No more lying, then! Everyone must tell the truth to his fellow believer, because we are all members together in the body of Christ. If you become angry, do not let your anger lead you into sin and do not stay angry all day. . .No more shouting or insults, no more hateful feelings of any sort. Instead, be kind and tender-hearted to one another, and forgive one another, as God has forgiven you through Christ.
Eph. 4:25-32 (Good News Bible)
Anger is an emotion that is common in everyday life. It is an emotion that energizes and alerts us to the fact that we have been hurt or threatened in some way. It is often experienced with great intensity in the times of emotional pain that come with a diagnosis of cancer.
For most of us, anger is uncomfortable and even frightening. We often do not know how to respond when we experience it in ourselves or when we see it in others.
Scripture treats anger as an ordinary part of life. It does not teach that we should never be angry. Rather, Scripture presumes that we will experience anger and proceeds to teach us how to be angry. This passage from Ephesians teaches 1) that we should be honest about our anger, 2) that we should not hang on to our anger, and 3) that we should not lash out at others in our anger.
We typically have two problems with anger. The first problem we may have is that we may pretend not to be angry, when we really are angry. The second problem we may have is that we may say or do things that are hurtful to others when we are angry.
Pretending not to be angry is actually a way of hanging on to our anger. When we are not honest about our anger, it will find a home deep within us as bitterness or depression, undermining our relationships and our spiritual and emotional well-being.
Being hurtful or explosive when angry also poses a significant threat to our relationships and to our sense of well-being. Explosive anger can create a cycle of anger and hurt that damages our most important relationships, leaving us alienated and alone.
Anger does not need to be destructive. Anger, like other emotions, is one of God’s gifts to us. It can be a constructive force in our lives. Anger alerts us to the fact that something is not right. It can protect us and motivate us if we use it appropriately. It can help us identify unmet needs. It can keep us honest in our relationships.
“If you become angry,
do not let your anger
lead you into sin.”
- Identify anger in yourself
- Look for the source of the anger.
- Own your anger. No one “makes” us angry, we respond with anger.
- Share your anger. Be direct. “I am angry.””When I see/hear_______, I think______, and I feel angry.”
- Ask for what you need, without making demands..
- Be open to changes in self.
- Be open to forgive and let go.
But do not sin
- Do not pretend to be above getting angry.
- Don’t pretend there is no problem.
- Don’t blame your anger on someone else.
- Do not be indirect, apologize prematurely, attempt to control, or talk about the person rather than to them.
- Do not assume the other person has to change.
- Do not assume you are 100% right.
- Do not hold on to your anger.
Discussion Questions: Session 1
1. When you are angry are you more likely to pretend not to be angry or to say hurtful things to people?
2. Being angry can be frightening. What risks do you perceive when you are angry?
3. What advantages have you found in being honest about your anger?
Questions for Discussion – Session 2
1. How was anger expressed in your family as you grew up?
2. What about the experience of cancer has caused you to feel anger?
3. How has your anger helped you to learn to live with cancer?