Let's take a look at several myths about anger. I can't remember the initial source of these (we've changed some of it and added to it too) so if you have seen it before please let me know so I can give proper credit.
This first one is that God is love, and anger is the opposite of love. Therefore, God is against anger and whenever we allow ourselves to get angry, we are sinning.
Let's take a look at some scripture and see what it actually says.
Exodus 34:6 And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness"...God told Moses he was slow to anger not that he never got angry.
Ephesians 4:26 “In your anger do not sin”. The assumption is that there will be anger. Be aware not to carve up the soul of your loved ones when you are angry.
Similar to this is Psalm 4:4 "In your anger do not sin; when you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent. Selah" In your anger learn to be still and reflect on what is going on in your own soul.
Of course, Jesus vaulted a few tables in the temple too.
Our second myth is, 'if a person doesn’t look or sound angry, he doesn’t have a problem with anger'. The most calm, even, mild men I counsel in my office are abusers. Their veneer covers an internal tempest that explodes on their loved ones in private.
Besides the extreme example above, we are all at some level, angry with God. None of us rests in trust 24/7. We act a certain way to be accepted or avoid acceptance or subtly or not so subtly seek to rig the world so it goes our way. It's been said that we all stand with a raised fist at God in one way or another.
Our next myth is that anger always leads to some form of violence; therefore, it is never good to be angry. Sadly, for some this was true growing up. The truth that anger can be expressed in ways that benefit a relationship is foreign if this was your background. Know that anger does not have to be expressed in yelling and screaming or physically striking another. Again, even in not so extreme situations anger can be scary and signal the tearing down of a relationship not the growth of it.
Which leads us to the myth that, if you express anger to someone you love, it will destroy the relationship – anger and love don’t mix. Anger expressed well helps a relatonship to grow. Boundaries are an excellent example of this. Telling someone 'no, this isn't ok for me' is setting a boundary and lets the other person know more how to love you.
The following myth is a great way to develop ulcers and depression. The best way to deal with anger is to ignore it. If you ignore anger, it will go away. If Ann misses my heart once in a way that stirs anger in me I'll try to give her grace knowing that she is for me and our marriage. If she does it in a similar way a 2nd and 3rd time and my anger stirs more I bring it up and talk about it. If I ignore it now I'm not being graceful I'm being avoidant. There is tension when we move into the conversation but we've learned to use the Speaker/Listener skill in these places to help us really hear one another. It also helps immensely in keeping the volume level down as we express our anger.
Here's a loud myth about anger. The best way to deal with anger is to dump it. Get all of that anger out of your system, and then you and everyone else will feel better when you express it. No, actually everyone else will just feel dumped on with your garbage of extreme toxicity. You'll nuke them and walk away leaving your smelly destructive mess.
This myth invites more ulcers and physical problems. The best way to deal with anger is to stuff it. Expressing anger breeds even more anger and leads to a loss of control. Eventually stuffed anger leads to an overstuffing of anger. It will cause physical problems and/or eventually be expressed in the form of the garbage of extreme toxicity.
Nice people don’t get angry. Hello unspoken norms of church. Nice people get angry because there is injustice on this planet.
Are any of these myths views you've held? How has it impacted your expression of anger? Your relationships?
Next, we'll move to the purpose of anger.