The dictionary defines "anger" as, "a strong feeling of displeasure and belligerence aroused by a wrong; wrath; ire." Anger is an important thing to handle correctly. Anger has led to the death of many, the degrading of relationships and friendships, wars, it has incited wrath, and other such things. But at the same time, it can be used for correction, if properly utilized. It has been said that anger is sin, and therefore Jesus sinned when He was angry in the Temple at Jerusalem. Is there any credence to this claim, or is it simply a misunderstanding of anger? In this entry, we seek how to properly handle anger.[1, "anger." Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. 03 May. 2011.
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Understand that everyone, in some way, struggles with anger. You are not alone. By His grace, God has given us guidelines and principles to help us to overcome sinful anger, and to keep ourselves under control. Anger is not always a sin, as some believe. The Bible approves of what we call "righteous anger." When Jesus entered into the Temple and saw that it was a market-place, He became angry and "made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables." Jesus was exhibiting "righteous anger," that is, the defense of others, not of oneself.
According to James 1:20, "...our anger does not produce righteousness that God desires." In other words, when it is selfishly motivated, that is when anger turns into sin. Anger also turns to sin when God's goal is ignored, and when we allow anger to linger and build up. (see Ephesians 4:26-27) Ephesians 4:29 conveys, "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." This includes degrading others in your anger, yelling at them in an incorrect approach, slandering, swearing at them, and cursing.
Romans 3:13-14 says, "'Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit.' 'The poison of vipers is on their lips.'" (Quoting Psalm 5:9; 140:3) Poisonous speech is a characteristic every fallen person has. Proverbs 29:11 says, "Fools give full vent of their anger, but the wise bring calm in the end." When we allow our anger to take control of us, we lose sensibility and our actions can have disastrous consequences. We must keep ourselves in check.
How then can anger be dealt with? Proverbs 28:13, "Those who conceal their sins do not prosper, but those who confess and renounce them find mercy." First, confess your sins to God, and realize that it is your own doing, do not shift the blame to others. Anger can be handled in a biblical manner. James 1:2-4 conveys, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." We all go through difficult and stressful times, but this develops perseverance.
Likewise, such experiences and challenges help to shape and define you, as well as refine you. If you choose to reject the lessons you have learned, you are bound to learn them again, and the next time it may not be learned as easily. Take the experiences you have had, the challenges you have faced, accept them, and face life head-on. Trust in God, (Proverbs 3:5-6) and He will direct your paths. In all this, do no worry. "Can any one of you by worrying add even a single hour to your life?" (Matthew 6:27)
Understanding that God is in control can radically change our perspective on life. When we begin to understand and believe this, we start to see God's hand in the trials and tribulations we face. Biblically speaking, allow room for God's wrath, not your own. God seeks justice and will have justice, because he is a just and faithful God. (1st John 1:9) Romans 12:21 says, "Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." Your heart can be altered by your actions, and it is better to do so in a positive manner, therefore, do not return evil with evil, but return evil with good.
Ephesians 4:15 reads, "Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the head, that is, Christ." Verses 25-28 say, "Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 'In your anger do not sin': Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. Those who have been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need." Verses 30-32 conclude, "And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 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."
Speak candidly, be open and honest, when communicating to solve an issue. Also, do not allow whatever may be bothering you build up until it boils over like tea in a kettle - share and deal with the issue before it gets to that point. As Ephesians 4:29 and 31 succinctly point out, we are not to attack the person, but the problem itself. We must also act decisively and not react in an angry fashion. Think before you act. Understand and know that you cannot control how others act or even react, however, you can control how you act.
It is true that a temper will not go away simply overnight. It is something that takes prayer, regular reading of God's Word, trusting in God, and accepting responsibility, "facing the music." Sinful anger can become a bit of a habit in our day-to-day lives, yet if we begin to respond in godly anger, if we get rid of anger, malice, rage, bitterness, brawling and slander, perhaps we will habitually begin to be compassionate toward one another, as well as kind. Also note that, according to Scripture, we ought not raise our voices. As Proverbs 15:1 so adequately points out, "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger."
If you react to a situation by raising your voice, reacting in anger without first knowing why, or taking the time to consider the godly thing to do, we can cause a lot of strife, grief, fear, and consequently broken relationships and friendships may ensue. Proverbs 13:10 says, "Where there is strife, there is pride, but wisdom is found in those who take advice." Anger can consume a person if not properly handled, and thankfully, God gives us His guidelines for dealing with anger.
Thank you for reading this entry of "The Truth." Feel free to comment below (yet we ask that you remain civil, or your comment will not be published), email email@example.com or The Truth Ministries team at firstname.lastname@example.org, visit our facebook page, or visit our ministry website. Take care, dear reader, trust in the Lord in all you do, and He will direct you. God bless! Troy Hillman