How Do I Deal With My Anger?

by Jack Wellman · Print Print · Email Email

All of us get angry at one time or another, so when you’re angry, how do you deal with it?

Righteous Indignation

If you know someone who has an anger problem, maybe you should share this with them, but if it’s you that has an occasional outburst, remember, we’re human and even Christians allow anger to control them, so it gets the best of us. I have to deal with anger too, but I don’t always deal with it the way God would have me deal with it. Perhaps this article will put things into a more godly perspective for you, helping you deal with anger before the volcano erupts and we’ve done or said something we’ll regret. The Apostle Paul tells us that being angry is no sin under the right circumstances. God gets angry, but it is a righteous indignation, but our anger may not be. Paul said, “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil” (Eph 4:26-27). If we let the anger boil and simmer overnight, we probably won’t sleep very well, but we’ll also give the devil an opportunity to inflame this anger until we react in a less-than-godly way. Rather than respond in kind when someone gets angry at us, we should realize that “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Prov 15:1).

“…do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil” (Eph 4:26-27)

Slow to Anger

I know several people who it takes a lot to make them angry. You’ve got to do or say something very bad before they show any anger. Somehow, they’ve learned to be slow to anger. Perhaps their recognizing that God is sovereign over all things and this allows them to keep their cool. Paul says that we should “never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord” (Rom 12:19). This means we must “leave it to the wrath of God.” James writes to the “beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God” (James 1:19-20). I can include myself in this proverb: “A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back” (Prov 29:11). All too often, God’s Spirit has told me to keep quiet, but instead, I opened my mouth and inserted my foot, so thank you Solomon for reminding me to “Be not quick in your spirit to become angry, for anger lodges in the bosom of fools” (Eccl 7:9), so “Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense” (Prov 19:11). There are times when we’re better off not saying anything at all.

Quick on the Trigger

Maybe you’ve heard the phrase, “They’re trigger happy.” This means, it won’t take much for them to explode. Maybe they’ve not thought it out or rested in the sovereignty of God. Paul says we must put “put away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth” (Col 3:8). We can look at the source of our anger and ask, “What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask” (James 4:1-2). We all ought to examine our own heart to examine our own motives. We know that it is in our best interests to leave it up to God and “wait for the LORD…” (Psalm 37:9). The quick-tempered or “hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger quiets contention” (Prov 15:18). That means we have a choice in the matter. We cannot control how others behave…we can only control how we respond to it, but it starts with controlling our anger.  James is right; this is the way many wars have started…over land rights…mineral rights…water rights…timber, and so on.

Anger’s Danger

What Does The Bible Say Hell Is LikeProverbs 16:32 states that “Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city” (Prov 16:32). Perhaps that means cooler heads will prevail and the slow-to-anger man or woman can work out agreements between people (and nations!). How many examples in life have you seen that prove “A man of quick temper acts foolishly, and a man of evil devices is hated” (Prov 14:17)? I can think of several occasions, but we must choose to “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice” (Eph 4:31). It’s definitely a good idea to “Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man, lest you learn his ways and entangle yourself in a snare” (Prov 22:24-25). Jesus saw anger is being close to murder in the heart and said, “that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire” (Matt 5:22).

Conclusion

The Apostle Paul wants to keep us humble, so he reminds us that even “while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life” (Rom 5:10). God died for ungodly, wicked sinners, who were His enemies (Rom 5:6-10), and by the way, that was us! So ask yourself, as I do, how can we show anger to others when God’s anger has been satisfied in Christ? God died for an enemy…and that was us! How many of us would die for an enemy? Not many, I would guess. We might die for a family member or someone else we love, like a best friend, but I can’t imagine sinful human beings dying for someone who is evil, wicked, and is their arch enemy. That’s just how amazing God’s grace is. God gives us what we don’t deserve (grace), and then doesn’t give us what we really do deserve (His wrath), and that’s mercy. If we are to be more like God, we will be slow to anger; we will trust the sovereignty of God Who will judge all things; and we will recognize that God died for us…a sinner who deserved hell…“a brand plucked from the fire” (Zech 3:2). Jesus came to give His life as a ransom for us (Mark 10:45), so after all this, how can we be angry at people, knowing that they too are created in the image of God (Gen 1:26-27)?

Here is some related reading for you: Amazing KJV Bible Verses About Anger and Wrath

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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