[Sometimes even good Christian people have trouble “letting go” of being mad or angry. Learn how to handle anger or being mad with practical strategies.]
“I’ll Be Mad for You”
She would stomp her little foot and declare, “I’ll be mad for you.”
This is what I noticed My niece’s three-year-old would say when she saw something she thought was not right–for anyone!
It didn’t take much, and she would cross her little arms, poke out her bottom lip, tip her head, and assume the “mad posture.”
She looked so comical, but I dared not laugh.
The adult was not mad, so she was going to be mad for them.
As a three-year-old, she was learning all about her emotions, and what to be mad about and what to “let go.”
Here and Now
Sometimes we all have trouble “letting go” of things that have made us mad or offended us.
Recently in the United States, we have had many opportunities to be mad “at” public officials or be mad “for” public officials in some way.
When Jesus went back to His hometown of Nazareth, His family, friends, and all the locals were offended by Him.
They had certain expectations, and when He did not meet their expectations, they took offense (Matt 13:54-57).
Offenses will come, and yet, offenses are places of stumbling and hurt. We must learn how to avoid the stumble.
Have you ever been around someone who is always angry at something or somebody?
The cashier at Wal-Mart always bags their stuff wrong. The food server never gets what their order right. They always get short-changed.
They are always angry and offended. And if something happens to you they don’t like, they will be angry for you. Yes, mad for you.
Why Should We Deal with Our Anger And Not Take Offense?
Many people have become accustomed to living mad and may not even be aware of how unhappy they have become living day-after-day in toxic anger.
One indicator of progress in our emotional and spiritual life is to look at how we handle anger and offense.
Progress and growth produce the good fruit of righteousness.
Yet, sometimes little weeds get in the garden of our life.
Each Christian believer has a high purpose to love God, love others, and exhibit His glory—the righteousness, splendor, beauty, and goodness of His love.
We are ambassadors of God’s goodness to one another.
The apostle James tells us that human anger does not produce the good fruit of righteousness that God desires (James 1:20). 
What Makes You Angry?
There are a variety of elements that fuel human anger.
Human anger is sometimes an expression of selfishness or a desire to control our circumstances.
People can use anger to help get their own way or push their agenda. People can use anger to manipulate or intimidate.
Anger sometimes is fueled by injustice or a perceived injustice. In some way, expectations have not been met.
To find the truth of the situation you need to look at the motivations behind the anger.
Underlying expressions of anger may come from a fear of injustice, or the injustice may be very real.
However, our reactions are a matter to be examined.
In the fever of being angry, people tend to believe they are the only morally right ones.
Things should go their way. Their view is the only right view.
There is no room for anyone else’s ideas or perceptions. They should not be treated in any way contrary to their wishes.
They should not have to change personally. They are not at fault in any way. Hum. . .
What We Lose
When we give into anger we lose our self-control and peace.
When we stubbornly hold onto anger, we can lose our integrity and others’ trust.
We can lose relationships with friends and relatives, and we can become hateful, abusive, and destructive.
Anger cannot be kept in a box. It explodes onto others and leads to many harmful behaviors.
Research shows that “telling them a thing or two,” or “giving them a piece of your mind,” or “letting it rip” out of anger does not help you or the other person.
It escalates anger and aggression rather than resolving the situation.
The better solution is to honestly look at what triggers your anger and find strategies to help resolve it.
Practical Strategies For How To Handle Being Mad Or Angry
1. Use Logic, Humor, & Gratefulness
We tend to exaggerate and become overly dramatic when we get mad or angry.
When my daughter was a little girl, she would get very dramatic about things. She would whine something did not go the way she wanted, “This is THE WORST day of my life.”
She had “the worst day of her little life” almost every day.
Logic defeats anger, because anger, even when it’s justified, can quickly become irrational.
Use cold hard logic.
My daughter could not possibly have had “the worst day of her life” every single day. She had to learn to look at the good things that day instead of the bad things.
We were at a local ice cream shop when my granddaughter had to go to the restroom. I nicely asked the clerk if she could use their restroom. The clerk refused to let the child use the restroom after I asked nicely and almost begged, twice.
After the second refusal, we left the shop.
I said, “Well, she was a snot.”
Logically, of course, she was not snot. Then I pictured in my mind a large glob of snot. Then the situation was funny and diffused my anger.
This silly kind of humor can help us handle being angry.
Humor can be a healthy and appropriate strategy to release tension. So, lighten up and try not to take life too seriously.
A common mistake people sometimes make when trying to be funny is to lean toward sarcasm. Avoid sarcasm, which can hurt people’s feelings and make things worse.
2. Use Peacemaking Communication
When we are offended and angry, we tend to jump to conclusions and say the first thing that pops into our head.
Our task is to stop ourselves, slow down, listen, stall and think about what we want to say before we speak.
When we think we are being criticized, we tend to get defensive. But try to listen to the underlying meaning. Try to think about all the scenarios that could cause the person to act the way they did or say what they said.
