We all get angry at some point. For the lucky ones, anger is a fleeting emotion they experience before returning to their usual happy state. For others, it’s a daily emotion that’s almost impossible to snap out of.
Anger in itself isn’t a sin, since Jesus got angry (Mark 3:5; John 2:13–22) and God (the Father) is seen to be angry and wrathful (1 Kings 11:9; Romans 1:18; Romans 5:9; John 3:36); if it were a sin then God wouldn’t get angry since He is perfect and doesn’t sin (Psalm 18:30). However, unrighteous anger stemming from sinful desires is something we should avoid.
It’s understandable that we get angry but we mustn’t let it linger or turn into sin (Psalm 37:8). We need to be patient and control ourselves.
“Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil. — Ephesians 4:26–27 (NKJV)
For those of you who tend to find that anger controls you instead of the other way around, this post is for you — try these out today.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. — Philippians 4:6–9 (NIV)
As with all situations, pray first. If you find yourself seeing red or about to crack, take a moment to pray first. This will give you a chance to steer your mind in a different direction from whatever it is you’re about to say or do, and allow God into the heart of the situation (aka your heart).
Learn to be patient
Whoever is patient has great understanding, but one who is quick-tempered displays folly. — Proverbs 14:29 (NIV)
A little bit of patience can go a long way. It allows you to think before speaking and especially before acting. When you’re patient, you’re less likely to lose your temper and do something sinful.
An angry person stirs up conflict, and a hot-tempered person commits many sins. — Proverbs 29:22 (NIV)
When you’re patient, you’re more likely to listen to others and you have a higher chance of walking away from a situation before doing anything impulsive. The more patience you have, the less likely you are to start conflict. The Bible considers it wise to be patient and slow to anger.
My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. — James 1:19–20 (NIV)
A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense. — Proverbs 19:11 (NIV)
Love your neighbours and treat them as you’d like to be treated
For the entire law if fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” — Galatians 5:14 (NIV)
When you’re in the heat of the moment, it’s so easy to forget about the second most important commandment, ‘Love your neighbour as yourself’ (Matthew 22:36–40). Try to remember this before you speak. And then remember that we need to treat others as we’d like to be treated.
So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. — Matthew 7:12 (NIV)
Love your enemies
Following on from the previous point, we also need to love our enemies. It’s so easy to only love people who love us, but as true Christians, we need to love everyone (Luke 6:32–33).
But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. — Luke 6:27–30 (NIV)
Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. — Ephesians 4:31 (NIV)
Don’t hold on to the past, or past hurts will always be lingering in the back of your mind and resurface at every opportunity it can. Have you ever found yourself in an argument with someone (most probably a boyfriend or husband) and somehow, the past weasels its way back into the argument? Or have you just held a really, really long grudge and every time you see that person you get a little angrier?
Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. — Colossians 3:13 (NIV)
Accept the fact that some things are out of your hands
Sometimes anger stems from frustration and feeling out of control. You need to acknowledge and accept the fact that you can’t control everything. Some things are completely out of your hands. Yes, it leaves you feeling helpless, frustrated, and maybe hopeless. But if you go through life expecting to control everything, you might just go through life angry and frustrated when you can’t. It’s okay to feel frustrated but remind yourself that you need to trust God’s plan and God’s timing, because He’s got everything under control.
Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails. — Proverbs 19:21 (NIV)
Recognise that self-control a fruit of the Holy Spirit
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. — Galatians 5:22–23 (NIV)
The Holy Spirit produces these characteristics for Christians. Both these verses refer to self-control and self-discipline. When we get angry, we lose control and allow anger to take over. With a bit of self-control, we can acknowledge the fact that we’re angry, stop ourselves from acting in sin, and move on.
For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. — 2 Timothy 1:7 (NIV)
The Bible tells us to control our anger
The Bible says we should refrain from anger, and since it’s the word of God (2 Timothy 3:16), we should listen.
Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret — it leads only to evil. — Psalm 37:8 (NIV)
We’re also advised not to act on our anger against other people, and leave vengeance to God.
But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. — Colossians 3:8 (NIV)
Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. — Romans 12:19 (NIV)
Do you find yourself getting angrier than you should at times? What do you find helps you manage your anger?