His brothers said to him, “Do you intend to reign over us? Will you actually rule us?” And they hated him all the more because of his dream and what he had said. (Genesis 37:8)
Anger is a funny emotion. Even though it tends to be one of the most powerful emotions, it is almost always a secondary emotion. What do I mean by that? I mean, anger wells up in us because we feel another emotion. In other words, anger is a byproduct of another feeling. The story of Joseph and his brothers is an excellent example of this. The hatred and anger that wells up in Joseph’s brothers is a byproduct of jealousy. Other emotions that manifest themselves as anger may include fear, imperilment, and depression.
Joseph’s story exemplifies how jealousy becomes unchecked and when it is undealt with, it results in the act of extreme anger. If you go and read the results of this act of rage, you will see how damaging it is to Joseph. There is evidence that Joseph harbored anger towards his brothers, but eventually, he learned to forgive them.
So what about us? How does this information help us with our anger? Generally, anger carries with it a powerful physical and emotional feeling. If we learn that those sensations are a byproduct, they can function as a warning bell in our lives. If you can learn to listen to the emotion of anger, it can help you discover and deal with the actual feeling that is causing that anger. The next time you feel the sensations of anger, ask yourself, where is this coming from? Are you afraid? Are you jealous? Are you immersed? I have found it to be helpful to ask God these questions in prayer. Once you find the emotions behind your anger, you are one step closer to being able to diffuse your anger.
Take a moment to reflect on what anger feels like to you. Do you clench your fists? Do you grit your teeth? Knowing these responses can help you catch yourself more quickly and may help you reflect before you act out your anger.