"Don't hang out with angry people; don't keep company with hotheads. Bad temper is contagious—don't get infected." (Proverbs 22:24-25 MSG)
Is anger contagious? Yes. Can you be infected by someone else's anger? Certainly. Ever been in a situation where someone else gets loud, and you do, too? What's happening? There's a transfer of energy. It's contagious.
If you are serious about changing an imbedded, habitual lifestyle of inappropriate anger, then you need to start hanging out with other people who know how to manage their anger. That's one of the benefits of a church. That's why I believe in joining a church family and getting involved in a small group: You pick up positive values.
The methods we use to express our anger are learned. Since they're learned, they can be unlearned. Parents, every time you blow up and lose your cool, you're modeling inappropriate anger to your kids. You're teaching, and they're learning.
Would you pray this prayer today?
"Dear God, I resolve to manage my anger. Today, with your help, I'm going to take control of my temper. I've fallen in the past, but today I make a new commitment. Help me realize the cost of my anger, that it causes arguments and mistakes and causes me to do foolish things and get into all kinds of trouble.
"Father, help me to reflect before reacting, to have wisdom and ask myself, 'Why am I angry? What do I really want? How can I get it?' Help me to see the causes beneath my anger. Help me to release my anger appropriately, no longer expressing it through violence, shouting, pouting, or just being quiet and holding it in as a grudge. Help me to admit it, confess it to you, others, and myself. Amen."
Talk About It
How have you let relationships with the wrong people affect the way you handle your temper?
When you were growing up, how did you learn to express anger? Are you passing the same methods on to your kids?
Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America's largest and most influential churches. Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller The Purpose Driven Life. His book, The Purpose Driven Church, was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for pastors.
This devotional © 2012 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.