Anger: Your Strongest Emotion

“BE ANGRY, AND yet DO NOT SIN; do not let the sun go down on your anger” (Ephesians 4:26 NASB).

The Bible instructs you to be angry! Anger by itself is not a sin, and it is one of the most common emotions associated with grief.

“I went through that shock and denial period for about three months,” says Dora after the death of her daughter. “Then suddenly, as the shock wore off and the reality set in—anger. Intense anger. Just wanting to wail, to scream from the depths. There’s no way I could express as much anger as I was feeling.”

You need to release your anger in a way that is productive for healing and not harmful to others around you. To release your anger does not mean to lash out, to throw a fit, or to lose control of it; releasing your anger involves the open and honest expression of your emotions in a way that is physically, mentally, and emotionally freeing. You can do this by expressing your anger to God in prayer (don’t hold back!). You can release your anger in the presence of a person who will listen quietly and neither judge nor offer advice. Another healthy way to release anger is to write down every angry thought that comes to mind until you cannot think of another angry sentence to write. Some people find that expressing their anger out loud, and loudly, in a private place is helpful.

The fact that you should “not let the sun go down on your anger” means you should deal with it when it is present. Don’t go to sleep and forget it, only to have it come back in greater strength later.

Holy Spirit, grant me the freedom and opportunity to release my anger in a way that helps, not hurts. Amen.

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Out of Control


Not only are your emotions unpredictable, but they may also seem uncontrollable. This changing nature combined with the intensity of the emotions can cause you to feel disoriented, forgetful, and overpowered.

“There was this overwhelming feeling of being out of control … overwhelmed and watching life pass by,” says Cindy following her daughter’s death.

Your response to these uncontrollable emotions can be confusing to you as well as to others; for instance, sometimes you may want people with you, and sometimes you do not. You may also act in ways you later regret.

Job expressed this sentiment: “If only my anguish could be weighed and all my misery be placed on the scales! It would surely outweigh the sand of the seas-no wonder my words have been impetuous” (Job 6:2-3).

Precious Lord, You know the desires of my heart. In my confusion give me peace to know that You are in control of all life and You do not make mistakes. Amen.

Your Emotions

Your emotions can be intense, draining, and hard to hold back; they are tangled up inside of you and run deep.

Everyone goes through some unexpected emotions, and it helps for you to identify and sort out the emotions that apply to you. This is part of the healing process.

Which emotions describe what you are feeling? denial, rage, loneliness rejection, confusion, helplessness guilt, anxiety, disappointment anger, sadness, resentment jealousy, inadequacy, vindictiveness fear, envy, depression pain, dread, bitterness loss, anguish, dismay sorrow, betrayal, abandonment apathy, distrust, lack of control

Jesus can identify with your sorrows.

“He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces He was despised, and we esteemed Him not.” (Isaiah 53:3)

Lord Jesus, You alone know my suffering and pain. Please sort through these emotions with me. Amen.

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The Second Principle of the Journey: Be Expressive

Express your tears and your pain. In order to move on, you cannot push down and pocket your emotions; they must be fully communicated for you to heal.

“Everyone cries,” says Dr. H. Norman Wright. “Everyone sheds tears. Some people do it on the outside, but some are only capable of doing it on the inside. From a health perspective, the shedding of tears is very beneficial to physical well-being.

"The people who are unable or haven’t developed the capacity to cry are carrying a heavier load of emotion that can actually contribute to some physical difficulties. I don’t think you should ever apologize for your tears because you never apologize for something that is a gift from God.”

Pull out your emotions. Face the pain head-on. Mourn loudly. Weep bitterly. Be set free.

When Peter realized he had disowned Jesus three times, he “went outside and wept bitterly” (Luke 22:62). When Stephen, the first Christian martyr, died, devout men “made loud lamentation over him” (Acts 8:2 NASB).

Holy God, I’m so adept at pushing down my emotions that I don’t know how to pull them up, but I know that I must. Give me the opportunity and the courage to let my emotions pour out freely. Amen.

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Talk About It

Death is a part of life. Everyone experiences the death of a loved one.

“We are social beings, physical beings, and spiritual beings,” says Rev. Clay Evans. “When you lose someone you are attached to, it is normal, it is natural, for you to grieve.”

If grief is natural and is part of everyone’s life, why is there a feeling of discomfort when someone mentions the death of a loved one? Why the embarrassment when tears come during an ordinary conversation?

People in grief may avoid their friends and even their church to prevent these awkward moments. This is not how it should be. Someone needs to move beyond the discomfort. Be the first one to squelch the prevailing attitude of embarrassment and unease, and start talking about grief.

“Bear one another’s burdens, and thus fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2 NASB).

Lord Jesus, grieving is as natural and as common as loving. I want to help make it as acceptable, too. May my healing journey spark healing in those around me. Amen.
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