besides looking at ourselves, we should also look externally to understand what really happened.

See “Try to understand their position


Resolution

(Eph 4:26 NIV)  "In your anger do not sin" : Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry,

The advice is not just avoiding sin when we are angry. We are also told to resolve that anger before we go to bed.

It may be good advice to resolve our anger before bedtime because when we sleep we carry many things to the subconscious and bury these negative feelings deep.

We may need to approach the party that has offended us to talk it over.

This step is necessary even for you to analyze your anger. You may need to hear the other person’s story so that you will know what caused the events to happen that resulted in your anger.

If things are not talked about, the anger becomes suppressed and we can begin to harbor hatred for that person.

Suppressed anger do not just go away. It takes root in our lives and may one day sprout up to cause problems.

(Heb 12:15 NIV)  See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.

Forgiveness

There is no resolution of anger until we have learned to forgive someone. In our analyzing the anger, we may find that the person had actually intended to hurt us. What do we do? We can’t rationalize away the anger.

This is when it is necessary to forgive someone. (Lesson on forgiveness.)

To resolve the anger, we can ask God to take the anger away.

We may pray a prayer of healing over our hurting memories.

Righteous anger

(Mark 11:15-17 NIV)  On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple area and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, {16} and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. {17} And as he taught them, he said, "Is it not written: "'My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations' ? But you have made it 'a den of robbers.'"

Jesus was angry when God’s rights were violated and sin is rampant. We should be angry and take remedial actions when injustice and sin is taking place.

We should be careful not to use righteous anger as an excuse for sin. Sometimes we want to wipe out somebody thinking we are doing the world a favor when actually it is to seek personal revenge.

For example if we evangelize to someone and they do not believe, we get angry and think that this is righteous anger and therefore justified. Many times we are angry because we don’t like people to disagree with our views.