How do you respond to anger? You've got four possible options, three of them don't work:
(1) Don't repress it. You don't repress anger. That's not what GOD wants you to do. Repression is when you just say, "I'm going to stuff it. I'm going to push it down in my body. I'm angry, I'm ticked, but I'm not going to do anything about it, because I'll just swallow my anger." People will say, "Boy, he makes me mad. That burns me up!" Literally, it is – burning them up on the inside. Don't repress it. You never solve anything by pushing it down.
(2) Don't suppress it. Suppress it means to ignore it, pretend it doesn't exist. "What? Me, angry?" You just try to ignore it, try to pretend that it's not there. But stuffing it down and pretending it isn't there doesn't work. In fact repression or suppression leads to depression. The number one cause of depression is stuffed anger, frozen anger. Many times people will come to me and talk to me about a problem, "I'm so depressed." After listening to them for a while I want to say, "You're not depressed, you're angry." You're angry at your husband, you're angry at your wife, you're angry at your mother, you're angry at your kids. Only you didn't think it was CHRISTian or appropriate to let it out so you have repressed it and suppressed it and suppression leads to depression. A lot of you facing problems with depression need to look and say, "What am I angry about?" Because that's the cause.
(3) Don't express it. Some people say, "I'm just going to let it all hang out, just tell it how it is, tell people how I feel." And they blow up or they're sarcastic. There are many ways to express it. Some of you don't blow up but you're great pouters. And you pout and you get your way through pouting or you're manipulators or you're sarcastic or cynical or you look for ways to drown your anger whether it's in an affair or getting drunk or drugs or whatever, just trying to get away from the anger that you felt either growing up or now. It doesn't work.
(4) You confess it. You just admit it when you're angry. You admit it three places:
1) Admit it to yourself. Then look behind it and say "What am I angry about? Is it because I'm hurting or afraid or frustrated?"
2) Admit it to GOD. "GOD, I'm mad. I don't like this situation." She irritates me no end. He burns me up.
3) You admit it to the person. Just level with them, say "I'm hurt" "I'm frustrated" "I'm irritated", "I'm afraid." I'm afraid I'm loosing something in this relationship and I don't want to lose it and I feel like fighting for it.
Just a thought from the front porch…