“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.” -Ephesians 4:31
No one enjoys being around an angry person for very long. You just never now what might happen. The sin of anger can be a sharp rock in our shoe that throws many stones in the pathway of others. Though some personality types are more prone to anger as a response, there is no excuse for this sin which so quickly separates us from one another and God. You may say, “Hey, what about righteous anger?” We will consider that. First, let’s look at two parts of anger, which will help us understand the root of the problem.
Anger is a strong response to something or someone that disturbs us. Often, we see this in small children when they are not getting their way. We could call it selfishness, but on a deeper level it has to do with our rights being violated. We think we deserve something, and we are not getting it. What follows in most cases is an outburst of anger. A teacher once said, “Most believers have dealt with their wrongs, but what they really need to do is nail their rights to the Cross.”
A right is defined as, “Something that is due to a person by law, tradition, or nature.” When someone mistreats, annoys, or irritates us, our rights rise up in protest. “You deserve better than that!” The truth of the matter is maybe you do, but anger is not the attitude for fixing the problem. In the New Testament it says, “My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.” (James 1:19-20) Our anger is not the method for resolving problems, even when there’s injustice.
Anger is a natural and sometimes automatic reaction to hurt or conflict. Scriptures tell us, “In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry…” (Ephesians 4:26) Here we see two helpful things. It is possible to get angry and not sin, but don’t allow your anger to stay past, “the sun going down.” One sister was having a terrible time controlling her temper. Such a habit of violence was there, that she often would throw kitchen utensils in all directions when things made her angry. One pastor visited her and said, “You may not be able to stop yourself from getting angry, but close your fists real tight lifting them up to God alone and then open your hands and release the anger to Him, and let Him make things right.” Within a matter of months, this sister was free from a lifelong habit of violent flare-ups. Trusting Him to correct things and saying “I am sorry” to those we’ve hurt with our tempers, are two things that will help us shake the rock of anger out of our shoe.
“But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth.” -Colossians 3:8
“The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.” -Galatians 5:19-21
Prayer for Anger:
“Lord I look to you for help. Sometimes my anger is on the inside and sometimes it explodes on the outside, but I ask for Your support. I can’t do this without You. I want to be a person who has self-control, and I want to be able to ‘deny myself’ as You said. My desire is to, ‘walk in a manner worthy of You’ and to please You in all respects. I want my life to shine joy instead of anger, and forgiveness instead of spite. I ask for Your Holy Spirit to work inside me and teach me a better way. I thank You for Your love and that You will be ‘a present help in times of trouble.’” In Jesus’ Name, amen.”