064: How To Handle Anger [Podcast] – Todd Stocker.com

how-to-handle-anger-001Well this past Wednesday, Americans woke up to a shocking development in the course of our nation’s politics.  Donald Trump is president-elect.  Many are feeling happy but many are feeling angry.  How do we handle anger?

On This Episode:

As I’m recording this, there are angry protests regarding the election. 

First, this is a political podcast so if you’re new, don’t turn it off.  In fact, regarding the protests, I think it is awesome that we live in a country that allows the freedom to do so, in a respectful, nondestructive manner.  Personally, I don’t understand what they accomplish other than awareness of a concern or issue but I’m not one to do marches but I respect the expression allowed by our constitution.  Go America!  

What is Anger?  (for those of you who know me, I like digging into the meaning of words).  

Anger is an emotion characterized by hostile opposition toward someone or something you feel has deliberately done you wrong.  It is an emotion and if you’ve listened for a while, you know that emotions are not right or wrong.  They just are.  

It is how you handle that emotion that is at issue.  If someone cuts me off in traffic, the anger wells up inside as a natural response.  So at that point, I have three response choices.  I could speed up on the guys bumper, honk the horn flash my lights and maybe give the finger!  That’d be the negative response.  I can tell you that often, a negative response does more damage to who?  YOU!  You get riled up in your emotions and your attitude and mindset just tanks.  You also create patterns of negativity in your psyche with affect you emotionally, spiritually and physically. 

Or, I could choose not to respond at all – a neutral response. You let the guy go by and don’t think about him or what he did at all.  Not a bad option.  

But the third response is a positive response.  You pray for the guy (or if you’re not spiritual that way, you wish him well).  Maybe his life sucks and he’s distracted.  Maybe he is rushing for an important meeting that could affect hundreds of people.  I don’t know.  But the opposite of the negative response, this response creates a positive feeling of well-being within you.  It creates patterns of a positive psyche and you feel better about what you did, but more importantly, who you are.  

In Episode 4, I talked about the formula e+r=o.  Event plus my Response equals the Outcome of how I perceive the Event.

For example, when the bible says, “Do not let the sun go down on your anger.” That does not mean completely fixing an argument with your spouse, let’s say before you go to bed.  

Realistically, you get more and more tired and you end up giving up.  

What that really means is do not let the sun go down before you decide how you are going to handle your anger.  positively, neutral or negatively.

And you HAVE to deal with your anger!  

Anger is only one letter from Danger.

The bible also says uncontrolled anger is a sin. I didn’t say uncontrollable –  all anger is controllable.

Here’s an example.  There’s a great scene in the original Pixar movie The Incredibles where the family is arguing at the dinner table and someone rings the doorbell.  Immediately, they control themselves.  

How you talk to yourself also helps in responding to your anger.  

A man was walking through a supermarket with a screaming baby in the shopping cart. A woman nearby noticed that time and again the man would calmly say: “Keep calm, Albert. Keep calm, Albert.”

Finally, in admiration for the man’s patience as the child continued to wail, the woman walked up to him and said: “Sir, I must commend you for your patience with baby Albert.”

To which the man replied, “Ma’am, I am Albert!”

 Normally, we think of anger as bad.  Again, it’s how you respond to it that counts, but anger can also be a good thing.  It can be a motivator.  It’s what I call the pop-eye effect, “That’s all I can stand I can stands no more!”

A truth is that people change because they want to or because they have to.  Anger can motivate you to change.  I was coaching someone struggling with their weight and this person got to a point of saying, I’m so uncomfortable I’ve got to change!  she was angry.  

So next time anger seems to pop up, pause and chose your response carefully, knowing that a negative response has negative effects and positive response has positive effects, not just in you, but in people around you.  


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3 Choices of Anger

3-ways-anger-response“What Do I Do With My Anger?”

Have you ever been angry?  I mean, the kind of anger that boils up inside to a point that it lashes out on everyone and everything around you.   In the moment, you felt like you’re possessed with some demon of revenge and your monster instincts take over.  After, you think, “I can’t believe I just did that!” 

