Here are some guidelines to be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry and heal an Angry Heart.
1. Make a choice not to overreact in anger:
This is a conscious choice and decision. You must set your heart and mind to change, to turn from an old way, pattern or habit and allow the Word of God to transform you.
At first this will be a deliberate, almost mechanical decision you will make to in response to each and every situation you encounter that angers or upsets you.
"This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live"
2. Allow yourself a chance to step back from what has happened before you react:
You must answer the question, "Why ?"
What is it about this encounter or situation that upsets you so much? Is it a control issue? It is a fear issue? is this an unresolved hurt issue? Do you feel violated?
Sometimes the reason is obvious but sometimes you need to slow down and take a closer look at what the real issue is.
"Do you see a man/woman who speaks in haste? There is more hope for a fool than for him" Prov. 29:20
3. Take Responsibility:
Be responsible and own up to your good and bad responses. You can't blame your personality, family or circumstances. Humility is an crucial part of taking responsibility. Humility deals with your part without worrying about anyone elses part. '
"Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's might hand, that he may lift you up in due time"
I Peter 5:6
4. Learn from your mistakes:
This is the natural progression of taking responsibility. When we take responsibility for our mistakes, we are in a position to grow.
" For though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again." Prov. 24:16
5. Forgive, forgive and forgive:
Forgive those who have hurt you. There are no except clauses in this. Again, another conscious choice and decision. We are forgiven the way we forgive. When we don't release others through forgiveness, we find it difficult to release ourselves.
"Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors." Matt 6:12
6. Step out of the way and make room for God.
When the situation still seems hopeless after you have forgiven and done what is necessary to reconcile, then you are in a position to step back and say as David said, "May the LORD judge between you and me. And may the LORD avenge the wrongs you have done to me, but my hand will not touch you" I Sam. 24:12
We will live in frustration and anger if we think we are ultimately in charge.
We can choose to live a life without regret, without fear and without dragging along the chains of our past but it does take awareness, the 'hard work of change' and most of all the Word of God in our hearts.
Recommended Books on Anger:
Be Angry But Don't Blow It! by Lisa Bevere
The Anger Workbook. by Les Carter