How Can I Control My Anger? Answers From the Bible

by Jack Wellman · Print Print · Email Email

It’s so easy to lose our temper, but how can Christians learn to control their anger?

Righteous Indignation

It’s so easy to lose our temper, but how can Christians learn to control their anger? How can they keep their temper in check? Scripture seems to indicate that Jesus was angry. He cleansed the temple twice…once early in His ministry and once near the end of His earthly ministry, so clearly Jesus got angry and He never sinned, so it must be okay to be angry at times. Conversely, there are times when we should not get angry. Jesus was never angry when the religious leaders attacked Jesus but when they attacked the truth of Scripture, when they added tradition as being equal to Scripture, and when they attacked the disciples or others unjustly.

Be Angry – Sin Not

It is not sin for us to be angry when it is righteous indignation. The Apostle Paul even commands us to “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger” (Eph 4:26). We should be angry at the things that make God angry, like seeing a child or an elderly person being abused. We have every right to get angry and intervene, or at least call the authorities. The key to being angry and not sinning is not staying angry, or not letting the sun go down on your anger. Taking anger to bed is a great way to lose sleep. If we don’t get over that time of anger, even a righteous indignation, then we’ll stay angry, and that’s good not good for us or anyone who has to be around us! We should “give no opportunity to the devil” (Eph 4:27) by letting the sun set on our anger and not getting over it.

Jesus was Angry

When Jesus saw all the commercialism at the temple, “He said to them, It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you make it a den of robbers” (Matt 21:13)! He had every right to be angry. They were ripping people off and offering less than perfect sacrifices, but the money changers who exchanged currency that could be offered at the temple was ran by thieves who shortchanged customers, unknown to them. That’s why Jesus got angry but He didn’t stay angry or misdirect His anger at others. He could be angry and still not sin. We must learn to do the same thing and be angry for the right reasons and at the right time, but don’t stay angry. Remember God is sovereign and whether saved or lost, “each of us will give an account of himself to God” (Rom 14:12). God will ultimately judge the world, not us, and God’s throne is a one-seater. Our anger cannot solve the problem; God can (Rev 20:12-15).

God is Angry

Did you realize that if you are not saved, God is angry at you every day? The Word says “God is a righteous judge, and a God who feels indignation every day” (Psalm 7:11), particularly at those who have rejected His Son, Jesus Christ. God placed all of our sins on Jesus as the cross, so the wrath of God was satisfied in Christ for us, but for those not in Christ, the wrath of God still abides on them (Eph 2:3). Jesus was clear about choices: You are either for Him or against Him (Matt 12:30), for “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him” (John 3:36).Bible Verses About Anger

Calming Anger

A great way to calm the anger is to think about who we once were and remember that at one time, we were called the children of wrath (Eph 2:3), but God intervened and caused us to be born again (John 3:3-7). Now “we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God” (Rom 5:9). When you get angry, think about this:

  • Jesus died for you and me, once among the ungodly (Rom 5:6).

  • Jesus showed His love for us by dying for us while still sinners (Rom 5:8).

  • Jesus took God’s wrath for us who were previously enemies of Him (Rom 5:10).

  • Jesus did not give us what we deserved (wrath) but what we needed (mercy and grace).

We don’t give people what they deserve but what they need, just as God did to us through Christ.  That should take the edge off our anger, right? Instead of stewing about all the things wrong with the world and with others, we ought to be celebrating because we’ve been saved “from the wrath of God” (Rom 5:9c). This should cause us to “rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation” (Rom 5:11). I can see getting angry, but I cannot see Christians remaining angry. That’s contrary to being a disciple of Christ (John 13:34-35).

Warnings About Anger

The Bible is full of counsel about anger and full of examples when people lost their temper and it cost them dearly. It can cost us too. Our anger can cause us to say words we cannot take back, to do things we cannot undo and damage relationships that may be beyond repair. Words have great power so must be careful how we use them. We can use words to build up or tear down, but words of anger almost always lead to evil.

The Bible on Anger

I must not have great understanding because I’m not always slow to anger, but instead, I’m often too quick to get angry…and often, before having all the facts, but “Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly” (Prov 14:29). For me, I need to “Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil” (Psalm 37:8). My solution is to being angry is to “be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger” (James 1:19), not dwell on it (Eph 4:26), and that shouting matches only escalate anger, usually at both ends (Prov 15:1)!

Conclusion

One of my favorite Bible verses about anger is also a solution to my anger. Solomon wrote, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Prov 15:1). James wrote that our anger or anyone else’s anger is dangerous because “the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God” (James 1:20). Only Jesus has been able to perfectly display righteous anger when needed, but God’s wrath is coming upon all the unsaved, so my prayer for you is that if you have still not trusted in Christ, you will do so today, right now (2 Cor 6:2). Repent today and trust in Christ or face God’s judgment after death (Heb 9:27) or at Christ’s appearance (Rev 20:12-15), whichever comes first.

Here is some related reading for you: Bible Verses to Help You Control Your Anger

Resource – Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), Crossway Bibles. (2007). ESV: Study Bible: English standard version. Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.



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