10 Things the Bible Tells Us about Anger
- Brittany Rust Contributing Writer
- 2017 23 May
Take it from me: anger is not a lovely emotion to have around. For many years I had a major anger stronghold in my life that acted as a dark cloud hovering over my relationships with family, interactions with friends, and frustrations with strangers. It was something so heavy that I felt like I had no control when it wanted its way.
More than a decade ago, at a youth camp my senior year of high school, God delivered me from the stronghold; the only instant deliverance I’ve ever experienced. The weight I felt lifted is one of the biggest reliefs I’ve ever experienced and to know freedom from anger is truly a gift.
Having struggled with anger for many years I can speak to its destruction and the flip side of a life away from it. In fact, the Bible has a lot to say as well. Here are ten things the Bible tells us about anger.
1. Words can fuel or diffuse anger. (Proverbs 15:1)
Words have great power and it’s no different when it comes to anger. Proverbs tells us that a gentle word can turn away wrath and that a harsh one can stir it up. The power you have to fuel or diffuse anger in a tense conversation or situation is both heavy and fragile. You can completely change the dynamic of a situation with one word.
When you’re faced with the chance to fuel or diffuse anger, what words will you choose to use?
2. Anger leads to sin. (Genesis 49:6)
Anger has the ability to lead to sin. This happens because when we become angry, rational thought often goes out the door. When rational thought flees, our boundaries grow weak and thus, unclear. It’s here our right and wrong is blurred and sin can step in.
Take a look at Moses, one of a few people in the Bible who let anger lead to sin. He didn’t wake up that day with the intention of murdering an Egyptian. However, he let anger consume him and he sinned.
Be careful to not let your anger consume you and lead to a sin you will regret.
3. Stay away from anger. (Psalm 37:8, Ephesians 4:31, Proverbs 29:8)
The best thing you can do is to stay away from anger in the first place. You probably know your trigger points; if you don’t, find out what they are. Then stay out of situations where you know a trigger can be pulled. Or if you sense anger starting to rise up, excuse yourself from the situation. Whatever this looks like for you, try to separate yourself from anger triggers.
You won’t always be able to avoid these triggers, but if you do, walk away before anger gets a foothold in your life.
4. Don’t sit in your anger. (Ephesians 4:26b)
Perhaps you do find yourself angry; maybe at a spouse or a friend. Sometimes the tendency when we’re angry is to stew on it or not share our frustration with the other person. We then end up stewing and allowing it to become a bigger issue.
If you are angry with someone, the Bible encourages us to go to them and talk it out. Healthy confrontation can help you process through the anger and allow them to walk through that with you.
5. Fools allow room for anger.(Ecclesiastes 7:9, Proverbs 19:3, Proverbs 29:11)
Anger is accounted in the Bible as something expressed by a fool many times. It’s because when we give into anger and we lose rational thought, wisdom also goes out the door. We don’t make wise decisions in our anger and in fact, we can make very poor choices. These moments of outburst can be a poor reflection on us and thus, be a reflection of foolishness.
A wise person learns to hold back on anger or to step away from the situation.
6. Anger can cause division.(Psalm 55:3, Proverbs 30:33, Proverbs 15:18)
How many relationships have been damaged or perhaps even left in ruins in the aftermath of anger? It has the ability to cause great division in friendships, families, and in the work space.
If you can be slow to anger, you create opportunity to work through contention with wisdom and keep harmony intact. Don’t allow anger to rob you of unity in any area of your life.
7. Anger doesn’t just hurt others; it hurts you. (Genesis 49:7, Job 18:4)
If you think anger only hurts another person, you’d be wrong. Anger hurts you just as much as anyone else. You get worked up, worry, and stew on what upset you. It then robs you of healing and forgiveness.
Don’t let anger grab hold and steal some good part of you.
8. Righteousness and anger don’t go together. (James 1:20)
If you are pursuing a righteous life--one dedicated to God--then anger can’t have a place in your heart. James tells us that anger does not produce the righteousness of God. It’s like a wedge and if you want intimacy with God to the fullest, you must purge your heart from anger.
9. Confession is a bridge to healing from anger. (Proverbs 28:13, 1 John 1:9)
If you’re struggling with anger, choose the path of confession. This will mean confessing to God what’s in your heart and also confessing to the person with whom you’re angry towards.
Confession may be hard, but if you can set aside the pride and dive into healing, then anger can be released!
10. Anger can be a good tool if used right. (Nehemiah 5:6-7, John 2: 13-18, Ephesians 4:26)
Not all anger is bad; there is a righteous anger that has a place. Nehemiah experienced it as well as Jesus. There are times when a righteous anger moves us to action in a healthy way. The key to righteous anger is that we not allow it to move us into sin. It’s when our anger causes us to sin that it becomes a bad thing.
Take it from someone who struggled with anger for many years--avoid it, walk away, and/or let it go!
Brittany Rust is a writer, speaker, and has the privilege of serving on staff at Red Rocks Church in Denver, CO. She and her husband Ryan make their home in the Rocky Mountains, pursuing outdoor adventures, great food, and memorable stories together. Her website brittanyrust.com aims to supply encouraging resources for the world-wearied believer.
Image courtesy: ©Thinkstock/SIphotography
Publication date: May 23, 2017