"If you become angry, do not let your anger lead you into sin …" (Ephesians 4:26a TEV)
There are helpful ways and harmful ways to release your anger. For instance, sometimes we'd rather remain angry than admit our anger. Yet, the Bible says that to be angry and not admit that you are angry is lying — and that's a sin.
Keep in mind: Anger is not necessarily wrong. It only becomes wrong if we release it in a way that is inappropriate or destructive. My experience as a pastor is that most of us learned to express our anger when we were 2 or 3 years old, and we still express our anger in the same way as adults. Needless to say, this simply doesn't work.
Most people express their anger in such a way that they end up farther away from their goal than they were before they became angry. Anger that is expressed inappropriately produces the opposite of your intended results. Blowing up at people never produces lasting change; it only produces more anger and alienation. We know that, but we still do it.
Anger is never really the root problem. Anger is usually a symptom of one of three things: hurt, fear, or frustration. These are the three things that make us angry, and this is why we should always stop and cool down.
Talk About It
Understanding the source of your anger will help you respond in an appropriate manner, so that your anger does not “lead you into sin” (Ephesians 4:26 TEV). When you stop and cool down, ask yourself these questions:
Am I hurt?
Am I afraid?
Do I feel threatened or like I'm going to lose something of value?
Am I frustrated?
Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America's largest and most influential churches. Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller "The Purpose Driven Life." His book, "The Purpose Driven Church," was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also the founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for pastors.
This devotional © 2012 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.