I have never been good at expressing anger. I tend to stuff it down claiming that it is better for everyone. I worry that expressing my anger will hurt someone. Needless to say, that means I have a lot of unexpressed anger. I have warned my family that I am working on expressing my anger. They are amused by that. Apparently, my version of anger isn’t very angry.
I have always believed that there are places where anger is completely appropriate. Grief is one of those places. Expressing anger at the loss of someone is one of the stages of grief. My dad died 19 years ago when my oldest was only 3 months old. He died unexpectedly in his sleep. It has taken all of these years to realize that I had unexpressed anger regarding his death. I was angry that my children wouldn’t get to know him.
Unexpressed anger stays in the body. It doesn’t go away. It becomes this underlying stress that can lead to depression, anxiety and forms of chronic disease of which the list is long. I think that’s why we are told to go ahead and be angry and not hold it in as Paul tells us in this scripture.
Go ahead and be angry. You do well to be angry—but don’t use your anger as fuel for revenge. And don’t stay angry. Don’t go to bed angry. Don’t give the Devil that kind of foothold in your life. (Ephesians 4:26 MSG).
Once again this scripture reminds me that God cares for our emotional, spiritual and physical wellbeing. His way shows me how to care for the whole whole person not just the spiritual side of me. He cares about my relationship with Him and my ability to share his love to others by caring for my physical and emotional health.
My attempts to control my emotions and suppress the expression of anger have only caused other issues both physical and emotional. It also teaches those around me that anger isn’t an emotion we are to express. This hurts my family. Learning to follow this scripture will not only improve my health, but my relationships, as well.
How do you handle anger? Have you learned healthy ways to express this natural emotion? Share your experience here and breathe life and bring hope to others.