Anger in itself is not bad, the bible says; Be angry, yet do not sin (Ephesians 4:26). This verse acknowledges that anger is a feeling that we will experience while living in this world. Moreover, God himself is angry with the wicked every day (Psalm 7:11), and with good reason.
Anger can be an indicator that something is not right, or that something is unjust. Anger can also be a great motivator for us to exercise Gods righteous justice upon earth.
The problem with anger is not the overwhelming influence that it has upon us, but the sinful outcome that is expressed through our actions. We have a sin nature that is deeply embedded whithin our DNA ( look up DNA and Epigenetics). Due to our sinful predispositions, human anger motivates us to act in evil ways that hurt ourselves, and others. That is why the Bible says that human anger does not produce the righteousness of God. This verse suggests that since we humans have a sinful nature, we need to learn God's proper way of handling feelings of anger. We do this by seeking God's correct, and righteous judgements and response to anger according to his word.
What is Anger?
Anger is a secondary emotion springing up from a primary cause.
Here is a list of the underlying triggers of anger:
Injustices & Inconsiderations
Unforgiveness & Bitterness
Not getting our way, Selfishness, Control
Controlling Anger, Gods Way:
Step 1: Remain Silent and Think About it Overnight
Psalm 4:4 says,
Don't sin by letting anger control you. Think about it overnight and remain silent.
This verse does not mean that you have to keep anger to yourself. But what it does mean, is to steer away from the impulse of lashing out in anger until you can seek God and his instruction, on how to deal with your situation and emotions.
James 1;19 emphasizes the same thing as Psalm 4:4 in a more detailed manner. Take a look:
Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.
Lashing out at someone in anger points to the fact that we have already made a pre-judgement about the situation. To make a judgment without asking questions first and listening, is silly. That is why the Bible tells us to be quick to listen. Being quick to listen implies that we should gather information before presuming that we know what is going on. Furthermore, while we collect this information, we should be slow to speak and slow to get angry until we have come to a conclusion.
Notice here how the Bible does not deny us the emotion of anger. Remember that anger is a God-given emotion that warns us that something is not right, and if handled correctly, a lot of good can come from it.
Anger releases a lot of bad energy. Come up with a plan as to how your going to realease that negative energy before a confrontation happens.
Go for a walk/run (optional),journal your feelings, pray about the issue at hand and seeks God’s understanding through his word. Then Journal step 2. Doing this will help you think about why you are angry. This process will also allow time for God to work in your heart and the other persons heart through prayer.
Step 2: Look For The Underlying Reason for Your Anger
The Bible says in Proverbs 14:29, that:
People with understanding control their anger, but a hot temper shows great foolishness.
A hot-tempered person is a person that is quick to get angry. The Bible describes a person who chooses to control their anger, as a person who has understanding.
Seek Gods understanding about what is causing you to become angry, and how to deal with the primary root of your anger. Once you have found the root of your anger, go to God and His word to learn how to handle your situation and emotions. The Bible is filled with advice on dealing with emotions like jealousy, fear, neglect, bitterness, Abuse and unforgiveness. The Bible also clearly directs us on how to deal with unjust situations and people who sin against us.
For more detail on how to handle abuse, please read the post I wrote called: "Enabling Sinful Behavior." It is not Gods will for you to stay in a dangerous and Abusive situation. A person you love can be given the chance to learn to control their anger, while you separate yourself from the abuser, and seek shelter in a safe place.
Step 3: Deal with the Issue at Hand
After properly pinpointing the root cause of your anger, and how to deal with it; DEAL WITH IT. DO NOT ignore, suppress, or avoid a problem because you dislike confrontation. Anger can be a sign that something is not right. If you ignore this warning, the next time another issue occurs, your feelings of anger will increase, and your ability to handle the situation properly will decrease.
