Biblical Counseling About My Struggle With Anger Term Paper

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Biblical Counseling About My Struggle With Anger

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When one makes the decision to become a Christian, something that I believe all Christians do at some point in their adult lives, even if they have been raised as Christians, I think that there is initially a hope that all of one's struggles will immediately become easier. I know that I had the hope that, embracing Christianity, it would become easier for me to overcome my tendency towards responding with anger. After all, Jesus rarely responded with anger, and never responded with inappropriate anger, so I hoped that living to honor him would help me with my own anger issues. Not that my anger issues were ever something overtly harmful. I did not engage in domestic violence, get in bar brawls, or ever have incidents of road rage. However, I did inappropriately react with anger rather than compassion, I raised my voice more often than I should have, and I used physically-intimidating body language to help get my way. I was not a bully, but I did engage in occasional bullying behavior, and I was ashamed of that behavior. As a result, I found myself very disappointed after my conscious choice to embrace Christianity, the next time that I responded in unreasonable anger. In fact, I was even more upset with myself than I had been when I'd responded with anger before embracing Christianity, because I felt that, in addition to disappointing myself, I had disappointed Christ. While it was not a faith-challenging moment, it did make me question whether I was made of strong enough stuff to live the ideals that I had chosen. Then, I remembered that Christianity could not magically transform me into the person I wished to be, but could be a powerful tool in helping me achieve my goals.

Discussion

Term Paper on Biblical Counseling About My Struggle With Anger Assignment

It is important to realize that Christianity does not discourage all anger. On the contrary, some of Jesus' most memorable acts showed a considerable amount of anger. Looking at Matthew 21:12, one may be tempted to whitewash Jesus' actions. It says, "Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves."

Taking a moment to examine those actions, it seems clear that Jesus engaged in a pretty dramatic anger-driven bout of behavior. How did he drive the money changers out of the temple? It likely involved raised voices and dramatic actions. The text itself makes it clear that Jesus was tossing over tables and benches. What this passage makes clear is that anger is not incompatible with Christianity, and the goal of any Christian anger-management program should not be to discourage someone from ever responding with anger. On the contrary, sometimes Christians should be very angry about things, and willing to take dramatic steps to stop those things. However, even secular anger management experts recognize that a good anger-management program should help someone control his or her anger, using it rather than allowing the anger to use them.

In fact, the fact that a person has the choice to live the life he or she wants is the overriding theme in Richard Ganz's book, The Secret of Self-Control. He talks about having a defining moment when he asked himself what he would do if he had only a year to live.

Then, he realized that if he would not be doing what he was currently doing if he only had a year to live, then there was no reason for him to be doing it now.

That point is a good one, and not only about anger management. While anger management was my narrow goal, I realized that I had to have a broader goal of determining what type of life I wanted to leave and the steps that I needed to take to live that life. Moreover, I really came to understand that, by ignoring my calling, I was not being selfless; I was actually being selfish. Like Ganz, "I began to understand how incredibly easy it would be to ignore the call of God and just live for self."

This introspection led me to the understanding that I was not content living the secular life that I was living. I was relatively prosperous and in relationships that I considered happy. There did not seem to be any major issues marring the surface of my life. In fact, I believe that many people would have looked upon my life with, if not envy, a certain level of wistfulness, because it seemed as if I had everything. However, it occurred to me that, if I had everything I wanted and was doing everything I felt I was called to do, I would not be responding with anger or hostility in such a wide variety of circumstances. Therefore, I re-evaluated what I was doing with my life. I decided I could no longer live such a secular existence, designating only a portion of my life to Christianity, but had to make living Christianity part of my life. I decided that I needed to de-emphasize the importance of material possessions in my life, because I found that the more I had, the more I wanted. While I do not advocate intentional poverty, I do believe that having what is adequate to easily fulfill one's needs is probably enough. I also sought to minimize the level of acquaintances in my life. I found that I had a large group of people that I considered friends, but whom I would not have called if I was in need, and, whom, honestly, I would have hesitated to help if they were in need, if helping them would have placed me at a disadvantage. I felt that my life was cluttered, and that I needed to take steps to reduce that clutter in order to follow God's calling for me. Surprisingly, these were easy steps, because each of the changes I made here seemed to be followed by immediate rewards. However, I feel that these initial steps were crucial, because they helped put me in a place where I could concentrate on my struggle with my anger.

In Jay Adams' Competent to Counsel, he discusses the differences between a Christian and a secular approach to counseling. He begins by discussing man's basic problem, which he posits as the loss of dominion over the world, due to Adam's fall. "Sin brought the reversal of man's rule over the earth, so that the earth gained dominion over man."

However, Adams stresses that man is challenged to fight this dominion. In fact, Adams believes that the problem that clients present in counseling is that they have allowed the environment to control them.

With an anger management issue, this becomes clear. Rather than controlling how I respond to my environment, I allow the environment to dictate my response. That means that instead of using anger when it is appropriate and can be productive, I respond with anger when it is not productive.

One thing that Adams stresses is that clients must be self-disciplined. He outlines several tools that are useful in helping a student achieve self-discipline. One of the ideas that he suggests is making clients record their work. Speaking in the context of relationship counseling, Adams suggests that having clients record their commitments makes them more likely to stick to those commitments. However, this approach can and should be used outside of the relationship counseling context. Sitting down and recording practical goals about how to avoid letting anger control a situation was, therefore, my proposed first step in an anger management context. However, I quickly discovered that I had another step to take before I could write down how to avoid letting my anger control me; that step was determining my personal triggers. Until I could determine my triggers, I could not figure out my cues and keep my anger from spiraling out of control.

Not surprisingly, long held resentments and bitterness drove much of my anger. I say non-surprisingly, because I should have been able to predict this from Adams' statements about anger. Adams says:

Client after client who comes for counseling soon reveals that he has allowed not only the sun but many moons to go down on his anger…Sometimes Christian clients come who have carried bitter feelings against another for thirty years. The very person who the client so dislikes is the person whom he has been allowing, strangely enough, to control his life by remote control…He is not free, but is bound by the very person whom he dislikes, and yet his anger burns so intensely that he is blinded to the foolishness of his pendulum action.

Therefore, it became clear that looking to my long-held resentments would be a crucial step in helping learn to manage my anger. Secular anger-management experts agree that "the FIRST STEP in learning a healthy response to feelings of hurt and insult is simply to acknowledge… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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