Ooh, she was angry. I don’t know why. I don’t even know who.
But I could hear her shrieks coming from down the street. She was angry and wanted everyone to know it.
I don’t know whether it worked for her or not but temper tantrums and angry outbursts typically cause more problems than they solve.
We tend to think of tantrums as a toddler problem but…
A temper tantrum is an unplanned, unintentional expression of anger, often with physical and verbal outbursts.
So, based on that definition…
When was your last tantrum?
The last time you let everyone know that you were NOT happy? You were feet stomping, hands flailing, purple-faced angry?
Who was the recipient?
- Your spouse.
- Your children.
- Your parents.
- Your child’s teacher.
- Your boss.
- Your server at lunch.
- Your neighbors.
I get it, they’re ugly and you’re squirming a little.
The truth is, even if you and I don’t want to call them temper tantrums any time we lash out in anger ranting at the closest victim . . . we can name it anything we want, it’s still a temper tantrum.
They are able to ruin a perfectly good day for both the tantrum thrower and the recipient.
Look at what King Solomon said about anger.
People with understanding control their anger; a hot temper shows great foolishness. Proverbs 14:29
A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare. Proverbs 15:1
Fools vent their anger, but the wise quietly hold it back. Proverbs 29:11
Just as stirring milk makes butter, and twisting noses makes them bleed, so stirring up anger causes trouble. Proverbs 30:33
Control your temper, for anger labels you a fool. Ecclesiastes 7:9
Labels you a fool.
Okay, you’re convinced. You’ve decided it’s time to shelve your angry outburst. Now what.
How can you and I stop our tantrum habit?
5 Wonderful and Doable Ways to Control Your Temper
1. Before you throw a tantrum . . . breathe.
Count to ten, count to fifty – anything to slow down and take time to calm down.
“When you own your breath, nobody can steal your peace.” ~Author Unknown
2. Before you respond to a tantrum . . . be quiet.
Refuse to scream and shout. One of the best teachers I ever had used to speak in a whisper when she was angry. She could quickly get our attention and rarely raised her voice.
“Peace does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. Peace means to be in the midst of all those things and still be calm in your heart.” ~Unknown
3. Before you reward a tantrum, yours or anyone else’s . . . stop.
The person, child or adult, venting is often satisfied just to get an angry response. Do your best to remain calm. Memorize a scripture verse or quote to mentally recite when you’re tempted to react with anger.
“When things begin accelerating wildly out of control, sometimes patience is the only answer. Press pause.” ~Douglas Rushkoff
4. After a tantrum . . . confess.
We’re all going to “lose it” once in a while. As hard as it is to admit, anger happens. Stop the cycle by remembering Ephesians 4:26–27
When you are angry, do not sin, and be sure to stop being angry before the end of the day. Do not give the devil a way to defeat you.
5. Work out your anger with the Lord, repent and apologize.
Ask God for His forgiveness and go to person on the receiving end of your anger and ask for an opportunity to talk about it with humility and without excuses.
“Never ruin an apology with an excuse.” ~Benjamin Franklin
I’m so thankful Jesus showed us a better way to deal with each other without anger by speaking truth respectfully.
You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemies.’ But I say to you, love your enemies. Pray for those who hurt you. Matthew 5:43–44
If you love only the people who love you, what praise should you get? Even sinners love the people who love them. Show mercy, just as your Father shows mercy. Luke 6:31,36
How I wish I could control my anger and love people perfectly.
It’s hard, isn’t it?
But I’m not ready to give up or give in. With prayer, practice, and Holy Spirit power we can do a better job of using our words and controlling our tempers.
Finally, Quotes to Inspire
“Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret.” ~Ambrose Bierce
“The greatest remedy for anger is delay.” ~Thomas Paine
My dear brothers and sisters, always be willing to listen and slow to speak. Do not become angry easily, because anger will not help you live the right kind of life God wants. James 1:19–20
It is wise to direct your anger towards problems — not people; to focus your energies on answers — not excuses. – William Arthur Ward
Do you know where your fights and arguments come from? They come from the selfish desires that war within you. James 4:1
“Anger is one letter short of danger.” ~Eleanor Roosevelt
Do not let evil defeat you, but defeat evil by doing good. Romans 12:21
Friends, anger is a valid emotion. You and I will get angry on occasion. It’s what we do with it. Because when anger takes control it has the power to make us do and say things we don’t want to do or say. And that’s a problem.
So count to ten, speak softly, remember God’s Word, confess and apologize.
What’s your best tip for pushing pause and controlling your anger?
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