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God’s Plan for Anger Management

Posted on June 23, 2018 By In Encouragement , Religion With 2 comments

Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil. For those who are evil will be destroyed, but those who hope in the LORD will inherit the land.

Psalm 37:8-9

Are you hot-tempered, easily angered? Just like other human behavior traits, temper has its place, as long as we keep it under control. How could we stand against evil if we didn’t get stirred up once in a while?

But for some, anger is an ongoing part of their disposition. The slightest provocation sets them off.

As Christians, we are to be controlled by the Spirit, and not our emotions. Our behavior is to be surrendered to the Lordship of Christ.

Hopefully, you don’t have a problem with anger, but if you do, there are Biblical principles to help you get it under control. This devotional can also be helpful for dealing and coping with angry people.

I have heard people try to vindicate their penchant for an angry disposition by pointing to Jesus’ display of anger in the Temple or the numerous references to God’s anger in scripture. “We are made in God’s image,” they say. Or, “God made me this way. I can’t help it.”

James dealt with such logic in his day and he dispelled that notion when he said, “… human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.” (James 1:20) Scripture also tells us what human anger does. The Apostle Paul commanded early believers to get rid of anger. (Ephesians 4:31; Colossians 3:8)

(1) What anger does

-leads to sin (Ephesians 4:6)- Most often, anger causes us to say and do things contrary to the will of God. Anger results in ungodly behavior such as bitterness, rage, brawling, slander, malice, and filthy language. (Eph 4:31; Col 3:8)

-causes strife (Proverbs 30:33)- Our angry responses to people and situations lead to bitter disagreements and conflict. Consequently, relationships are damaged or destroyed, and our Christian witness is rendered useless. Words spoken in anger hurt others. “Anger is cruel and fury overwhelming…” (Proverbs 27:4)

 (2) What causes anger

-argumentative spirit- People with an argumentative spirit suffer from the delusion they are always right. They selfishly believe their way is the only way.  Challenges to their one-sided views result in angry encounters.

-provocation– Perpetually angry people need little provocation to become agitated. Misunderstandings, differing opinions, and irritating behavior produce hostile outbursts.

-other hot tempered people– When they encounter people who share their unfortunate angry disposition, trouble is inevitable and a fight, verbal or physical, is likely.

– jealousy– Jealous people often have a short fuse. They are overly offended at anyone who has what they have, what they want, or anybody who gets close to their valued possessions.

– frustration– People who have trouble controlling anger are easily frustrated. Whenever something doesn’t go their way, even small things, they lose their cool.

(3) How to keep anger under control

-admit you have a problem and confess it to God– As with any problem, nothing can be done about it until you acknowledge it. Then take it to the Lord. Ask God to take away this anger that is causing you to sin.

-identify your vulnerabilities– What or who sets you off? What personality traits or behaviors in others generally stir your anger?  Why are you easily angered?

– give gentle responses– Just as “a gentle answer turns away wrath,” (Proverbs 15:1) a calm response helps you curtail your anger. If you feel rage building inside you, respectfully call a timeout. Retreat to another room or step outside until you have calmed yourself.

– it’s okay to disagree– You are not always right and you don’t have to win every argument. Just because someone has a different viewpoint doesn’t make you any less right. If you want your opinions to be respected then respect others.

– take time to consider your response– Allow your brain time to assess the situation, and the Holy Spirit opportunity to guide your thoughts. Restrict your words to those that honor God and not those that glorify self.

– grow in love– In 1 Corinthians 13:5, where Paul shares his famous instruction on the qualities of love he says, “It (love) does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” Then he concludes his teaching with the words, “Love never fails.” (v8) If you can’t respond in Christian love and kindness, keep your mouth shut until you can find a way.

– resolve differences quickly– We talked about this important principle in a previous devotional using Ephesians 4:26 as our focus text. “Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry…” Don’t allow your anger to fester. Whenever possible, seek to mend differences peacefully and quickly.

– pray (individual and corporate)- It’s impossible to be angry with someone when you’re praying with them and for them. And if anger again rears its ugly head, pray for God to take it away.

If you have trouble controlling your anger, then give it to the Lord. He will help you get it under control and bless you richly for your willingness to become the servant He wants you to be.

For more on this topic, check out this article: Don’t Let the Sun Go Down On Your Anger

Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 2 (April – June) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.

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Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Your Anger

Posted on May 30, 2018 By In Encouragement , Religion With no comments

“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

This might be the best advice anyone ever gave you. No, not mine, but the words of the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 4.

When my wife and I were married, we made a pact that only one of us was allowed to be angry at a time. And, we would never go to bed angry with one another. It was a given that disputes were inevitable. So we devised a plan for resolving conflict.

Back in 1971, we weren’t what you would call Bible scholars. We carried the name Christian and attended church. I suppose you could say we were running on the general principles of the faith, doing the best we could. As was so often the case, I relied on my grandmother for wise counsel. She’s the one who told me, “Don’t let the sun go down on your anger.”

There’s more indispensable advice in our focus text. “In your anger do not sin.” In the process of blowing your top, you risk giving “the devil a foothold.” When you lose control of your emotions, especially when the target of your frustration is with another person, you are opening the door to Satan and saying, “Come on in.”

Anger leads to sin easily and swiftly. It causes us to do and say things we shouldn’t, and it often leads to irreparable harm. Anger is not the language of love, but the language of hate. Anger destroys relationships and our Christian witness, which is precisely what the Devil wants. Nothing pleases him more than to destroy good and godly relationships, cause enmity and strife, and ruin reputations.

In my 69 years, I have never known anybody who didn’t get angry. It is a basic human emotion common to everyone. But it must be managed, or unwanted trouble and hardship is sure to come.

Paul’s statement anticipates anger. He says, “In your anger…” When it happens this is what you do about it. Manage it. Keep it under control. Don’t allow it to cause you to sin.

It is better to spend an entire night without sleep than go to bed mad at someone, especially those you love. Don’t we owe the people we love the benefit of working at reconciliation BEFORE that little flame turns into a consuming fire?

When I get angry, it’s not an attractive sight. I become irrational, say stupid stuff, and have been known to kick or throw something of value, like a lamp. I’ve never pitched a graceful fit. In my defense, I’m not a hothead, and I seldom get angry. Maybe that’s why my hissies are so awkward. Limited experience.

Here’s the thing. Anger hurts others. I sure don’t want to hurt anybody and I would imagine you feel the same way. But even though you and I have no intention of hurting others, Satan lives for it.

There are many things we can do to control anger. Bridling the tongue comes to mind. Just find what works best for you to prevent transitioning from anger into sin. Deal with it before it becomes a destructive problem.

Even if you’ve been married for a long time, it’s not too late to take advantage of Paul’s wise counsel. “Don’t let the sun go down on your anger.” I promise, it works.

For more on this topic, check out this article: God Even Rescues Us from Ourselves

Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 2 (April – June) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.

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