Experiencing and Expressing Anger: Ephesians 4:26-27 Communication Tool (Part 3 of 4)

“Be angry without sinning. Don’t let the sun set on your anger. Don’t provide an opportunity for the devil” – Ephesians (NIV) 4:26-27

Thanks for reading “Experiencing and Expressing Anger” Part 1 of 4 and Part 2 of 4.

What follows is a “quick reference” guide to assist you to reflect on then communicate you anger with another person you may be in conflict with.  This guide is effective when you “tap the brakes” with your anger, which is like calling a “time out” to determine what occurred, what matters the most that you wish to communicate, and to determine what possible solutions come to mind that could resolve your impasse.

Remember, the passage of scripture gives us permission to be angry, or said another way, to identify, have and express our feelings.  Your anger is an internal signal that something in your current situation needs to be addressed and/or changed.

On the other hand, we need to remember that we do not have permission to let our hurt or anger crystallize into bitterness, rage and sabotaging behaviors, done to self or others.  Engaging in such behavior is counterproductive and it does not create nor facilitate solutions with the problem(s) that need solutions, and it does not provide the best return on the energy that you are expending.

In light of this, I offer to you this quick model to help you think about what is going on within you, with suggestions for you to consider implementing that could bring about resolution with the anger that you may be feeling.

Ephesians 4:26-27 is divided into four parts, with Red Light (questions to ask yourself then to respond accordingly), Yellow Light (“Intersection” opportunities to ask questions, offer and receive feedback with another) and Green Light (questions to ask yourself then implement healthy behavioral change immediately).

The Ephesians 4:26-27 Communication Tool

Part One: “Be Angry…

Red Light:

1. How is my out of control emotion wounding me and wounding you?

2. What behavior am I doing to interrupt our discussion or dialogue?

Yellow Light:

1. How is my emotional reaction hurting you?

2. What behavior would be helpful for me to demonstrate right now, to help us to get back on track?

Green Light:

1. What is the message or lesson that my emotional reaction is trying to teach me?

2. What additional feelings do I need to investigate, own and talk about?

Part Two: “…but do not sin.”

Red Light: (Ask yourself)

1. What resulting behavior do I need to cease immediately?

Yellow Light: (Offer feedback to each other about…)

1. “This is where you are off track…”

2. “This is where you are right and on target…”

Green Light: (Ask yourself)

1. What behavior do I need to demonstrate immediately to facilitate safety, repair and renewal?

Part Three: “Don’t let the Sun go down on your anger…

Red Light: (Self-Exam and Discovery time)

1. What could be the deeper issue that I am struggling with, and need to communicate (within a reasonable amount of time), as it is creating internal and relationship distress?

Yellow Light: (Offer feedback to each other about…)

1. “If you are open to feedback, from my perspective, this is the issue that is harming us…”

Green Light: (In light of the feedback and the self-examination, report to your partner…)

1. “I’ve been thinking that this is the issue that I am struggling with, need to address, as it is creating internal distress and relationship damage between you and me…

Part Four: “…And do not give the Devil an opportunity.”

Red Light: (Ask Yourself)

1. “What beneficial behavior or personal need do I need to take responsibility to own, develop or change, for my personal health and for the health of our relationship?”

Yellow Light: (Focus on the amends you will contribute)

1. “In light of where we are at, I am willing to (insert corrected behavior here) to facilitate my healing and your healing.”

Green Light: (Focus on the behavior you need to own and report to your partner)

1. “I will eliminate (insert behavior to eliminate here) in order to become safe and healthy again.”

2. “I will cultivate and develop (insert behavior to cultivate) in order to facilitate safety and health between us.”

Thank you for giving yourself (and your relationship) the gift of time to reflect on your anger, and the opportunity to convert negative and wounding behaviors to amended and healing behaviors.

Feel free to leave a comment or pass this post to others who you think would like to read it and could benefit from the information. By all means, please visit my other page at dr ken mcgill’s blog for more helpful “counseling” information.


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