We live in the age of rage. We have many different terms to describe anger. We have more phrases and words to describe the emotion of anger than any other emotion. Here are just a few: ticked off, blew up, blew his stack, blew her fuse, hot under the collar, mad as a hornet, madder than a wet hen, hot headed, she went ballistic, their blood was boiling, they lost their cool, and madder than a hatter, just to name a few. We have invented new terminology to describe angry behavior connected to modern phenomena, such as road rage, gang wars, and drive by shootings. Some people stay mad. One man said, "My wife has an even disposition – she's mad all the time."
In order to overcome anger we need to:
I. Understand anger.
Anger is a work of the flesh (Gal. 5:20). Rarely is human anger "righteous indignation" like Jesus manifested when he overthrew the money changers tables and drove them from the temple. Usually our anger is of the natural fleshly kind. This is why the Bible says to "put away anger" But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth (Col. 3:8).
There can be many sources of anger. We get angry when our sense of justice is violated. When we think we're being wronged, we get angry. We usually get angry when we or those we love are threatened. But most people often get angry out of selfishness because they are in the flesh. When they want something and don'tget it they get angry. When their pride is insulted they get angry. When they are disrespected they get angry. When someone get in their way and hinders them from their goals or objectives they get angry.
Conversely, there are things that should make us angry as people of God. For instance when we see someone being hurt or mistreated our sense of justice should arouse our anger. When we see someone hurting others or teaching them false doctrine we should get angry. When we encounter a wolf in sheep's clothing leading new believers astray we should get angry. For instance when Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the Ten Commandments etched in stone by the hand of God, and found the whole nation of Israel worshipping a golden calf, his sense of justice stirred his outburst of anger.
II. Overcome Anger
When we are angry we can do foolish things. "A man of wrath stirs up strife and a man given to anger commits and causes much transgression" (Prov. 29:22). Another version says, "A hot tempered man starts fights and gets into all kinds of trouble." Prisons are full of men and women who didn't control their anger. One outburst of rage can ruin a person's whole life. Here's how to overcome it.
1.Admit you have an anger problem.
Many people live in denial that they have an anger problem, yet their attitude is often hostile and their mouth is like a snapping turtle. Admission of our anger is the first step to overcoming our anger problem.
2.Identify the source of your anger.
Pam and I recently watched a movie about a young 15 year old girl who had a
terrible attitude. Her parents had divorced when she was 10. As a result, her
sense of security was destroyed and the hopes and dreams she had for her family were shattered. This was the source of her anger. She was experiencing
This step sometimes requires us to do some soul searching. Many people are unaware of their anger. Yet everyone around them notices it. We can be snappy at people and not even realize it when we're upset about something. There have been a few times when something was bothering me that I snapped at people and wasn't fully aware of it until my wife told me about it later.
We need to observe our own behavior and demeanor. If more than one person tells us that we are grouchy or irritable we need to listen. It is possible to think we're coming across in a friendly way when we are actually very testy.
Subconscious anger or hidden resentment has symptoms.
Here is a partial list of root causes of an angry spirit: rebellion, rejection, inner emotional pain due to emotional wounds that have not been healed, a
personal agenda hindered, association with angry people, listening to angry
music, being trapped in a frustrating situation, abuse, personal assault, injustice whether perceived or imagined, irritating people, and problems.
3. Repent of our sin of anger.
Unless we have righteous indignation, or holy anger, which is inspired by the Holy Spirit, we better recognize our anger as sin and repent of it. Seldom is our anger righteous indignation such as when Jesus drove the money changers out of the temple. Usually our anger is motivated by our own selfishness. In this case we need to repent of it and get it under the blood of Jesus.
4. Walk in forgiveness.
Unforgiveness will leave you in a state of seething anger, especially toward the person that has offended or hurt you. There is only one way to be free from this kind of anger. We must forgive them completely. That means that we make a choice to forgive them. Then we walk in that choice. When thoughts of retaliation come back to us, we cast them down and remind ourselves that we have already forgiven them. True forgiveness means that we never bring the situation that offended or hurt us back up. We drop it and reckon it washed away by the blood of Jesus.
