The strong emotional reaction of displeasure, often leading to plans for revenge or punishment. There are many words for anger in Hebrew; in Greek orge and thumos are used more or less interchangeably.
“Refrain from anger, and Forsake Wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil”.
“A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger quits contention”.
You’ve had one of those days. You know them. The kind where you wake up late and have nothing to wear to work. Once at work, your boss is on your case for a project you found out about just this morning, you get stuck in traffic on the way home, and then your house is abuzz with demands and noises and it’s all about to send you over the edge. Anger is rising and you can feel that the next person that asks you for something is going to get it. When you finally do snap, you feel guilty and wonder how you let yourself get to this point again. Where can you go when your struggle with anger feels like a daily…maybe even hourly occurrence? God’s Word! Scripture points us to the danger and foolishness of anger, but it also directs us with, and not all anger is bad. Jesus got angry, but angry for the right reasons: the things that dishonored God and people taking advantage of others.
A violent passion of the mind excited by a real or supposed injury; usually accompanied with a propensity to take vengeance, or to obtain satisfaction from the offending party. This passion however varies in degrees of violence, and in ingenious minds, maybe attended only with a desire to reprove or chide the offender.
Anger is also excited by an injury offered to a relation, friend, or party to which one is attached; and some degrees of it may be excited by cruelty, injustice, or oppression offered to those with whom one has no immediate connection, or even to the community of which one is a member. Nor is it unusual to see something of this passion roused by gross absurdities in others, especially in controversy or discussion. Anger may be inflamed till it rises to rage and a temporary delirium.
“If you become angry, do not let your anger lead you into sin, and do not stay angry all day.” — Ephesians 4:26. The Good News: When we’re angry, we can do something we might regret later or act in a way that could hurt those around us
Is Anger Sinful?
Christians often define anger as an emotion that, alone, is not sinful. Many suggest that anger is only sinful when expressed in a manner that harms someone else. By reasonable deduction, one can assume then that anger that is not expressed behaviorally does no damage and has no effect that can be considered wrong or disobedient. Even Christians with good biblical knowledge incorrectly use Paul’s instruction to the Ephesians as evidence that emotion is fine as long as their action is not sinful:
“Be angry, and do not sin: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil” (Eph 4:26-27).
The one who is damaged the most by my anger is … me!
Many times the person who has hurt me so badly, or annoyed me, or frustrated me to no end, isn’t even aware of the anger I’m experiencing toward them – or they don’t care. Either way, my anger isn’t hurting them. But what it is doing is dragging me down emotionally. It’s destroying my peace and stealing my joy … and often, it’s hindering my prayers. And that, the Bible says, is foolish!
Don’t think about bananas!
What’s in your mind right now? Probably the image of a beautiful yellow banana. And the more you tell yourself to stop thinking about bananas, the more firmly that image will lodge itself in your mind.
Have you ever been in a car accident? I vividly remember the helpless feeling I had when I stopped at a red light and saw in my rearview mirror that the truck coming up behind me would never be able to stop in time. And yes, that drunk driver plowed right into the back of my car.
What are you thinking of now? Probably not bananas! Not unless you deliberately tried to hold onto that image once I drew your attention to car accidents.
So, here’s the secret to keeping your thoughts under control. Every time you find that your mind has slipped back into that same old rut of anger and bitterness, deliberately turn your thoughts to some of the many blessings God has brought into your life. You may need to write out a list so you’ll have it handy. And use the Scriptures. The Bible itself provides ample raw material for counting your blessings!
Letting go of our anger when we have been hurt is not easy. But if we put these biblical principles into practice, we’ll be well on our way to controlling our anger rather than allowing it to control us.
How to Stay Cool, Calm & Collected
Second Corinthians 10:5 instructs us to take every thought captive into the obedience it becomes a stronghold in our mind. In other words, we can choose what we are going to think and dwell on.
We can continue to fuel our angry emotions with wrong thoughts…or we can take a stand and, with God’s help, refuse to allow the situation to get out of control.
So, when you feel yourself getting upset, the sooner you say “No!” to those thoughts and feelings, the better. Instead of letting the anger control you, you can pray something like:
“God, please help me. I know being upset is not going to get me anywhere. This person hurt my feelings and that was wrong, but I’m not going to act on this. With Your grace and strength, I’m going to control myself, and I’m going to trust you to take care of the situation.”
I want to encourage you to forgive those who have hurt you. Let go of any angry feelings you’re holding on to and place those situations in God’s hands.
We can trust Him to be our Vindicator. God is bigger than our feelings and He has given us self-control so we can walk in peace and experience His perfect love when we need it the most.