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When Anger Overwhelms

God knows that confrontations and unpleasant circumstances are going to be a regular part of our lives. But, as any loving authority will do, He gives us fair warning — and then, through the Psalmist, gives us instructions on how to handle emotional crises.

Tremble, and do not sin;
meditate in your heart upon your bed,
and be still. Offer the sacrifices of righteousness,
and trust in the Lord.
Psalm 4:4,5

TREMBLE:

“Your emotions will really cause you problems, Anabel. You may be so distraught that you will actually be shaking! This can’t be helped at times because you just can’t control your emotions. Besides that, your Adversary may keep hitting at you until you are emotionally undone. I understand that.”

God gives us the freedom to tremble.

AND DO NOT SIN:

If you’re making a salad dressing and the recipe calls for 1 tsp of salt and l tbsp of vinegar, you don’t have an option. Use 1 tsp of salt, but do what you want to do with the amount of vinegar? No. It’s part of the recipe. If you want it to turn out right, you follow the instructions. And if you don’t follow them, it’s your fault that it failed.

“Anabel, it’s OK to tremble, but your emotions are not to control you. Don’t sin. Don’t vent your anger or say things you will be sorry you’ve said later on. Don’t lash out. Don’t physically do harm to yourself or to the one who has been badgering you (maybe it’s the poor little cat under the table). Don’t scream. Don’t stomp around the room. Don’t pout. don’t throw some kind of a tantrum. Don’t sin. That’s not an acceptable part of the procedure. You’ll fail. It won’t work. You’ll ruin the recipe.”

MEDITATE IN YOUR HEART UPON YOUR BED:

The first thing to do is to isolate yourself. Go to the bedroom or the bathroom or the garage, or get in the car and drive down to the corner grocery. Get alone. Sit down and be quiet.

This meditation cannot be limited to thinking about the problem. If you set your mind on your problem, reliving it word for word, scene by scene, your emotions will stay up, or go even higher.

He instructs us to “meditate in your heart.” We are to dig down deeply and examine what has been said and what has been done, using the light of our “new” heart — the heart that wants to please Him. The heart that has the laws of God written on it. The heart that is totally devoted to Him.

“Meditate from this view, Anabel, instead of how wrong he was, how hard you’ve tried, how you have been hurt, how long this has been going on, what she said, what you could have said, or any of those things.”

And instead, Lord?

OFFER THE SACRIFICES OF RIGHTEOUSNESS:

A sacrifice is hard to make. It wouldn’t be called a “sacrifice” if it were easy. There’s nothing easy about it. A sacrifice of righteousness means acting righteous, thinking righteous thoughts, even if you don’t “feel” like doing it.

Philippians 4:8 is not an option. It is not contingent upon our feelings. It is a command: “Fix your thoughts on what is good and true and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely, and dwell on the fine, good things in others. Think about all you can praise God for and be glad about” (tlb).

But Lord! I am so upset! How can I set my mind on those things? I’m beyond rational thinking!

At this point of emotional upheaval — brought about by anger or disappointment or distress of any kind, where my way has been thwarted — to think about the things listed in Philippians 4:8 will be a sacrifice of righteousness. I’ll have to force myself to think those kinds of thoughts.

AND TRUST IN THE LORD:

Allow Him to step in, as any gallant knight would do, and protect you, taking on the “dragon” — let Him slay the monster before your astounded eyes! Trust Him.

Now, when someone comes to your rescue, what do you do? You thank him profusely, you praise his manly deed, and you cling to his arm.

“I have just rescued you, Anabel.

Will you do this for Me?”

What about you? Have you ever experienced God’s rescue in the midst of overwhelming anger? Tell us about it.

About the Author

Anabel spent decades teaching in many contexts through Lifetime Guarantee Ministries. She has taught countless others how to have a genuine intimate faith and a sound marriage. She shared from her heart about living from the heart. Lifetime’s beloved founder and mentor passed away November 7, 2010. Her legacy and influence are timeless and priceless.