Step 4: Set Your Mind on the Realities of Heaven
The Bible says in Colossians 3:1-10
"Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. 2 Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth.3 For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God.4 And when Christ, who is your[a] life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory.5 So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world. 6 Because of these sins, the anger of God is coming.[b] 7 You used to do these things when your life was still part of this world. 8 But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language. 9 Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds. 10 Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him."
Setting our sights on the realities of heaven simply means to place your thoughts on what Christ is doing through the situation you're dealing with. We have two realities; the reality of earth, and the reality of heaven. A good example of this is found in Isaiah 40:30-31, which says:
"Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion.31 But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles.They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint."
This verse acknowledges the fact that we all get tired. But it also points out that in the midst of being tired, we can cry out to God for His energy and strength. By doing this, the writer acknowledges the realities of the earth by saying that we become tired, but also acknowledges the realities of heaven by saying that God can give us strength from His unlimited resources.
In verse 2 of Colossians 3, God asks us to consciously and diligently think about the things of heaven. He doesn't leave us hanging. He tells us how to do it. In verse 5-10, he gives us a little recipe to deal with reoccurring anger and bitterness. These are the instructions found in those verses:
Get rid of anger by putting it to death
Put on your new nature as you learn to know your Creator
I love how the Bible tells us to get rid of our anger and put to death. The Bible tells us to kill anger by putting it on a starvation diet and not feeding it. The verses read, Have nothing to do with anger (vs.5), get rid of anger (vs.8), stop being angry and turn from rage (psalm37:8).
When I first read that, I wondered how in the world I was just going to stop being angry. It seemed impossible to me to just SIMPLY STOP being angry. But this is not what these verses mean. What these verses imply, is that we have a choice to keep thinking about what is making us angry, or to stop thinking about it. God advises us to choose correctly, and abstain from feeding angry thoughts. The Bible tells us that we should replace angry thoughts by placing our mind on Christ until we can figure out the situation.
When we become angry, we can call on the spirit of God to help us practice self-control, so that we do not allow any unhealthy and unchecked thoughts into our mind. This is what it means to ACTIVELY put on "our new nature." Putting on our new nature is a choice that we make when we choose to stop, repent, and submit our will to Gods will. The more we surrender this area of our life, the more victory we will gain over it. Moreover, we will also get to know our Creator as we experience His power and faithfulness. When we experience Gods power, our joy becomes complete as we see God taking an active role in our lives, and what was once a gloomy day turns into an AWESOME day.
Step 5: Own Your Anger
Set limits for yourself. Like I said before, anger is always a secondary emotion that signals to an underlying problem. We live in a real world, with real limitations. God was the one who set these limitations in place for our blessing. Once in a while, these limitations are altered due to special life circumstances; like having a newborn. In these unique life circumstances, we can ask God for strength, and he will come through for us, just as he promised. But beware of trying to use God's resources to excuse an undisciplined lifestyle. The Bible is clear; you cannot fool God, you will reap what you sow. And if you are sowing to your flesh, you will reap corruption from it.
Now, If you're experiencing an unusual excess amount of stress and frustration, or if your feeling very short-tempered frequently, go to a doctor and check your health. Sometimes our mood can get crazy due to hormones levels, diet or bad sleeping habits. If your severely aggressive and you're not normally an aggressive person, check yourself for brain tumors. Brain tumors are becoming very prevalent, and they cause excess and abnormal aggression.
Overall, Know your boundaries and get some rest if you are feeling tired. Ask God for help in getting to know your limits. Don't set yourself up for failure. If you're getting 5 hours of sleep every night and your the one that is to blame for that, then irritation is what you have reaped for being irresponsible. Become disciplined with Gods help. He has given you a spirit of power and self-control.
Step 6: Rule Over Anger
Anger might seem like a huge giant that we cannot subdue, but we are not fighting this battle alone. We are fighting this battle with God. The Bible says in 1 Peter 5b-9 that:
5b-"God opposes the proud but favors the humble.”6So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. 7Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.8Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. 9Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith.
