The Nature of Anger
Anger is an emotion almost everyone experiences. At its very core, it is disturbance and frustration that can vary from a minor annoyance to a seething rage. The Bible reflects upon this part of human nature, providing insight into the nature of anger and offering guidance on how best to handle it and even how to find peace in the midst of it.
One of the most well known verses on anger is Ephesians 4:26 – “Be angry, but do not sin”. The first part of the verse appears to challenge a popular notion – that all anger is inherently wrong. Instead, the passage suggests that there can be a right kind of anger. Furthermore, it implies that all anger can be judged valid if it is expressed in an appropriate way.
Another interesting insight the Bible provides into our rationale when experiencing anger is from Proverbs 14:17 – “A quick-tempered person does foolish things”. This verse points out that our ability to think rationally is heavily compromised as emotion takes over.
Dangers of Anger
Proverbs 16:32 illuminates a danger of floating anger – “Better to have patience than power; better control your temper than to take a city”. In this case, the danger comes from allowing unexpressed or unresolved anger to fester and it can be powerful.
A hot temper is another danger. Proverbs 29:22 states “An angry person stirs up conflict, and a hot-tempered person magnifies mistakes”. When anger is expressed without restraint, it can lead to conflict with those we love and regretful words, causing lasting damage. Moreover, it can lead us to commit sinful acts as described in James 1:20 – “Human anger does not produce the righteous life that God desires”.
The Bible also offers wisdom on how to control our anger. Proverbs 15:1 instructs – “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger”. This verse suggests that no matter how we are feeling, it is essential to be conscious of our words and tone used when communicating with others.
Similarly, Proverbs 16:32 provides another insight on how to control anger – “Those who control their temper have great understanding; those with a hasty temper will make mistakes”. This particular verse focuses more on prevention rather than reaction as a tool to manage our emotions. It suggests that if we are mindful of our anger before it takes over, we can prevent ourselves from making mistakes in the heat of the moment.
Sometimes it is hard to control our anger or to even prevent it from happening. In such cases, it is essential to have good strategies to deal with it constructively. James 1:19 offers advice on how to defuse our anger and take the time necessary to deal with it – “Be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry”.
The Bible then also goes a step further in being incredibly practical about how to come to terms with our anger in Psalm 37:8 – “Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not worry – it only leads to evil”. This verse provides disciplined guidance to help us negotiate and come to terms with our anger.
Finally, the Bible offers us hints on how to make peace with our anger and to find a resolution. Paul’s words in Ephesians 4:31 – “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger” describes the process of resolving our anger as a 3-step process involving bitterness, rage and anger. Furthermore, he encourages us to also include forgiveness in our process in Ephesians 4:32 – “And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God forgave you in Christ.”
Applying Biblical Wisdom
The Bible holds wisdom for managing anger that many of us can benefit from. It does not necessarily suggest that we never express anger or that it’s wrong; it does, however, point to the importance of being mindful of our anger and to express it constructively. Trying to stay conscious of our angry thoughts, words and behaviors as we go through life can help us to stay true to our objectives and can help others around us to be understanding and supportive.
Wisdom of Others
It can also be helpful to seek out the wisdom of others when dealing with our anger. Talking to a trusted friend or mentor can help us to gain a different perspective and to feel more optimistic in finding a resolution. Above all, the best wisdom we can seek is God’s wisdom as He is the source of strength, forgiveness and understanding.
Dealing with Anger
The Bible offers many poetic words throughout its pages that can provide encouragement and wisdom when dealing with anger. It calls upon us to be mindful of our words and to practice patience and temperance to control our anger. By doing this, we can diffuse challenging situations and channel our anger constructively. Similarly, we must have faith that God can bring us reconciliation and forgiveness from our mistakes when we choose to make peace with our anger.
Time for Reflection
In order to deal with our anger, it is important to reflect on it and often this requires taking a step back. Taking the time to fight for peace can be incredibly challenging and it is advisable to pray for strength and guidance. Consider seeking the thoughts and advice of others too as they may be able to offer alternative perspectives and insight that can help to make a challenging situation easier.
Seeking Stress Relief
Sometimes dealing with anger can be very exhausting; hence we must look for ways to de-stress. It can be helpful to do activities such as going for a walk in nature, reading a book, listening to calming music or anything else that helps us to feel relaxed. Moreover, prayer is always a great source of strength and comfort.
Finally, it is important to remember that it is possible to transform our anger into something positive. When we have faith, we can use our anger to help not just ourselves, but others too. We can, for example, be inspired by Jesus’ acts of kindness, mercy and understanding, learning and integrating many of the lessons that are described in the Bible, into our everyday life.