Control Your Anger

            “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil.” Ephesians 4:26, 27. In our daily living the Christian life, we are faced with becoming angry. We work long hours, and then we commute through terrible traffic to our homes in disarray. Even though our life here may be easy, we even have a good-paying job and happy families; we are pulled in many directions. Our children have sports or some events that take place after school. We live in a fast-paced world that can just wear a person out.

            When all of these come upon us, how do we respond to life? Are we calm? On the other hand, are we angry? Anger is an all-too-common problem even for Christians. There is so much drama in the lives of people in our time. Parents are yelling at the children. Employees eat and devour one another. Riding in our automobiles, we see people shaking their finger at others, and even some cut each other off. We see many responses to anger.  We see people yelling, cursing, hitting, and becoming extremely angry. This is not an appropriate or constructive way to deal with life.  Anger can impair our life.

            Solomon said, “Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof: and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit. Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger resteth in the bosom of fools.” Ecclesiastes 7:8-9. Solomon is telling us that we are not to be quick in our spirit to get angry. It is the same call for calmness found in 5:2 (“Be not rash …”), and it will appear again in 8:3. In each of these verses, there is a connection with foolish behavior. The wise person, the Christian, should avoid quick reactions. Solomon is referring the inner state of mind when he says, “in thy spirit.” So Solomon is saying that we are to keep our temper under control or do not lose your temper easily.  Notice also that anger is associated with fools. We must realize that anger lives in or lodges deep inside the fool’s body. The bosom is where the fool locates the deep-seated and passionate feelings. If the fool has anger deep within his being, this suggests that this anger is readily expressed. Here we are given a warning not to allow anger to move in and dwell with us. Otherwise, we will become like the fool. The heart of a Christ should not be full of anger. It is well to remember that anger words wound, and some wounds never heal.

            How can we control our anger? First, study God’s Word to see what it says about anger. For instance, the Word of God tells us that anger is bad and that we are to put it off.  Paul wrote, “But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him.” Colossians 3:8-10. The Greek word for “put off” is ἀποτίθημι and is identified as an aorist middle imperative. It means “to put off or aside; in the N. T. only mid. to put off from one’s self” [Thayer, p. 69].  Since it is middle voice, which indicates the deep involvement of the subject as the one experiencing, suffering, enduring, or undergoing an action or a change of state, I am to work on myself if I have a problem with anger.

Second, recognize that one can be angry and not sin! Jesus “looked round about on them with anger.”  Mark 3:5. Did Jesus sin? No! This was a holy indignation against evil. It is not the kind of human anger that one hides and let fester within himself.  Jesus’ looking around in anger was a momentary act.

            Third, we need to remember that we cannot change people and that are situations that are beyond our control such as traffic and the weather. We should not focus on the annoying, difficult, or harmful situations. We should look for the good. If the weather causes you to be stuck in traffic, listen to the radio or even better pray. Thank God for your blessings. Are you having a problem with an individual? Remember he or she is a human being just like us with problems and difficulties that contribute to his or her bad behavior.

            Solomon said, “A soft answer turneth away wrath: But grievous words stir up anger.  The tongue of the wise useth knowledge aright: But the mouth of fools poureth out foolishness.” Proverbs 15:1-2. The thought here is that if we reply to a person with gentle words, we will calm their answer. On the other hand if we use sharp words tempers will rise. Knowledge is made beautiful in the words of wise people. However, on the other hand when a fools talks, he just throws out empty words.
Bobby D. Gayton