God's Answer to Anger
There are some people who make excuses for their anger. They say, "It just runs in my family." They are like a loaded shotgun with a hair trigger. Anytime they are jostled, they blast away. Then they say, "Oh, well, my anger only lasts a little while." Well, so do tornadoes, but look at what damage they can cause!
Let's see what the Bible, particularly the book of Proverbs has to say about being quick to get angry:
* "The discretion of a man deferreth his anger; and it is his glory to pass over a transgression. The king's wrath is as the roaring of a lion; but his favour is as dew upon the grass" (Proverbs 19:11-12).
* "A wrathful man stirreth up strife: but he that is slow to anger appeaseth strife" (Proverbs 15:18).
* "Go not forth hastily to strive, lest thou know not what to do in the end thereof, when thy neighbor hath put thee to shame" (Proverbs 25:8).
When you are quick to get angry, you can lose so much — your job, friends, children, wife, health, testimony — there is nothing more debilitating to your Christian testimony than for you to fly off the handle.
If we repress our anger rather than confess it, our anger can do all kinds of damage. You may say that you're not angry but your stomach will keep the score. So, the first thing you must do to control your anger is to confess it to the Lord. Tell Him, "There's something moving in me I don't like. And I need You to take control of me and prevent me from acting uncontrollably or unrighteously."
Someone has well said that if you repress anger it is like lighting a wastebasket, putting it in a closet, and closing the door. It may burn itself out or it may burn the house down. If you want to get control, the very first thing you need to do is open the closet door and say. "There it is, Lord. It's in there. Put out the fire."
Consider Our Anger
When you take a step back from your anger and begin to seek understanding from the Lord, He will show you the answer. It is so important to analyze the source of your anger, so you don't go off half-cocked. Psalm 4:4 says, "Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still."
God promises He will show us the way if we will seek Him. "I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with Mine eye" (Psalm 32:8). And don't look around at the world to see how they are handling it, look to God. Romans 12:2 says, "And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."
Now, you're ready to work on controlling your anger. You say, "I can't control it." Oh, yes you can. One day you may be having one of those discussions that can be heard about two blocks away and suddenly the phone rings. One of you stomps over to the phone, jerks it off its base, and says, "Hellooooo." Now, don't tell me you can't turn it on and off. You can! Proverbs 29:11 says, "A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards." Fools spout off anything and everything, but a wise man can choose to control his tongue.
There it is, confess, consider, and control. Now, I don't guarantee that you will no longer struggle with anger, but if you can get down these basics, you are well on your way. For further study, you may want to look at ordering one of the following sermons at the LWF bookstore (http://www.lwf.org), which target residual affects of anger, including bitterness, an unforgiving spirit, and more:
2027 The Blight of Bitterness Heb. 12:14
1272 How to Turn Bitterness into Blessings II Kings 2:19
1425 Forgiveness Matt. 18:21-35
1694 The Freedom of Forgiveness Matt. 6:9-15
If you feel you have an anger issue that needs immediate professional attention, we recommend that you contact one of the following national Christian counseling referral agencies:
Rapha Christian Counseling 1-800-383-4673
New Life Counseling 1-800-NEW-LIFE (639-5433)
American Association Of Christian Counselors 1-800-5-COUNSEL