Different sets of circumstances and people groups anger each of us.  Some become enraged at inconsistencies in their work place.  Other become furious when the family member harms the relationship.  

Anger is simply an emotion — just like sadness or fear or happiness or pride.  The key with any of these emotion is how you handle it. Most of us handle anger one of three ways.

  1. We return it.  Some snarky comment comes from a co-worker after your presentation and you immediately snark back.  Your social media friend rips into you about a recent post and you fire back a thread that throws-up all of them and the rest of us.  “Revenge” would be this actions battle cry. 
  2. We retain it.  The anger emotion rises up inside us but we simply stuff it way down in our psyche – never dealing with it – never letting it motivate us to do better things.  Eventually, the anger builds up and causes a relational heart-attack. 
  3. We redeem it.  The word “Redeem” means to take something of lesser value and trade it in for something better.  Think of having a concert ticket.  At the door, you trade it in for a much more valuable experience.  Redeeming anger means using those anger feelings toward something of higher value.  Controlling the raging fire within us and choosing to do something godly with it.  What would that be?  Kindness.  The Bible says that a soft word turns away wrath.

Controlled anger leads to positive action [tweet that].  Maybe when someone screams at you and your feel incensed, don’t escalate or retaliate, kindly respond with, “I’ll have to think about what you said,” or “I understand but let’s take a break from this for a second.”

Aren’t you glad that God didn’t return his anger about your sin to you.  Aren’t you thankful that he didn’t retain it and say, “Forget it!  You are on your own!”  

No.  God redeemed his anger toward your sin by turning it into something good.  He took the hurt humanity heaped on him by sending Jesus to redeem mankind.  He traded the brokenness of the world and offered it wholeness and life. He chose to love and not hate.  

Is there a way you can do the same?  (Click Here to read a related post).



Be Angry

be_angry.001“Are you angry about the right things?”

All of us get angry.  There is something that someone does or a situation that doesn’t work out that causes our faces to redden, our brows to furrow and our pulse to do backflips.  There is a holy place for anger if it is spurred by the right things.  

Yet how many of us become angry over things that just don’t matter.  Is it really a big deal when someone drives up onto your bumper and flashes their lights in an effort to be the first car at the next stop light?  Is it really cosmic that they forgot your coffee order at the coffee shop or were slow in taking the order in the first place?  

I submit – No. 

Jesus showed a well-placed anger when he entered the temple and saw the entrepreneurs of the day buying, selling and exchanging items required for the participants to use at Passover.  His anger’s core centered not on the business model or eagerness of the sellers.  He became enraged at the disrespect they showed simply by degrading God’s sacred place (John 2).

It causes me to ask myself, “Am I angry about the right things?”  Does my heart hurt for those in need?  Do I intentionally love those whom I’ve previously neglected.  Do petty things hold my attention while life-changing situations go unnoticed?

Join me in being angry at the right things.




Matt Stefan and Family

Matt Stefan and Family

I’m angry this morning.

I don’t normally wake up angry yet today I am.

A friend of mine who has influence and has influenced hundreds of adults and high school students died suddenly on July 4th of a brain aneurism.  Young, brilliant, creative and physical death captured him as he prepared for his day.

Funny thing is, Jesus is angry as well.  In fact, the morning that my friend died, my devotional reading was the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead.  When Jesus saw what death had done to Lazaraus’ family, the original language says that he was angry at it.  Many translations use the words “deeply moved” but the Greek says that it was an indignant anger.  Like when a horse snorts, that is what Jesus did (so the original language says).

Get that.  Jesus wasn’t angry at Lazarus’ family.  He wasn’t angry at the real or hired mourners or even that he chose to wait to visit.  Jesus is angry at death itself.  Angry that death causes pain.  Angry that death stirs up emptiness.  Angry that death shreds the emotional heart of people.  Jesus is angry at my friends death as well.

Yet death is necessary for life.  Death is glorious for those who know Jesus.  In fact, God says, “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his faithful servants.”

I need to sit on that for a bit.  As much as I am angry, more so God is rejoicing and meet us in our sorrow.  Join me as pray for my friend’s family as I let the comfort of God’s Spirit quell my anger.