Some Tips for Dealing With Anger
a) In The Heat of The Moment
1. Walk away.
Proverbs 17:14 “The beginning of strife is like letting out water, so quit before the quarrel breaks out.”
I’ve learned that gaining control in the heat of the moment is very difficult. Irrationality sets in quickly, temperatures rise, and the tongue is ready to be set on fire. It’s in these times your best bet is to quit. You are in no condition to deal righteously with yourself, with God, or with anyone else.
There’s only one place to flee-
2. Take it to God.
We can’t think or respond properly until we subject everything about our situation to God’s will, Spirit, and Word. In that quick, consuming moment of anger- the one where you begin to feel the urge to pick up the nearest object and throw it- you and I would do well to immediately call on God for help.
Express it, even right then and there to God before you can sinfully react. Cry out to Him for help, confess to Him that you are going to lose it. He knows your heart already and your ugliness is no surprise to Him. Amazingly enough, God is right there to help you when you humble yourself and call on Him.
Psalm 55:16-17 “But I call to God, and the Lord will save me. Evening and morning and at noon I utter my complaint and moan and he hears my voice.”
b) After The Offense
After taking your emotions, hurts, and concerns to God take time to consider the cause of your anger. When anger has taken the upper hand we often haven’t seen the whole picture or considered things from the other person’s point of view. If we failed “in the heat of the moment” and responded sinfully we may not have given the offending party an opportunity to explain themselves. Ask God to help you be objective and pray that you would judge the situation from a pure heart.
2. Remember that you are a sinner saved by grace.
When we humble ourselves and reflect on our own sinfulness, the sins that anger us in others don’t seem so monumental. We feel so just in our anger when we only think about all the good things we have done for the offending party. But how many times have you sinned against them? Even if “only” in thought? Or maybe in word when they couldn’t hear?
How many sins have you committed against Christ, and yet “God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).” He died so that you and I could be forgiven of our most heinous crimes against Him.
He’s perfect. He deserved none of our sin, and certainly not our death. Yet God, beholding the risen Christ, sees us as righteous. He holds none of our sins against us. I think we should reflect on this every time we are offended. The gospel has the power to radically change our perspective when we are harbouring anger.
3. Seek God for the next step.
Job 12:13 “With God are wisdom and might, He has counsel and understanding.”
The response will vary greatly depending on the situation you find yourself in. There are no pat answers, which is why I say you need to seek God in prayer and in His Word to decide what to do. Biblical responses may include enduring harsh treatment for Christ’s sake, changing your attitude and passing it over, confessing your own sin and seeking forgiveness, or telling the person their fault with a heart that is willing to forgive them. There are many ways God may lead you to respond as you pray and seek His will.
Train: To Prepare You For Next Time
1Timothy 4:7 “…Train yourself for godliness.”
One thing I’ve learned is that I can’t will myself to change. No matter how much I recognize my angry responses to be sin, and no matter how much I imagine the ways I should respond otherwise, my own will power is not going to bring victory to me.
The bible teaches that Christ has already won the victory for us (1Corinthian 15:57), but this is by no means a call to complacency. God’s word teaches that we are in a battle between good and evil, between the spirit’s desires and the flesh.
If we want to live and respond to people like Jesus did, we desperately need God’s transforming power at work in our lives. We need to train.
We need to develop godly character and a godly perspective if we are going to be changed.
1. Study the topic of human anger in the Bible, and memorize convicting and helpful verses.
2. Pray regularly about this area of your life. Don’t wait for the battle to come before you prepare for it. Ask God to help you grow in patience, mercy, and other areas where you lack.
3. The few times I have brought writing this article up with people, I have been surprised to hear them say that they too struggle with anger. I honestly felt like I was the only one. Satan wants to accuse us, and hold us captive in our sin, condemning us and telling us that if anyone knew about our sin they would turn away from us.
But that’s not the truth! Find a Christian brother or sister you can confess your sin struggles with, so that you can receive counsel, be upheld in prayer, and remain accountable in your growth. This will be such a relief and blessing in your life.