Anger is not from God unless it is righteous anger at something worthwhile: for example, you get angry at child abuse and it moves you to do something to stop it. But most of our daily anger issues are not righteous. What does God’s Word say about anger?
My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. (James 1:19-20)
Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (Ephesians 4:31-32)
You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. (Colossians 3:7-8)
So we see that God wants us to rid ourselves of anger.
Let’s get personal. I have a serious anger management problem. I don’t become violent at all, but I get angry or frustrated very quickly. It’s why I would give up on things almost immediately in the past. I think it’s from years of suppressing my emotions. I do this because I hate confrontation and because I don’t see why I should talk about the things that bother me, especially if it stems from a person. Why? Because I know I can’t change that person, so why bring it up? Unfortunately, this unhealthy way of handling things has been ingrained in my nature and now I am trying to learn how to get rid of it, to change how I handle my emotions. My husband, Justin, wants me to talk about my feelings. He doesn’t like when I keep things from him and he knows that keeping silent will only make the anger fester, rather than having it go away.
Now don’t get me wrong, these things are being changed in me. God is constantly working on them. This is just the way I have been in the past, not the way I will be in the future.
But, I also tend to be impatient. I believe that impatience and anger go hand-in-hand.
Impatience and Anger
When we are impatient, we tend to get angry very quickly.
You go to the store, grab what you need, and want to check out. But the lines are way too long, they don’t have enough cashiers, and the cashiers they do have are super slow.
You’re driving in the fast lane on your way to work. You already have to deal with traffic, but now some idiot is driving super slow and you’re going to be late.
You are walking through a mall trying to get your Christmas shopping done, but everyone in front of you seems to be out for a stroll. They couldn’t possibly walk any slower.
You’re trying to load a website but it’s going so slow that you want to pull your hair out.
Does any of this sound familiar? If you felt your blood pressure rising just reading these scenarios, you may struggle with impatience and be quick to anger. When we deal with situations like that, God is testing us. He wants us to practice patience and stay calm.
Think about it. Will getting impatient improve the situation? Will becoming angry actually make people move faster or do what you want them to do? No, because most people don’t care how you feel. And the ones who do, they still won’t be perfect. You can’t control everything.
With impatience, I think we need to learn to slow down, enjoy our lives, and stop rushing around to the next task. Remember the old saying, “It isn’t the destination, it’s the journey”? It still rings true today.
How to Control Your Anger
If we want to live joyful, peaceful lives we have to learn how to control our anger. Suppressing it is not the healthy route, though admittedly it’s the one I’ve used most often. When we suppress our anger, it will come out eventually. You can’t bottle things up and think they won’t explode at some point.
There are several things you can do to help you manage your anger:
- Take deep calming breaths
- Talk it out with a loved one (not complaining, just explaining your feelings)
- Confess it to the Lord in prayer
- Sit down and think about your anger – what specifically is making you angry and why
This last one I’m going to go into a little more detail before I end this post.
If we want to really change the way we handle our anger, we need to think about our anger. Why are we angry? Is there an underlying cause? How can we stay calm should this situation occur again?
Let me give you a couple of examples:
I hate slow computers. When a browser won’t load quickly enough, I exit out of it and try again. If it keeps doing it, I’ll restart the computer. This makes me incredibly angry.
Why? Why does it make me angry? Well, I want to do something and the computer isn’t letting me do it in the time I want. I don’t like to wait. I want it right now!
Is this a good mindset to have? Certainly not. It’s actually very unhealthy because we have to wait a lot in life, so we might as well get used to it.
Getting angry also clouds your mind from actually solving the problem. See, while I get mad and walk away, Justin will sit there calmly and find out what is slowing the computer down. Is a program running? Maybe Windows is downloading and installing updates? Are there too many things showing up in the start-up menu? He always finds the problem and figures out how to fix it. Now, if I would just stay calm, I could do the same thing. Getting angry doesn’t fix it. Staying calm and figuring it out will make the problem go away.
I can’t stand it when someone walks slowly in front of me. I get angry and as soon as I get a large enough gap, I will zip around them, almost knocking them over in the process. And I don’t care because part of me wants to knock them to show them how inconsiderate they’re being.
How inconsiderate they are being? What about me? Is nearly shoving them to the ground not inconsiderate? I’m getting mad because I feel like they are wasting my time. Because clearly, my time is more important than theirs. Now I don’t believe you should block hallways or store aisles as much as you can help it. Never walk more than two people abreast. We do need to be considerate of the people around us. But my time is not more valuable than their time. We all have the same amount of time in a day. Sometimes we really just need to slow down and enjoy it.
Does getting angry solve the situation? No. It won’t make the person move faster, and most of the time they don’t even know you’re angry. And if they did, they probably wouldn’t care. All it does is raise my blood pressure and put me in a bad mood.
Being quick to anger makes you unhappy, raises your blood pressure, even makes you sick. It doesn’t solve problems, it damages relationships, and overall it turns you into an unloving, self-centered, impatient, bitter person when left unchecked. Trust me, if we don’t allow God to change us, no one will want to be around us. My grandmother (on my mom’s side who passed away several years ago) was a person like that. I love her and I’m so glad that she’s in heaven, but she was not a happy person and she wasn’t fun to be around, especially when you’re a kid.
We all have times when we lose control of our anger. But it is important that we acknowledge this, especially if it is an area in which we struggle a lot, and give it to the Lord to help change us. We will only change if we want to change.
If you get angry a lot, talk to God about it. Find out if there are underlying issues – maybe things you haven’t dealt with from your past. Then give it to God. Just because you’ve been quick to anger in the past, doesn’t mean you have to stay that way in the future. Let God change you, as I’m letting Him change me.
I love you guys! I hope you check out the rest of my series on love!