Monday, October 09, 2017

4 ways to keep anger from mastering you

Photo via Visual Hunt

In my Sunday message, "When Anger is Your God," I reflected on the value of Romans 12:9-21 for guiding us in Christian living. We live in a culture in which anger is distinctly present. Anger is used to justify any action that asserts our own way or gives expression to our dissatisfaction. I see it among Christians frequently...but we are not called to live this way. We live with a love that counters the culture of selfishness and anger.

Paul is clear in saying in Romans 12 that living with this kind of counter-cultural love requires a change in our thinking...a transformation in the way we see the world that God is happy to help us with (Romans 12:2). We are partners in this process. What can you and I do to help this transformation along when it comes to the ever-present temptation to let anger master us? I see four ways:

REFLECT: Identify the circumstances and the people that you find trigger angry responses in you. Consider the ways in which anger has affected relationships at your work, your school, in your family, and at your church. Make yourself aware of the things that lead you to be mastered by anger.

REPENT: This often misused word is important here. Do you need to seek forgiveness for times when anger has mastered you? Most important to the repentance process is the commitment to live God's way. Make a commitment to loving others as Paul teaches (who follows Jesus' teaching on the matter).

REFRESH your fervor! Paul speaks of having zeal. The literal meaning of the word is "to be set on fire." Allow the Holy Spirit to set you on fire. Basic Christian practices like worship and prayer allow the Spirit to move in us. Reading the Bible stories about Jesus' life help you pay attention to Jesus' way of loving.

RELATE to all in love--recognizing the value and dignity of every person.

We can overcome the culture of anger with the culture of love...God helping us!