Have you noticed how it seems that there are so many angry people in today’s society? Everywhere you look it seems that people are upset about little stuff . . . and big stuff, too! I remember that I was driving down the highway and a guy decided to cut in front of me. My reaction to the dude was, “What an idiot! He could have made me crash into him or someone else!” Then, not but just a few moments later, another guy that was hauling some furniture in the back of his truck had a chair fly out of it and I almost hit the chair in the middle of the highway. So I sharply said, “What an idiot! I live in a world of idiots!” Without delay, my wife quickly looked at me and said, “And you’re the king of it!” Now I’m sure that you’re already laughing at the situation, but get this next statement that she said to me: “I’ve been waiting to use that for so long now!!”
At any rate, anger really is an issue in today’s society. But it’s not just society. It’s an issue with me as an individual. What I mean by this confession is that anger has been a real part of my life for so many years. Whether it was something that someone said or did to me that angered me or the feeling of loss or something stupid that I’ve said or done, anger has been there. It rests deep within my heart, and I know that it’s there. It’s not the easiest of things to admit to anyone. Think of your own status in life. Are you dealing with anger? Perhaps you’re angry about the direction America is heading toward. Or perhaps you’re angry with your wife/husband/children. What about the jerk that you have to call “Boss” or “Mr. So-so”? He comes into the office with such a high and mighty attitude toward you and everyone else and treats you like a doormat. Anger has set in and it is something that is seated in the heart of man.
So how do you handle it? What are you supposed to do to get passed the hurt, the loss, the stealing, the lying, or whatever else is causing anger to spring up in your heart and mind? How are we supposed to deal with what is deep-rooted in our hearts and minds? Well, here’s a list of things that I think we need to consider when it comes to dealing with anger. And this list is not exhaustive by any means. Moreover, as you well know if you read this blog, I will refer to the Scriptures for the answers to the questions posed.
- First, realize that not all anger is sinful or evil. For instance, God is angry with the wicked according to Psalm 7:11. He actually gets angry with His people at times. Consider that He was angry with King Solomon in 1 Kings 11:9 and He was angry with His people Israel in 2 Kings 17:18. Even Jesus Christ was angry at times as in Mark 3:5 when He was angered with the Pharisees. There is such a thing as “righteous” anger and because these verses deal specifically with God’s anger, we know and believe that His anger is always righteous because His very character is righteous in perfection and without limitation. Moreover, although He has righteous anger, He is also patient and shows loving-kindness to us as in Psalm 63:3 and 69:16. For this I am most grateful.
- Second, realize that we need to learn to be slow to get angry. A quick-tempered man does foolish things according to Proverbs 14:16-17, but a wise man is going to shun evil and fear the Lord. Additionally, a quick-tempered man is going to display folly while the wise man is going to be patient and have great understanding according to Proverbs 14:29. The best thing for us to do is to be quick to listen and slow to anger according to James 1:19-20. James tells us that a “man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.”
- Next, realize that love covers a multitude of sins. Love really overlooks a lot of bad stuff that goes on in people’s lives. Hatred caused by anger on the other hand only stirs up strife and dissension according to Proverbs 10:12. When a man is full of anger he’ll show his annoyance at once and it makes him out to be a fool; but a prudent man is going to overlook an insult according to Proverbs 17:9. If a man is wise instead of living by anger, he will show his wisdom in being patient and overlooking an offense according to Proverbs 19:11.
- Fourth, sharp and uncalled-for words are only going to stir up strife and dissension. Proverbs 15:1 teaches us that a gentle answer turns away wrath. Sharp words and angry words (even the tones that we use) will stir up anger not only in us but in those who are having to listen to us rage on and on.
- Finally, we need to learn to be self-controlled. Proverbs 25:28 says, “Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control.” When one is hot-tempered he not only stirs up strife and dissension, but he also commits so many other sins due to his uncontrolled anger according to Proverbs 29:22. In other words, uncontrolled anger leads to many other sins for which we will be held to account.
Ouch! I hate to admit it, but these five suggestions are hitting home to me. I see where I have failed in this area of not dealing with my anger properly. Or should I say where I have failed in this area of not really dealing with it at all! But the great news is that God is forgiving, reconciling and restoring. Read what He tells us in 1 John 1:9:
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Isn’t that wonderful news? I can read all of these verses that change the hearts and minds of men so that anger will not be deep-rooted but will be plucked out and uprooted altogether. It doesn’t mean that I won’t ever get angry again, but at least I have a direction to go and a place to turn for relief from anger; not just my own anger, but even anger from others around me.
So what about you? How do you handle anger? What suggestions would you have to handle anger properly? Any stories that you’d like to share to help others?