Key Thought: Most relational damage is due to anger that is hidden or hurled. To become one, a couple must learn to handle their anger in a biblically appropriate and effective manner.
Note: Anger, in and of itself, is not sinful. It carries no moral weight—only attitudes and behavior do. All emotions are God-given and are designed to move us to action. Anger is, therefore, a very necessary and useful emotion.
E(out) Motion (to move)
Analogy: An engine moves a car but the driver determines its direction.
Special Note: All emotions are constructive when used properly; all emotions can become destructive when we fail to use them in a righteous or biblical way.
Unrighteous Uses of Anger:
1.Hiding (clamming up)—emotional energy/tension is internalized or released within the person; this results in resentment and bitterness; may also cause psychosomatic illnesses (e.g. colitis; headaches; anxiety/nervousness; skin rashes/irritation; insomnia; muscle soreness/pain; depression, etc.)
(Ephesians 4:26-27—“If you are angry, don’t sin by nursing a grudge. Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry—get over it quickly…”
2.Hurling (blowing up)—emotional energy/tension is aimed and fired at someone else in a destructive way; it is meant to hurt or wound.
(Proverbs 29:11) “A fool gives full vent to his anger, but the wise man holding it back quiets it”
(Proverbs 25:28) “Like a city whose wall is broken down, so is a man whose spirit is without restraint.”
(Proverbs 19:11) “It is prudent for a man to restrain his anger; it is his glory to overlook an offence.”
(Proverbs 29:22) “Have you ever seen a man of hasty words? There is more hope for a fool than for him.”
(Proverbs 14:17) “He who is quick-tempered acts foolishly”
(Proverbs 14:29) “He who is slow to anger is of great understanding, but whoever is hasty of spirit exalts folly.”
Righteous Use of Anger
- Note: Anger is to be released constructively at the problem rather than towards self or others. This almost always involves confronting another person. The way they are confronted makes the difference (i.e. not to embarrass or hurt but to resolve the problem). They are confronted responsibly to involve them in the solution of the problem.
- Christ never blew up in a selfish rage. He did not curse, or say hateful, mean, ugly, or nasty things. He “used” his anger to confront the Pharisees about their sinful attitude/behavior and address the problem at hand (Read John 2:17 and Mark 3:5).
Dealing with the Problem:
(Matt. 5:23-24) Jesus says that if a believer who is offering his gift at the altar remembers that a friend has something against him, he must drop the gift and go “first” (reconciliation takes precedence over worship) to be reconciled with his brother. Then he may come back and finish his offering. God requires that matters be settled/resolved immediately.
(Matt. 18:15-17) If you have been wronged, God requires that you go and resolve the matter privately (i.e. between the two of you) .
Note: There is never a time when either spouse may sit and wait for their mate to come to them. It is always the obligation of each to go to the other and deal with the problem. (Diagrams from ‘The Christian Counselor’s Manual’ by Dr. Jay Adams)
How To Get Back on Track: When a couple find that they have clammed up or blown up concerning an issue or problem and are “stuck”, the following solution found in Matthew 7:3-5 will help in getting them back on track:
The diagram indicates that the husband and wife “attack” the problem together rather than one another. In this way, the problem gets resolved and the marital relationship is strengthened.
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