Do you find yourself struggling against frequent, overwhelming feelings of rage? Do you often exhibit aggressive behavior when you feel upset or provoked? Are your relationships sometimes hindered by your inability to control your anger? If you answered yes to any of those questions, you most likely struggle with anger management.

Anger is defined as a strong feeling of annoyance, displeasure, or hostility. It’s a normal, healthy feeling that God created us with. But when it becomes frequently uncontrollable and all-consuming, that’s when it may be time to seek outside help.

In this article, we’re going to unpack what the Bible says about anger and look at five tips for anger management that can help you cope and keep your anger in check.

What the Bible says about anger management.

If you regularly battle to control your anger, take heart, you are not alone. A study done by The National Center for Biotechnology Information revealed that 7.8% of the entire US population displays signs of poorly controlled, inappropriate, and intense anger. Perhaps you lack education on how to process your intense feelings healthily, or maybe angry behavior was modeled to you at an early age.

Whatever the root of your anger may be, it’s important to remember that God created all of us with emotions, including anger. Anger is displayed in a variety of ways in the Bible. Let’s explore them.

God gets angry, too.

There are several times in the Old and New Testament where we see God reveal His anger. The first time that God’s anger is noticeable in the Bible is in Exodus 4, right after God visits Moses in a burning bush and calls him to set His people free from Pharaoh in Egypt.

Moses, understandably afraid, produces many excuses as to why he is not the right man for the job. After a while of going back and forth, Moses finally says to God in Exodus 4:13, “Pardon your servant, Lord. Please send someone else.” Moses’ response and lack of faith angers the Lord, and the Bible records it in verse 14 by saying, “Then the Lord’s anger burned against Moses.” (NIV)

Numerous times in the Bible God’s people were disobedient, breaking their covenant of faithfulness to Him. This disobedience aroused great anger in the Lord, and we see this warning stated very clearly in Deuteronomy 6:14-15, “Do not follow other gods, the gods of the peoples around you; for the Lord your God, who is among you, is a jealous God and his anger will burn against you, and he will destroy you from the face of the land.” (NIV)

Scriptures on anger and its effect on our lives.

While it’s normal and sometimes healthy to experience feelings of anger, God’s Word forbids us from allowing ourselves to be consumed by it. When we choose to be quick-tempered, Proverbs 14:29 says that we are foolish, “People with understanding control their anger; a hot temper shows great foolishness.” (NLT)

“Foolishness” should not be thought of as merely being “dumb” or “stupid.” Rather, it is always contrasted with “wisdom,” which starts with the “fear of the Lord.” In other words, contrary to the modern usage of the word, “foolishness” in the Bible is equated with sinfulness.

Psalms 37:8 teaches that it can lead to evil, “Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil.” (NIV) We are commanded in Ephesians 4:26 to never let anger settle in our hearts, “In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry,” (NIV)

Being consumed with anger and uncontrollable rage pushes others away, negatively impacting our relationships with them. King Solomon – the king with more wisdom than any other king who ever lived – in Proverbs 22:24 advises God’s people not to associate with those who give in to their anger, “Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person, do not associate with one easily angered,” (NIV)

Steps toward understanding

James provides a template for anger. James 1:19 explains that people are to be quick to hear, quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry (NIV). This includes self.

If a person hears their internal voice, listens to what it is saying, thinks about where the source is coming from. This will produce slowness to speak and slowness to anger. Because a person says, “I need a moment to think”, does not mean they are weak but sensible or wise.

James 1:20 states “because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires,” (NIV). The internal question should be, “Do I want to be right or righteous”? Being able to pause and think about this question will give an opportunity for a person to hear and listen to God.

James 1:21 advises, “therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you” (NIV). This verse encourages us to draw close to God and lean on his understanding and wisdom. The pause can offer us time to ask God how we are to be righteous during this time of life.

Many times we tend to ask “why” something is happening. Stepping into the gray area in a black and white world, “why” questions need to be left out. Asking “why” can bog down progress or stop a person on the path to a healthier lifestyle. A person can experience anger on many levels throughout their life. It is through understanding oneself that facilitates a healthier lifestyle.

Below are some guiding questions when you speak with your mental health professional about anger.

  • How does my anger show up?
  • When do I get angry quickly?
  • Who do I get angry at most often?

Warning signs

Focusing on how anger manifests itself internally and externally can help a person realize their warning signs. Being aware of how your body responds to situations that make you angry will help remind you of the tools that can be utilized. When working with a counselor, natural support, and system support, one can learn these early signs and be able to help with slowing angry responses before it becomes explosive.

Being able to recognize the early warning signs of when a person is reaching their limit is the first step. After recognition comes what to do afterward. There are a variety of tools and ways to calm yourself down. These should be explored with your mental health professional to find what fits best in the multitude of situations a person faces on a daily basis.

Below are some of the ways anger can show up:

Internal signs

  • Increased heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Fist clenching
  • Jaw clenching
  • Headaches
  • Muscles tightening
  • Nausea
  • Shaking
  • Feeling hot or redness in the face

External signs

  • Yelling
  • Arguing
  • Sarcasm
  • Physical Aggression
  • Crying
  • Pacing
  • Raising your voice

Counseling for Anger Management

Counseling is a great way to express your feelings in a controlled, safe environment with a trained professional who is unbiased and eager to provide you with the tools you need to move forward. The desire for a healthier life will hopefully improve one’s life and help someone avoid events that cause shame, guilt, or more anger.

Gaining help in moments where we feel out of control is appropriate. Your mental health professional can work with you on tools and finding those around you who can help you in healthy ways in your time of need.

It’s okay to admit that you need outside assistance, and Christian counselors are there to provide you with the Biblical resources you need to thrive. The counselors at Seattle Christian Counseling are ready and equipped to give you further tips on anger management from a biblical perspective. If you would like to pursue the avenue of counseling, feel free to connect with me or one of the other counselors in the online directory.

Photos:
“Argument”, Courtesy of Vera Arsic, Pexels.com, CC0 License; “Annoyed”, Courtesy of RODNAE Productions, Pexels.com, CC0 License; “Frustrated”, Courtesy of Nicola Barts, Pexels.com, CC0 License; “Breaking Bricks”, Courtesy of Alexa Popovich, Pexels.com, CC0 License

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