5. Be angry and sin not. (Eph 4:26).
We can control our anger. We must rule over our anger. The Lord told Cain that sin crouched at the door, but God's desire was that Cain should rule over it (Gen. 4:7). Even in a state of anger, we can choose not to give in to that anger. We must determine that if we do get angry, we'll not let it rule our behavior. One way to do this is keep our mouth shut. When we sense the stirring and churning in our emotions and are ready to tell someone off, is the time to put a lid on it. Keep our mouth shut, wait, pray, calm down. And then only when we have prayed through should we discuss it. We will get angry, no doubt, but what we do with our anger is very important. We must not let
anger rule us. We must rule anger. Proverbs 19:19 says: A hot-tempered man must pay the penalty; if you rescue him, you will have to do it again. And again " An angry man stirs up dissension, and a hot-tempered one commits many sins (Pro 29:22).
How To Overcome Anger Part 2
In the last days, anger will be at dangerous levels. Even the nations will rage
and plot a vain thing against the Lord and His anointed (Psalm 2).
Lawlessness will abound and result in the love (agape) of many growing cold (Matthew 24:12).
This agape love is the God kind of love. Since only believers have agape love, this means that believers will grow cold in their agape love because of the lawlessness that brings offenses (See Matthew 24:10). Giving place to anger can wreck havoc in the life of a believer. We all know it's difficult to contain our anger when we see someone undermining our freedoms, or threatening to destroy the sovereignty of our nation. When we think of all the soldiers who bled and died so that we can enjoy such a great nation like this, it can be infuriating that someone is trying to destroy it. Our temptation can be great to get into the flesh and take matters into our own hands when we see injustice. We must remember, that "vengeance is mine, I will repay says the Lord." As much as we would sometimes like to have an outburst of wrath, we just can't afford to. So much is at stake. Our very lives, families, and ministries depend on us keeping a cool head at all times. It is imperative that we walk in the Spirit day by day, moment by moment. Prisons are full of people who just had one little outburst of uncontrolled wrath. It destroyed their lives, reputations and severed them from their freedom and ability to be a blessing to others.
Don't let anger destroy your life. Use the principles taught here to overcome anger and live in joy.
Everyone is going to get angry. It is an emotion that is impossible to avoid, at least occasionally. Anger in and of itself isn't always sin. It usually is, unless it
is righteous indignation like Jesus manifested when He drove the money changers out of the temple. Here are some more steps to overcoming anger:
6. Put off Anger.
Col. 3:8 in the NKJV says, "But now put off anger…" You can choose to put anger off. In other words take off anger like you would take off a dirty shirt or stained pants. Get it off and away from you. Throw anger in the dirty clothes hamper. It isn't a part of your new nature. Refuse to wear it. If you choose in advance, that you are not going to wear anger, you can literally put on your "happy face" and be a pretty happy person the majority of the time. Our countenance is controlled by our spirit. What is within us comes out in our demeanor. "As in water face reflects face, So a man's heart
reveals the man" (Prov. 27:19).
Col. 3:8 NCV says, "But now also put these things out of your life: anger, bad
temper, doing or saying things to hurt others, and using evil words when you
7. Be slow to anger.
This is another choice we can make. We can say to ourselves, "I'm not going to get angry about this, I'm going to be patient and understanding." James tells us the behavior we should choose. "So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to her, slow to speak, slow to wrath (James 1:19)."
We have to choose to control our temper in other words. One time I was in Wal-Mart and there was a lady who was ever so slowly getting her pocket book out of her purse and then gradually counting out the pennies to give the checker the correct change, and then very slowly putting things she had removed from her pocket book back. But I passed the test. I said to myself, " Lord, you must want me to develop some more patience. This little lady is oblivious to me being here. Maybe there is a reason you want my day delayed." Hallelujah. We can have the victory over the irritations of life if we remember these principles.
8. Stay filled with the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is calm and always at peace. When you have spent sufficient time in worship and prayer you will have a calm spirit, dominated by the Holy Spirit, in the midst of almost any aggravating circumstance. You'll be able to say with Jesus, "Father forgive them, they know not what they do." God will work everything out. All we have to do is stay in the Spirit and pray in the Spirit and watch God move on our behalf. Sure there is a time to act. When someone is invading your home, get angry and take action. This is a case where God called you to protect your family. There are times when it's appropriate to let anger stir you to action, but be cautious. These are rare times.
Have a blessed week,
Bishop Darrell Ellis
Anointed Word International Fellowship