“Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath. . . . Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth… Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice (Ephesians 4:26-31, NKJV).
If you are like most people, hardly a day goes by that you don’t encounter situations that make you angry—people who break line, hectic traffic, an employer who criticizes and blames unjustly, your best friend’s betrayal, your spouse’s infidelities, your child’s deviant lifestyle, or sexual abuse.
You are angry and miserable. Your mind screams for revenge. You want to tell people off. You are ready to fight. But as a Christian, how should you handle such burning anger? Most of us don’t think of the Bible as a textbook on anger control. But the Apostle Paul’s treatment of the subject in Ephesians is effective in modern-day psychology.
Biblical Steps to Handling Anger
First, Paul says it’s all right to be angry. There are a lot of injustices and actual crimes that should make a Christian angry. The qualifier is, “Don’t Sin.” Don’t do something that hurts you or others or breaks your relationship with God.
Second, get rid of the anger as soon as possible. “Don’t let the still go down on your wrath.” Talk about it. Pray for the other person. Reconcile. If you keep the anger and bitterness inside, it festers. If you sleep on your anger, it gets processed and filed in your brain, making a more decisive mark on your psyche. The sooner it’s settled, the sooner you can get back on track with God.
Third, don’t let unwholesome talk come out of your mouth! Verbally expressing your anger is damaging. It makes reconciliation difficult, and the risk of heart attack more than doubles in the two hours following an episode of moderate or greater anger. Is it worth it?
Fourth, be kind and tenderhearted. It’s a well-known fact that feelings follow behavior. Act kindly, and your heart will soften. Do something nice for the person who has wronged you. It will surprise you how this prepares you for the final step in anger control.
Fifth, forgive—not because the person has repented or feels sorry, but because God has forgiven you.
The next time you start to get hot under the collar, try handling your anger biblically. Impossible? Remember, Christ makes all things possible!
Forgiving Father, when I get angry, help me to do what Jesus would do.
Written by Gladys Hollingsead© 2002 - 2024, AnswersForMe.org. All rights reserved. Click here for content usage information.