Our victory is won by our submission to God. In the midst of our rage, we can choose to go to God and lay our burdens at his feet, by humbling ourselves under his mighty power. As we do this he promises to lift us up in Honor.
There are other verses in the Bible that encourage us to Trust God to take care of our problem in the midst anger. Take a look at verses I compiled together:
Don’t fret (have anxiety or worry) about the wicked or envy those who do wrong (Psalm 37) Don’t worry about evil people who prosper or fret (be anxious) about their wicked schemes(Psalm 37). Don’t sin by letting anger control you.“Control your temper, Do not lose your temper— it only leads to harm.” Stop being angry! (Psalm 37)Turn from your rage for anger labels you a fool. (Ecclesiastes 7:9)“Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.(James 1:20)” Trust in the Lord and do good. Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and he will help you. He will make your innocence radiate like the dawn, and the justice of your cause will shine like the noonday sun (Psalm37). Those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31) Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act (Psalm 37) Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil.”(Ephesians 4:26-27)Think about it overnight and remain silent (Psalm 4:4).
This list suggests that there is a component of trusting God when we choose to let go of anger. When we decide to let go of anger we are choosing to give God room for his justice. Take a look at what Romans 12 says about anger, and the justice of God:
12 And so, dear brothers and sisters,[a] I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.[b] 2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say,
“I will take revenge;
I will pay them back,”[g]
says the Lord.
“If your enemies are hungry, feed them.
If they are thirsty, give them something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap
burning coals of shame on their heads.”[h]
21 Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.
Important Note: Please don't take this verse out of context and excuse not confronting an issue after you have followed steps 1-3 on this post. When we obey God despite how we feel, he will make us victorious over Anger.
I have struggled GREATLY with this sin. And if I am not careful I could easily revert back to my old ways, and loose progress. But as I continue to seek God in repentance, being willing to submit to his healing, this sin continues to loose its power over me. This requires trusting God. Sometimes it's scary to trust God when someone has hurt us. We feel that repaying a person with the same token of evil is fair and pleasing. But revenge is not justified when we know our Creator and what He has done for us. He has however, still given us the free will to take anger into our hands. But if we do, we will reap the consequences of this sin. Take a look at what God says when we take His judgment seat instead of our lowly seat, at his feet when it comes to this issue:
“Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. 2 For you will be treated as you treat others.[a] The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.[b]
3 “And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye[c] when you have a log in your own? 4 How can you think of saying to your friend,[d] ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye?5 Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.
21 “You have heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.’[c] 22 But I say, if you are even angry with someone,[d] you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot,[e] you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone,[f] you are in danger of the fires of hell.[g]
23 “So if you are presenting a sacrifice[h] at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, 24 leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God.
25 “When you are on the way to court with your adversary, settle your differences quickly. Otherwise, your accuser may hand you over to the judge, who will hand you over to an officer, and you will be thrown into prison. 26 And if that happens, you surely won’t be free again until you have paid the last penny.[i]
Anger has a lot to do with Fear. Fear of letting go and letting God handle the situation through our obedience to him, in taking the steps above. Fear becomes our biggest motivator of anger when we fear the unknown of being wronged or abused. This fear can come from a lot of pain in our past. But when we come to God, God gently asks us to lay that fear aside, so that he can heal us and we could learn from Him. He asks us to take a leap of faith and trust him. God never asks us to trust him without first showing us that he is trustworthy. If you look closely at your past, or the evidence that God has provided for his death and resurrection, you will find that God does not ask us to take a leap of faith without providing good evidence for His trustworthy character. God is gentle, kind and reasonable. He promised to strengthen us when we become weak. And He encourages us not to give up hope with His love. He heals us and teaches us with all patience and grace. It is Gods love that brings us to repentance, and He has enough love to cover this sin (Romans 2:4 &1Peter 4:8).
