Have you ever allowed anger to overtake you in such a way that you did something stupid? Did your lack of self-control cause you to regret your actions? Recently my two year old son was playing ball with a friend. My son was being selfish, wanted the ball, became angry, and started crying loudly. You know the cry – the kind that makes a kid lose their breath. He held his breath so long in his fit that he passed out! His eyes rolled back, he slumped over, and while the fit and anger were over we were a little scared. We rushed over to him, picked him up and checked on him. He was breathing again and awake. He made himself so mad it affected his health! After a minute or two of holding him he bounced back up, now in better control of himself, and began to once again play with his friend. I think he learned that wasn’t the way to play ball.
Uncontrolled anger can be dangerous. It leads to bitterness, rage, wrath, and usually doing or saying something you’ll regret. Ephesians 4:26 tells us, “In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down on your anger.” While the emotion of anger will rise up in us all, what we do with it can be sinful. We must learn to control our emotions and not let them cause us to do something irrational, immoral, and unbiblical. Proverbs 15:1 is a great answer for our anger. “A soft answer turns away wrath but a harsh word stirs up anger.” How you respond when something makes you mad makes the difference in losing control or staying in it. People deal with anger in different ways. Some choose to use the hurt, helplessness, fear, guilt or other situations that cause anger to motivate them to do good. Others suppress or ignore the feelings only to damage themselves and eventually blow up. They are at ticking time bomb.
Other destructive ways to deal with anger are retaliation or aggressiveness. Some can be passive aggressive causing subtle trouble while others can be blatant aggressive readily exposing their anger. The blatant aggressive person is the screamer, foot stomper, complainer, criticizer, rude, argumentative type. They tend to throw things as well as insults. The passive aggressive is usually backbiting, two-faced, full of gossip, inward contempt, and evil thoughts. Do these, even in a small degree, describe you? Why not deal with anger in a righteous way?
You can let go of your thoughts, hurt, frustrations, and feelings in a proper and respectful way. That’s called speaking the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). There is a right and God-honoring way to deal with what has hurt you. This way searches for solutions to mend relationships and personally heal. The Christian deals with anger towards another person by exercising Biblical reconciliation found in Matthew 18:15-17 by first going alone to work out the situation, seeking a mediator to help, and establishing healthy boundaries to prevent future hurt and anger. You cannot always control another person but you can control you! It is YOUR decision to continue in your anger or forgive and move forward. Ephesians 4:31 remind us to, “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.” These have no place the life of the believer. Verse 32 goes on to say, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” These are how we overcome anger. Remember, how you deal with anger is a testimony to other of God’s power to work victoriously in your life.
Stephen and his wife Haley have called Arkansas home all of their lives. Stephen has served in several ministry roles over the last 25 years and as a lead pastor for the last 8 years. Stephen attended Williams Baptist College and earned a BA in Biblical Studies from Ouachita Baptist University, an MA, MDiv, and DMin in Christian Leadership and Pastoral Ministries from Liberty University. When not pastoring, Stephen enjoys running, cycling, reading, writing, camping, fishing, and spending time with his family.