“But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.” — Psalm 86:15, NIV
Anger is a feeling that many of us are all too familiar with, whether it be at our circumstance, other people or even ourselves. Because it is so common, the Bible has a lot to say about anger and how we should handle ourselves in situations where we find our irritation growing. Learning from scripture can empower us to make decisions that honor God even in our anger.
Worldly Anger vs. Biblical Anger
“‘In your anger do not sin’: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.” — Ephesians 4:26-27, NIV
There are different types of anger: human worldly anger and Godly biblical anger. As sinful humans, we have probably experienced human worldly anger on multiple occasions. This type of anger can be rooted in a variety of causes from frustration with someone to jealousy to our own selfishness and desire for what we want. Oftentimes, this anger is followed by sinful actions such as greed, aggression or unkindness.
Godly biblical anger, on the other hand, is not self-centered and does not result in sin. Rather, this anger is due to the sin and pain in the world and other things displeasing to God. Jesus can be seen as an example of this in Mark 11 where he drove out people who had taken advantage of God’s temple for personal gain.
Even if our anger has good intentions behind it, if our actions are not Godly, our anger is not righteous. We should not use our intentions or God as an excuse for rage and bitter actions; our anger should never lead to sin. Fortunately for us, God knows our struggles and understands we are human, so when we mess up and do fall to sin, His forgiveness is there.
Choose Your Battles
“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, NIV
As anger can easily spiral out of control, it is important that as Christians we choose our battles wisely. In scripture, we are often encouraged to be slow to anger. There is a time and place for anger, but if we are constantly getting annoyed and aggravated by things in our lives that do not matter, it can be easy for anger to overflow into our attitudes and actions.
“Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control.” — Proverbs 25:28, NIV
Self-control is essential when it comes to managing anger. If we are experiencing angry emotions, self-control can help us from acting out and sinning. Developing self-control takes prayer, practice and dedication. If we ever struggle with self-control, we can always go to God and ask Him for guidance. We are never alone as we go through temptations.
Seek God’s Will
“So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” — Galatians 5:16, NIV
When doubts arise about our anger or actions, we should seek God’s will above anything. Galatians 5:16 prompts us to “walk by the Spirit,” meaning we do not need to rely on our own strength, but rather God’s power. As we spend time in the Word and in prayer and grow mature as Christians, we may notice that our anger was not as strong as it once was.
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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.