“He’s making me so angry!”

“She made me so mad yesterday.”

We’ve all used this kind of language. These statements signal we have adopted a victim mentality. We shifted the responsibility for our happiness onto others. We have ceded control of our happiness to others. Now, we cannot be okay until something external changes.

In truth, no one can make us angry. People and circumstances do things that trigger a reaction in us. But the choice of how to respond belongs to each of us on our own.

The circumstance does not make us angry. It does not have that control. The circumstance simply provides a prompt. The resulting anger or frustration is a signal that a choice needs to be made. But emotions have no business making choices. Choosing is something we should do based on our purpose and values.

The emotion is an alarm, letting us know our values have been pressed and a choice needs to be made. It’s not the person or the circumstance that actually makes us angry. It is the internal value(s) within us that feel threatened. It is a result of what matters to us, what we’ve experienced, and the purpose we are living toward.

We need a true perspective about our anger. We need to acknowledge our feelings. Then we can make choices based on values rather than emotions. Time is of the essence. It’s in our prompt and purposeful action that we can avoid our anger leading to sin.

Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.”
– Ephesians 4:25-27