Defeat Anger with Stop, Drop and Roll - Geneva College, a Christian College in Pennsylvania (PA)

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June 8, 2020

Defeat Anger with Stop, Drop and Roll

Remaining home for the rest of the spring and summer, one is bound to get a little restless and even frustrated with day-to-day interactions. Many times, that frustration and restlessness takes over and can drive a person to outbursts of anger and actions that, in the end, are regretted.

While thinking about how difficult it is to manage anger, I thought of how hard it is to put out a fire. A typical lesson that fire fighters teach kids is to stop, drop and roll. The stop, drop and roll technique is helpful when a person’s clothes begin to catch on fire, and they need to quickly extinguish the flame. This would, in the end, prevent the fire from spreading or from hurting the person even more.

When I really started thinking about this, the application of stop, drop and roll can work the same for anger. Sometimes anger really does feel like fire. With a fire it takes one little spark to get it going and sometimes a small little offense can set off a fit of anger. Both fire and anger, catch quickly, can leave the victim harmed, and is sometimes hard to put out. Both will not be stopped unless a person takes action.

So, here is how to use the stop, drop and roll technique to stop the spread of anger.

Tip #1: Stop!

There seem to be so many opportunities to give full vent to anger. It may not even require someone to do or say something to elicit our anger. It might be just having had a “bad day” or things aren’t going well, just one small thing ignites the flame.

The term I use in this moment of unwarranted frustration is “it was the straw that broke the camel’s back.” But before those small things get to you, just stop. Stop and think about what is going on and why you are so upset. Is it worth getting angry about? Is getting angry necessary?

In Proverbs 29:11 it says, “A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back.” Sometimes we can get so caught up in the feelings and emotions of the moment that we just act on them without thinking. By stopping, you give yourself time to think and cool off before acting foolishly in anger.

Tip #2: Drop

After stopping and thinking, it is important to drop. Even though we may stop and think about the situation, our emotions are so strong and overpowering we feel justified acting upon our feelings. Someone may have seriously offended you, hurt you, and now you want to show them how that felt. But what if you dropped the offense? What if, instead of bursting out in anger, you decided to overlook what they did?

This is a hard thing to do, but it isn’t impossible. Proverbs 19:11 says, “A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.” Sometimes dropping an offense may even mean you do not get an apology for what the other person did. This is HARD stuff.

If dropping an offense is too difficult to handle yourself, you can also always drop to your knees in prayer. You do not have to fight your sinful nature alone. Jesus himself experienced the temptations of this world. So, drop to your knees and ask God to help you drop the offense…it may be hard, but it is worth it.

Tip #3: Roll

Before diving into the last step of our three-step process, we need to look at the definition for roll. When something rolls, it means that that thing keeps moving, turning over and over and not stopping until something of enough force causes it to.

Simply rolling is not enough to put out a fire. The flames would ultimately be overwhelming. Well, it’s the same for anger. If you only practiced controlling your anger once and then never did again, you wouldn’t see many results. Roll stands for the continual process of resisting to respond in moments where anger seems like the only way to react. Psalm 37:8 says, “Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret – it leads only to evil.”

Do not let anything stop you from controlling your anger. Just as fire fighters need to fight the flames continually until its gone, we also need to fight anger until it dies down.

Anger is a powerful and damaging thing in a person’s life and often in the lives of those they love. At the same time, it can seem like the easiest way to express what you are feeling. However, when the outburst is over, all that is left is strife and regret.

Truthfully, it is HARD to extinguish anger from our lives. Anger can rage within you and if not dealt with or controlled, it can ultimately burn others in addition to yourself. Like a fire, anger is nothing to play around with.

Remembering the stop, drop and roll technique will help you extinguish the deadly flames of anger before it overwhelms you.

Submitting every thought to the will of Jesus Christ is something students at Geneva College learn through academics, athletics, activities and relationships. Learn more about how Geneva’s ministry of education can benefit you by contacting Admissions at or 800-847-8255.

-Abigail Forton ‘22