If more people would deal with their anger issues many of our social problems would be minimized. It is a cause of broken relationships, domestic battles, and evil acts in our culture. Anger takes many forms, from holding bitterness against another person to physical violence. It reveals itself in our speech, attitudes, and actions.
I was an angry person for many years-angry at myself, God, and other people. I still have angry outbursts from time to time and I get angry a lot less than I used to, but it must be my mindset to get rid of all angry outbursts because the Bible commands it. For me, there were events and wrong ways of thinking that brought it on. In fact, being angry had become an habitual way of reacting to things. My life reached a climax where I had to deal with it or there could be very negative consequences.
Through counseling, reading books, and thinking through how I could respond constructively instead of reacting negatively, I started to master my anger, but it still took years to do it. Anger is not easy to overcome. For me it required mental focus to consciously apply strategies to situations I knew could make me angry. I had to plan ahead how I would respond to something without getting upset.
From page 84 in my book, “GOD’S HEALING HOPE:BREAKING THE STRONGHOLDS OF WRONG THINKING,” here are strategies that have proven helpful to me.
1. I have to own the problem. “Blowing up” or yelling is never justified and accomplishes nothing.
2. I need to recognize what sorts of things or situations make me angry.
3. When I know in advance that I might have a situation that has the potential to make me react, I can plan in advance how I can respond in a non-destructive way.
4. I think of positive alternatives to dealing with the anger, like going for a walk, or going outside and working in the yard. Sometimes I may have to plan what I am going to say.
5. It is important that I vent my anger, and do something to release it, but not around other people.
The Bible also has quite a bit to say about the subject of anger and shares some important principles that an angry person would be wise to heed. Ephesians 4:26-27 speak of the importance of not letting “…the sun go down on your anger” and not giving the “devil an opportunity.” The application of this means to not allow anger to go from one day to the next without dealing with it. In Genesis 4:5-8 Cain is told he needed to master the anger he had against his brother Abel. Because he didn’t, he murdered him. We are told in James 1:19-20 to be “slow to anger, for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.” These are only three of many verses on the subject of anger, but they emphasize the importance of overcoming it.
Another reason for having victory over anger is because it produces stress and even physical problems. Anger and angina, which is defined as “a condition marked by severe pain in the chest…caused by an inadequate blood supply to the heart,” have the same root word. An angry person must come to realize that it is not good for one’s emotional and physical health to be angry.
Are there times when it is acceptable to be angry? Yes, but it is a righteous and controlled anger. It is an emotion like any other emotion. You are rightfully going to be angry if a drunk driver kills a member of your family. Jesus got righteously angry at the people using the synagogue to carry out business, and turned over the tables. I am sure it wasn’t a fly-off-the-handle type of anger, but it was a controlled anger in response to a situation that wasn’t right.
One must also allow the Holy Spirit of God to produce the fruits of the Spirit in his or her life. These are things like love, joy, peace, longsuffering, and patience. This comes through reading the Bible and being sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s conviction in specific areas where anger is a problem. As these qualities take hold more and more, one becomes less of an angry person.
If you are an angry person take steps to deal with it. You will be better off for it, physically and emotionally. Your relationships will improve. Look up in a Bible concordance all of the verses that mention anger. Get some counseling. Develop strategies. Don’t let it fester from day to day, because it doesn’t glorify God and is not exemplary of his righteousness.