Honestly consider: Could you have misunderstood? Could there be other underlying situations?
What are they afraid of? What are you afraid of? Do you have to win even at the expense of losing a relationship?
There are almost always underlying situations you don’t know about or understand at that moment.
People are generally not out to “get” us.
When you do need to communicate with someone about a situation, avoid criticizing or blaming.
Use “I” statements to express your feelings about the situation. Be respectful and specific.
For example, say, “I am upset that. . .” or “I was afraid that. . .” instead of “you never . . .” or “you always. . .”.
Make sure you have calmed down and thought carefully about what you are going to say. To use an old cliché, two wrongs do not make a right. Relationships are too valuable to be ripped apart by anger.
3. Use Honest Forgiveness & Humility
Several years ago, I saw a man being treated unfairly on television. I got upset at the way he was treated. In my time of prayer, the Lord pointed out that I was offended and needed to forgive the offender.
Strange as it sounds, I got angry and offended on behalf of someone else.
Although I resisted at first, I forgave and found peace in my soul. I prayed for the people involved, and the situation worked out eventually.
Don’t hold a grudge even if it is for someone else. Unforgiveness is toxic!
Forgiveness is powerful! When we hold unforgiveness, we hold poison in our hearts. Find a way to forgive. Ask God to help you forgive. Learn to cultivate an attitude of instant forgiveness.
4. When There Doesn’t Seem To Be An Answer
There are very real problems in life and sometimes our anger and frustration can be a healthy, natural, or even a godly response. We believe that for every problem there is an appropriate resolution.
So, to realize that not every problem has a readily and apparent solution brings extreme frustration.
In these cases, it is more important to trust the All-Knowing God.
Then do what you can do and focus on how you face the problems.
These situations test your faith, character, and integrity.
You will probably need to remind yourself that getting mad will not change anything and will only make you feel worse. And there is most likely more to the situation than you know.
5. Learn to Trust
When we truly trust our Lord to handle the universe and bring justice, we can let go, forgive and have peace.
People will let us down and disappoint us in many ways. The key for victory is to let go of the need for others to meet our expectations—right or wrong.
We must forgive them in our hearts, and “let it go.”
*The best way to handle being mad is to express it to God, to release our “mad-ness” to Him, and to tell Him how we feel.
He understands, and He can rescue us from it—when we are honest. When we depend completely on God, we can release other people. We do not have to force our will or our way. We do not have to control the situation. We understand that when we take our requests to our best Friend, He will take care of the situation.
God understands all things on all sides.
The Lord alone is the righteous judge.
He will vindicate our “rightness” and be gentle in our “wrongness.”
He will be the one to take care of us and make all things all work together for our good (Rom 8:28; Col 3:23-24; Psalm 75:6-7). The appropriate response is thankfulness to God for all the goodness He has placed in our lives.
God is the Source of our every need, the answer to our every prayer, not other people. We can expect this from our Creator Father as His loved royal children who are growing in maturity and love.
Abundant Blessings, Friend!
6. My Prayer for You
Dear Lord, I ask you to bless this dear reader with a special grace to confront his or her own motives in issues related to being mad, angry, or taking offense. Forgive us all, Lord, for missing the mark. Empower us to forgive.
I pray you help these dear readers to overcome in all areas. Bless them with Your overwhelming, all-encompassing love.
Teach them to trust You so deeply, that no person or circumstance can shake their deep peace. I pray Your peace surround them powerfully as they read these words. Thank You! Amen.
But Wait–There’s More
Immediate Strategies for How to Handle Being Mad or Angry
- In your mind, or whisper under your breath, “Jesus help me!”
- Log off Facebook.
- Just Breathe. Make a new habit to stop occasionally during the normal course of your day to relax and breathe deeply from your diaphragm, not your chest. Watch your stomach go out and in again. Then during a stressful moment, you will have a habitual skill you can call up to help you remain calm.
- Speak a calm phrase such as “take it easy,” “its ok,” or “stay calm” to yourself repeatedly while you breathe calmly and deeply.
- Take yourself mentally from the situation and slowly count to yourself for as long as it takes; imagine a relaxing scene.
- Physical exercise such as stretching, walking, running, etc. can help reduce stress and help you feel calmer.
- Change your environment. Even a short time away can provide some relief and a better perspective.
Hopefully, this practical strategies will help you handle being angry in anxious times.
Please share this article with anyone who you may think will find it valuable and helpful.
- This kind of anger is different from God’s anger because He is always righteous and just. However, as humans, our emotions are corrupted by sin and do not always show forth God’s glory for His purposes.
- “Controlling Anger Before It Controls You,” American Psychological Association, http://www.apa.org/topics/anger/control.aspx Accessed October 1, 2018.
Written by: Cynthia Johnson Originally appeared on: Drcynthiajohnson.com Republished with permission