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5 Ways to Reverse the Rush of Anger

For many of us, this season of quarantine has opened the door for more time at home spent with family. And that’s a good thing, right? But for some people, more time with family equals more time dealing with conflict and anger. If we don’t deal with conflict and anger in healthy ways, our disagreements will deal destructively with us.

I’ll never forget a time when I was a senior in high school—and in full rebellion—that my dad and I had a disagreement which escalated into a full-blown argument, which continued to escalate until I almost came to blows with my dad. (I had been lifting weights for a couple of years at that point, and I figured I could take him. That’s how bad it got.) Fortunately, things calmed down, but the brokenness in that relationship took a long time to heal.

Fast forward. About seven years ago I told my, then, fifteen-year-old daughter to do something, and she pushed back, which in my mind was being a bit disrespectful. We exchanged words, things began to escalate, and I lost my cool and said those parenting words that we tend to say in moments of conflict with our kids that never really work, “Yes, you will do this, because I’m the dad, and I said so!” Which means—I’m bigger and stronger than you, and I can make you do this if I have to! That anger I had with my dad back when I was seventeen was being repeated when I was the dad and my daughter was fifteen. Not cool!

Most of us have been there, done that. We’ve either been on the receiving end of someone else’s anger boiling over, or we’ve been the one boiling over. Here are five ways we can reverse the rush of anger.

  1. Request help from God IMMEDIATELY. Anger will either escalate or dissipate with no hesitation. To get ahead of the escalation, we have to escalate our prayers and turn to the One who calms the heart and soothes the soul. Paul wrote, “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger” (Ephesians 4:26, ESV).
  2. Exit volatile situations. Leave the room. Take a walk. Exit the situation, so that you (and the other person) has time for the first thing—request help from God immediately. Five times in the New Testament we are instructed to flee from passions that hold us back from following God (1 Corinthians 6:18, 10:14; 1 Timothy 6:11; 2 Timothy 2:22; Hebrews 11:25).
  3. Get over it. Not to sound harsh, but when you give it over to God, get over it. Don’t live in the past. Step into the future. Love “keeps no record of wrongs” (1 Corinthians 13:5, NIV).
  4.  Note the root cause.What’s really going on inside your heart and mind? Why are you reacting the way you are? Not until you root out the cause will you root away your anger (Luke 6:45).
  5. Act as the master, not as the slave. We have the power of the resurrected Christ indwelling us through His Spirit. Thus, we can choose to surrender our anger to Him, and let Him rule our hearts. Peter reminds us, “For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved” (2 Peter 2:19b, ESV). 

How wonderful it is when relationships are healed, hearts are set free, and anger is present no more. I hope you find that healing today.

Posted by Rick Grover, Lead Pastor with

When You Don't Know What Kind of Hole You are Digging

A pastor friend of mine from Colorado recently sent me this photo. During these difficult days, sometimes, a little humor helps.

 See the source image

 We all face these days in different ways. We cry. We get angry. We withdraw. One minute we’re grateful for some extra time at home with our families, and the next minute we can’t wait to get back to work and to see our kids off to school.

Three years ago today (April 21), I was sitting in an elders’ retreat listening to our guest speaker share from Psalm 107. I was so moved by what he shared that I wrote in the margin of my Bible, “4-21-17: Elders Retreat,” to help me remember the insights gleaned from this passage. Every year I read a Psalm a day, and guess what Psalm was set aside for my reading today? Psalm 107. Coincidence? I don’t think so.

Psalm 107 is a treasure trove of the process of dealing with pain by trusting in the steadfast love of the Lord. The psalms are songs compiled as the Hebrew hymnal used through the centuries by people of faith who often faced times of doubt. Sounds kind of like us sometimes.

This song, Psalm 107, comes complete with bookends and four verses with a refrain and chorus that guide us through a process of facing some of our darkest, deepest days.

The process begins with the first bookend of God’s steadfast love which endures forever (verse 1). How do we face our days of uncertainty? By focusing on what is certain—God’s steadfast love.

Then we move to the four verses, all describing a different scenario of trouble and dismay. “Some wandered in desert wastes” (verse 7). “Some sat in darkness and in the shadow of death” (verse 10). “Some were fools through their sinful ways” (verse 17). “Some went down to the sea in ships” only to face “the stormy wind” (verses 23, 25).

Though not the full range of difficulties we face, each description reminds us that in whatever we endure, our human plight is universal. We are not alone.

Here is where the song shifts to the refrain and chorus of crying out to the Lord (whose steadfast love endures forever) and receiving God’s deliverance. In all four descriptions of devastation, “… they cried to the Lord in their trouble” (verses 6a, 13a, 19a, 28a), and “He delivered them from their distress” (verses 6b, 13b, 19b, 28b).

And the song ends with the final bookend, which reminds us to consider “the steadfast love of the Lord” once again (verse 43).

Application? When you find yourself at wits end and don’t know what kind of hole you’re going to dig in your garden, try this. First, shift your focus from the uncertain world around you to the steadfast love of God. Second, acknowledge the reality of your plight, struggle and pain. Third, bring God into the equation by crying out to Him in your trouble. Fourth, wait on the Lord, and see how He brings deliverance.

You are not alone. God will never leave you nor forsake you (Hebrews 13:5). And we, as a people of faith in our steadfast God, will not abandon one another. We wait on the Lord, and deliverance He will bring.

“But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31, ESV).

Posted by Rick Grover, Lead Pastor with

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