If we choose to rebel against God and listen to the fearful voices inside of our head instead of listening to him, we will reap what Matthew 5:21-26 says; As harshly as we judge others, we will be judged. Our conscience is the one who renders this judgment. That is why verse 25 says, settle your differences quickly. God encourages us to repent and turn away from wrath as soon as possible, and to make things right by obeying his word. When we don't obey Gods word, the enemy of our faith accuses us to God and ourselves. We fall captive to this accusation if we have not forgiven others, because deep down we know that we cannot justify our sinful behaviors based on someone else's sin. The prison that we are thrown into is the prison of condemnation. The only one who could free us from the prison of condemnation, is God in his mercy and forgiveness. The Bible says in 1John 1:9,
But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.
But it also says in Matthew 6:15,
But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.
This is the reason why verse 26 says that we will not be able to escape prison until we have paid our last the last penny.
We don't have to learn the wrong way. Even if we sin, we can make peace with God by seeking his forgiveness and giving that same forgiveness away to our enemies.
Here is a song that reminds me to lay my feelings of anger and pain at Gods feet. And to trust God to follow through with keeping His word, after we have kept His. The chorus of this song encourages me to worship God in the midst of waiting for his just rendering to my situation.
Step 7: Anger Detox
Anger is a flaring emotion. If we are going to put up a fight against it, we better be ready. We can take an active role in fighting back, by doing a mental Detox on Anger.
Here is a practical way to do this mental Detox:
Write the anger verse of your choice on a note card (or any other verse God has given you for anger) and have it ready to pop it out anytime your temper flairs.
When you are angry read the verse over and over to yourself, place your trust in God, by walking away from the situation and following steps 1-7 on this post.
Repeat Steps 1-7, from this post as needed in your journey.
If you do this you will be ready to replace any lie of the enemy that is stored in deep within your subconscious. You can change any thought or memory stored in your brain by coming against it with the word of God, this is a scientific fact. For more information on the scientific process of thought replacement or the "renewal of our mind" as God calls it, read Dr. Leafs book called, "Who Switched Off My Brain." If you do not want to buy the book, you can check out her free resources on her website. I have added the link to her site on this website under our "Wisdom Resources" page, labeled Mental Health. Although, I do recommend her books, you don't need them if you just obey God, and put to practice the practical advice given here.
Facts About the Root of Bitterness
According to science, our thoughts resemble trees. Henceforth, in science, our thoughts are called the "magical trees of the mind". According to science, the more you think about a thought, the stronger it gets, and the larger that thought tree grows. The Bible confirms this by saying that bitterness is a root. God's word goes even further by telling us to be careful not to let the root of bitterness grow in us due to its corruptive properties (Hebrews 12:15). In other words, God encourages us not to feed our thoughts of anger and bitterness by dwelling on them, because if we do, they will take root in our hearts and corrupt our thought life and attitudes.
The Bible advises us to handle anger properly. It tells us to be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to get angry. This is done by:
Walking away from the situation to abstain from lashing out in our hurt.
Analyzing the situation.
Bringing it to God so that he could direct our actions.
Confronting the situation in proper timing.
Extending forgiveness to the other party.
Keeping our thoughts on Christ instead replaying the same scenario in our heads.
The Bible calls this process, sowing to the spirit. And when we sow to the Spirit, the word of God says that we reap life. Science and psychology confirm these facts. Anger and Bitterness cause mental degeneration and physical health issues. It is so Important to learn how to handle this intense and passionate emotion the right way.
*** Note: As you read this post, keep in mind that our relationship with God is not a relationship of works. We are called to practice handling our anger correctly because it is the best thing for us and others around us. We cannot change unless God changes our hearts and mind. And this change takes time and patience. Remember that the seed that bore much fruit in the parable of the sower, was the seed that was planted on good soil; and it says of that seed that it gave much fruit with patience. We have to be patient with ourselves and not give up. When we fail, Gods grace is enough for us, and his mercies are new every morning.
Luke 18:15 says,
As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word,
hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience.
And about the righteous man it says,
He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither.