Anger: The Iceberg of Our Lives
Get rid of the masks and face the things that happened in your life that made you the way you are today
Alaska, Greenland and Newfoundland in Canada are rated as the top destinations to see an iceberg. Icebergs are large pieces of ice found floating in the open ocean. They are an impressive sight, but are dangerous things for a ship to encounter because what is seen from the surface can be misleading. When an iceberg reaches warm waters, the new climate attacks it from all sides. But how is it that anger becomes an iceberg in our lives? Or how are the two related?
To answer that question, we must first understand what anger really is. Anger is an emotion often characterized by feelings of great displeasure, indignation, hostility, wrath and vengeance. Many times, reacting in anger is how we express our dissatisfactions. Anger begins with a feeling that’s often expressed in words or actions becoming a natural response of our anatomy. This is how Anger becomes an iceberg in our lives. Often when we are angry, there are other emotions hidden under the surface.
Some counselors notice that people get tied up in knots when they hide or stuff their anger. They will tell you to deal with your anger by getting in touch with how you feel and then expressing it. “Get it off your chest. Say exactly what you think. Give them a piece of your mind.” Other counselors have noticed how destructive people become when they express anger. They will counsel you to control your anger. Psychotherapy, medication, exercise, and meditation are just some of the different ways they recommend for defusing your anger and calming yourself down. So which is it, venting or calming?
Actually, God has a different way for you to deal with your anger. He knows well that stuffing your anger deep inside is destructive. And just learning tricks for keeping calm never discovers the purpose for which God designed anger. Anger needs to be acknowledged and expressed in a positive way, as a form of doing what is good and right.
Sometimes we use masks (just like an iceberg) to cover up the things we don’t want anybody to see. If we’re harboring anger, we think masking it keeps others from knowing the real us. So we hide behind a variety of masks in an attempt to trick people into thinking we’re something or someone we’re not. I’ve discovered that people respect you more if you share your real self with them rather than trying to hide everything. After all, people can tell when something isn’t right. You may think you’re hiding your anger, but it’ll eventually find a way to come out—either in voice tone, body language or attitudes. Another mask of anger is the cold-shoulder mask.
When someone makes them angry, they may say they’ve forgiven them, but they become cold, showing no warmth or emotion in dealing with that particular individual. These people live a lonely existence. Because they’re so afraid of being hurt, they avoid close, meaningful relationships. Other people like to use the silent-treatment mask. They say they’re not angry with you, yet they refuse to talk to you, or they only communicate when it’s absolutely necessary, usually with a grunt or nod. When people avoid being with, touching, or doing things for the person they’re angry with, they’re hiding behind a mask, which isn’t the answer.
Instead of expressing your anger in ways that hurt those around you, it is possible to express your anger in a way that actually redeems difficult situations and relationships. It starts with understanding where your anger is coming from.
One of the primary roots of anger stems from the family. Angry people come from angry families; they learn from their role models and carry on the same behavior in their own lives, eventually passing it on to their children. You must get to the root of anger and deal with it. Get rid of the masks and face the things that happened in your life that made you the way you are today. Dig deep into the iceberg of anger to take care of what is unseen to the eye, yes it is painful, but it’s the only lasting way to take care of the problem. Are you willing to go through whatever it takes to be free, or do you want to stay in the mess you’re in for the rest of your life? If you want to be free, just start doing what God wants you to do, one step at a time, and you’ll eventually walk out of your messes. Acceptance AND Acknowledgment is the 1st step to freedom from Anger towards your Christian life.
In Mark 11:25, we read of the importance of forgiveness. Forgiveness is described as being necessarily present before we can know the forgiveness of God for our sins. Matthew 5: 21-26, covers anger, forgiveness and reconciliation. As Jesus clearly teaches, we should always try to make amends with people that we have fallen out of friendship with. It may not always be the case that others are prepared to forgive us when we have wronged them, but the act of expressing our remorse to them is essential. Through this act we are communicating our own desire for peace with the other person as well as yourself with God’s requirement towards everyone of love and forgiveness. Sometimes you might have to forgive someone without actually ever talking to them that is never a weakness but a show of strength of your part to find peace and start reflecting the image of the one who created you.
Forgiveness is often a process. Even if we may still feel anger towards the one who has hurt us, and the effects of the damage – (emotional pain and other problems), are still with us, we can still be in an attitude of forgiveness to that person. Once we invite God to deal with it, we start the process of melting the iceberg from the root up. You have no idea what kind of doors God will open by breaking the habit, or the “family cycle” of the iceberg of your life. But keep anger from turning to rage, limit yourself to how much you think about or mull it over. Speak few words about it as words cause anger to grow. Pray to ask God to help you forgive – seek forgiveness for your own personal faults at the time of your anger toward someone else. It’s inevitable that those we are around, our loved ones as well as ourselves will have hurt feelings, and those hurt feelings will occasionally be expressed through our anger. It’s how we go about handing the hurt feelings and associated anger that will make all the difference in our relationships and we will start living the freedom of slavery that surrounds our lives.