Everyone gets angry, even Jesus, but what happens when the anger is dysfunctional? Here are some great Bible verses to read when you’re angry.
I had never imagined that there was a command to be angry, but here it is, written by the Apostle Paul who wrote, “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil” (Eph 4:26-27). Anger is good when it’s justifiable. For example when you see a child abused, you get angry. There is no sin in this. When our neighbor makes us angry, we may have good reason, but we’re told not to dwell on it and “do not let the sun go down on your anger.” Why? It’s because you can “give no opportunity to the devil.” Satan holds a grudge against God and God’s children, but his anger is misdirected. It was his own choice to rebel, so if he’s angry, he should be angry at his own idiocy. Jesus warned “that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire” (Matt 5:22). If we can remember that “evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait for the LORD shall inherit the land” (Psalm 37:9), it might give us more patience but “A fool gives full vent to his spirit” however “a wise man quietly holds it back” (Prov 29:11). That’s the wisdom I pray for.
Solomon wrote that “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Prov 15:1), so “let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God” (James 1:19-20). Solomon also counseled us to “Be not quick in your spirit to become angry, for anger lodges in the bosom of fools” (Eccl 7:9). For believers, and non-believers, “Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense” (Prov 19:11). This is why Paul said we “must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth” (Col 3:8). When it comes to anger, we know that “A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger quiets contention” (Prov 15:18).
Why is there such anger today in this world? Is it really worth it to display road rage just so you can get home a few minutes earlier? Why all this anger? James asked, “What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask” (James 4:1-2). Discontentment is a huge reason for anger. When we don’t get what we want, and get it when we want it, we can get angry. When our expectations are not met, we don’t like that, but consider this: “For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life” (Rom 5:10). God sent Jesus to die for us while we were still His enemies, but also while we were still ungodly, wicked sinners (Rom 5:6-10), so surely we can “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice” (Eph 4:31). Anger may come from wanting something but not having it, no matter what it is, but our expectations may be too high for a fallen world. We know things are broken in this world, so we must expect that things won’t always go smoothly, so anger doesn’t help. In fact, it can make it even worse.
Slow to Anger
I remember one of my teachers in school. She was about the most patient person I’ve ever met (up to then), and she didn’t allow things to get to her. Her life was that of Proverbs 16:32, where it says, “Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city,” and she did have control over her emotions. We know that “A man of quick temper acts foolishly, and a man of evil devices is hated” (Prov 14:17), but one way to avoid becoming angry is not running with angry people. For example, Solomon wrote that we are to “Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man, lest you learn his ways and entangle yourself in a snare” (Prov 22:24-25). Anger is contagious. It is often a mob mentality when anger becomes destructive, but the very thing they’re protesting about is undermined by the destructive ways that they’re protesting. I’m sorry, but your message is lost if you’re protesting for change but using destructive methods to do it. Misdirected anger rarely helps, but actually, it can only make matters worse.
If you know someone who has an anger problem, maybe you should share these Bible verses with them. They can read these when they get angry and put things into a more godly perspective. I have a cousin who has a hair-trigger. Say the wrong thing, even unintentionally, and he explodes. He is not fun to be around, and the last time I rode with him, his road rage told me, “This will be my last trip with him.” His temper’s gotten him in trouble more than once. He even made a law enforcement officer angry by his lack of respect, and it cost him a ticket when he was only going to get a warning. The officer was only doing his job, but after the ticket, he drove more angrily than before, and as I said, that was the last time I ever rode with him. I could sense that his anger (particularly his driving) was going to get him in trouble… again…and I wanted no part of it. I knew that I wanted “no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man, lest [I] learn his ways and entangle [myself] in a snare” (Prov 22:24-25).
Article by Jack Wellman
Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren Church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is a writer at Christian Quotes and also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Teaching Children the Gospel available on Amazon.</p>