Anger & Anger Management
Ephesians 4:25-27 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor: for we are members one of another. 26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: 27 Neither give place to the devil.
Photo by Andre Tan on Unsplash
Jim (not his real name) and his wife were traveling at the speed limit down a long, curvy country road. Both were enjoying the beauty of the country side when another car traveling much faster that it should raced up behind them and rode their bumper. After about a minute the car started flashing its lights and blowing the horn. Jim let anger take him. Before the day was over Jim would kill the other driver, and end up in Federal Prison for manslaughter. A beautiful day turned into several ugly years – all because of uncontrolled anger.
Before the incident Jim was a Deacon in his local Church.. Now in prison anger – like fiery chains – holds his soul enslaved just as surely as the bars hold his body.
What Is “Sin”?
The Bible says “Be ye angry, and SIN not…”. What is this thing we call “sin”?
Sin is the opposite of godliness.
To sin is to walk in a state that God does not endorse. All of us sin at times. In fact, sin is universal among humanity. The Bible declares:
Romans 3:10-12 (KJV) As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
The Bible doesn’t say “there are SOME righteous” but “there are NONE righteous”. The Greek word for SIN is ἁμαρτάνω hamartánō, (pronounced ham-ar-tan’-o) which means “to miss the mark”. God is holy, righteous, and pure. Humans in our natural state are NOT holy, righteous, and pure. We “miss the mark” of God’s righteousness.
SIN is the desire to put SELF FIRST
When God created man He made us to be like Himself. God made us in HIS IMAGE and after HIS LIKENESS.
Genesis 1:26-27 (KJV) …. Let us make man in our image, after our likeness … 27 So God created man in his [own] image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
Man was made in the image of God – but was not made to be God. Adam and Eve were designed to serve God FIRST, and help themselves AFTER. Creation was designed to be very good (Genesis 1:31). Our good God made everything good. Man could have anything but one thing. God told Adam:
Genesis 2:16-17 (KJV) … Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: 17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
Man was given authority over everything, was made in the image of God, was paired with the most beautiful woman in all creation, and placed in a perfect and sinless environment. God only had one condition: do not eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge. God is God and I am not.
God is to be first in my affections, not I. I am to love God and obey God.
SATAN the selfish angel encouraged Adam to put himself rather than God first. He does the same today with all who will listen.
Satan in the guise of a serpent comes into the perfect environment of Eden (see Ezekiel 28:13). What is his message to our forefather? “Go ahead, eat the forbidden! …”
Genesis 3:4-5 (KJV) …. Ye shall not surely die: 5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
Adam put himself in the place of God. He did what God said he should not do. We repeat this pattern daily billions of times throughout the world. Sin is the act of pitting self first – above God and above others.
When Adam took the place of God and made himself first, he brought spiritual death on every living creature and on every child that would be born. Creation itself became me centered instead of God centered. People and even animals are by nature selfish.
The Christian is commanded to put off the works of the flesh – works that are selfish or ME driven.
Galatians 5:19-24 (KJV) Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
Anger or wrath is placed in the list of sins that we are to crucify – nailing it to the Cross. There can be a righteous anger. The Lord our God at times gets ANGRY (see Genesis 18:30; Leviticus 10:2-6; 1 Kings 11:9; Psalm 80:4). Our Lord Jesus at times got ANGRY (see John 11:33). I am reminded of the time that our Lord Jesus …
Mark 11:15-17 (KJV) … Jesus went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves; 16 And would not suffer that any man should carry [any] vessel through the temple. 17 And he taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves.
Jesus got angry, and the Bible says in Hebrews 4:15 that Jesus Christ was without sin. So it is possible to be angry and not sin. But our Galatians list reminds us that unless carefully controlled anger can become sin.
Righteous anger stems from a desire to see God honored.
Human anger stems from a selfish heart.
Human anger focuses on the ME, MYSELF, and I:
Someone cut ME off in traffic
Someone hurt MY feelings
Someone made ME feel little or small
How can he speak to ME that way?
What Is The Source Of My Anger?
In order to control my anger I need to first of all ask myself WHY AM I ANGRY.
Where is the seed of my anger planted?
If it is planted in self or vindication of self then it is unrighteous anger. The Bible says:
James 1:19-20 (KJV) Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: 20 For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.
The “wrath OF MAN” or uncontrolled anger planted in my ego is NEVER productive and ALWAYS destructive. Anger like poison ivy spreads as it touches the soul. It can transmit from one person to another unless it be cut off. Anger is almost like a communicable disease. When one person gets angry that anger generally rubs off on another person, and another and another, until the whole house burns down. This is why the Psalmist wrote:
Psalms 37:8-9 (KJV) Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil. 9 For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth.
There is a righteous anger, for Jesus expressed righteous anger. Neither you nor I are Jesus, but we’re supposed to be like Jesus.
Christ is the Vine, and we are His branches (John 15:5). The fruit that our Lord wants to is not anger, but love, joy, peace, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and tenderness. God does not want our fruit of Anger. We are told to pick that fruit and toss it into the dumpster of the world. The Bible says:
Colossians 3:8-10 (KJV) But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. 9 Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; 10 And have put on the new [man], which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:
Anger leads to wrath. Wrath leads to malice. Malice leads to blasphemy. Blasphemy leads to filthiness. Let’s cut the chain at its head. Now saved, let us put on the new man – we through application of God’s Word and the power of the Holy Spirit seek to be more like Christ.
Like TNT anger can be useful, but only when handled in a constructive manner. Remember that Jesus was only angry a few times in His ministry.
The most important thing for us to remember is that every soul needs to be won to Christ. Let us tell the world of Jesus, loving them, even when they are our enemies. Jesus said:
Matthew 5:43-47 (KJV) Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy. 44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? 47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?
Methods Of Anger Management
The Bible gives us several methods for anger management.
a When angered, ask yourself “Why am I angry”? Determine what soil your anger is rooted in. Is it rooted in LOVE? If so, remember that …
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (KJV) Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, 5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; 6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; 7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
The word translated “provoked” is a Greek word παροξύνω paroxýnō, (pronounced par-ox-oo’-no) which means “to provoke to anger or exasperation”. Often when I am angered it is because I didn’t get my own way. Is that why you are angry? Are you angry because your ego was bruised, your pride was hurt, or because God’s Word was abused by an offending party. The disciple of Christ is ever mindful that the world is watching us. Jesus said:
John 13:35 (KJV) By this shall all [men] know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
The disciple of Christ is distinguished not by whether he is right or wrong, nor by whether or not we get our own way – but by the love that we show to others. Any anger rooted in the ego is unrighteous anger, and counterproductive to our Great Commission and the heart of our Lord.
b When angered, carefully monitor your anger. The Bible says:
Ephesians 4:25-27 (KJV) Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor: for we are members one of another. 26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: 27 Neither give place to the devil.
Do not let anger control you. You need to carefully monitor your anger to insure that the Devil doesn’t get the upper hand. One of my favorite movies is called The Shining. Though the movie has a small amount of foul language in it, it is a great representation as to how the devil can take over a person through anger. Listen Beloved, anger can lead us to make a foolish decision that can cost us our spouse, our children, our families, our jobs, and even our ministries.
Set a time limit on your anger!
The Bible tells us that a good rule of thumb is do not let the sun go down on your anger. Among the Jews the day was reckoned from sunset to sunset. When the sun set a new day began. The Apostle says to us, “Don’t let anger abide in the tent of your life for more than one day”. Anger unresolved over a period of time turns into bitterness that scars the soul.
c Keep your anger in a proper Biblical perspective. Our Lord Jesus said:
Matthew 5:21-22 (KJV) Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: 22 But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.
The Bible tells us that God so loved the world that He gave His only Begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16). When I am angry at a fellow Christian I need to remember that this person – like me – is a Child of God by faith in Christ (Galatians 3:26). If I am angry at my brother without a cause, I am endangering myself, and exposing myself to the Judgment of God. Why? Because the Scripture says:
1 John 3:10 (KJV) In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.
That which shows I am a Child of God is that I do right and love my brother in Christ. If my brother is offended by me then I am to do as Jesus said.
Matthew 5:23-24 (KJV) Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; 24 Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.
I cannot serve the Lord while my brother is alienated from me because of anger. Jesus commanded that we both sit down at a table of peace and resolve the conflict – then go back to serving God. Hatred, anger, and grudge carrying is inconsistent with the life of faith.
Leviticus 19:17-18 (KJV) Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbor, and not suffer sin upon him. 18 Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself: I [am] the LORD.
If the person you are angry at is not a Child of God, remember still that Jesus Christ died for the world. Forgive, and let bygones be bygones, and maybe you can win this one to Christ. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21).
d Do what Jesus tells us to do when angered. Jesus gave us a very detailed system for dealing with offenses.
Matthew 18:15 (KJV) Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.
to first try and work out a peaceable solution one on one with your brother. Sit down and have a cup of coffee together. Try and reach and understanding and a reconciliation without involving anyone else. Secondly Jesus said:
Matthew 18:16 (KJV) But if he will not hear [thee, then] take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.
to take a witness or two with you and again go back and talk to your brother. Perhaps the different perspectives of the witnesses will help resolve the issue. If the matter is still unresolved Jesus said:
Matthew 18:17 (KJV) And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell [it] unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.
Only after all other methods are used are we to take the matter before the Church. The Church then becomes the witness and the judge. At this point the angry issue will be resolved or, if necessary, the offending party will be recognized as a heathen or unbelieving person.
e Choose your companions wisely, and avoid those who are quick to anger. The Bible says:
Proverbs 22:24-25 (KJV) Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go: 25 Lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul.
The best way to get in trouble is to choose troublemakers for friends. The Bible warns us against befriending hot headed people. In most cases hot headed people do not benefit from exposure to a cool headed person, but hot headed people rub off on others. Choose who you call “friend” wisely.
Love all people, but love hot headed angry people at a distance.
f Be a peacemaker for the glory of God. Choose to do the right thing. Refuse to stir up strife.
Proverbs 15:18 (KJV) A wrathful man stirreth up strife: but [he that is] slow to anger appeaseth strife.
Think, and choose your words carefully, controlling your tongue in love.
Proverbs 15:1 (KJV) A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.
Think before you speak, and make sure you answer the argumentative person with Biblical love. Do not give back evil for evil, but trust that the Lord will protect you from harm (Proverbs 20:22). The Bible says that the servant of the Lord must not quarrel, but be kind to others (2 Timothy 2:24), and forgiving to others as Christ forgave us (Ephesians 4:29-32).
We who are saved by faith in Christ are called to work together to save souls and bring God’s Kingdom on the earth. Let’s keep the big picture in focus. The work we are doing is eternal work, God’s work, and we will one day be rewarded by the Master.