1996-11-20 - Defusing Anger

Proverbs 16:32 It is better to get angry slowly than to be a hero, it is better to be even tempered than to capture a city. (GW)

Have you noticed that people seem to be angry all the time? What's going on in our world? I live in a small town in North Carolina and we rarely blow car horns at each other, but lately I have heard more horns and seen more hand signs given than I can ever remember. Has my driving been that bad? ;) No, the world is getting more angry and madder all the time. So what are Christians supposed to do about anger? The temptation is to give into anger and join the crowd. Dish it back at them. Blow the horn, blow your top, blow a fuse, blow up, just simply react in a negative way, that's the temptation, that's the way the world reacts. A person may be able to make me angry, but remember they can never make me react.

The key to anger management is learning to control your reactions before you encounter an anger-provoking situation. Let's look at some practical verses and see what the Bible tells us to do.

Five Biblical Steps for Anger Management

Step 1: Stop Before You React

Proverbs 14:17 "A person who quickly loses his temper does foolish things, but a person with understanding remains calm." (NCV)

You know the old saying, "engage your brain before putting your mouth in gear".

Step 2: Ask the Questions "Why am I angry?" and "What do I want?"

Proverbs 2:1-5 "My child, if you take my words to heart...if you pay close attention to wisdom and let your mind reach for understanding, if you ask for insight, if you ask out loud for understanding, if you search for wisdom … then your will understand what it means to fear the Lord." (GW)

Step 3: Listen

James 1:19-20 "Dear friends, be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Anger will not help you live a good life as God wants." (NCV)
"Even fools seem smart when they are quiet." Proverbs 17:28

"Be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God has forgiven you." Ephesians 4:32 (NLT)

Step 4: Rethink

" For pressing milk produces curds, pressing the nose produces blood, and pressing anger produces strife." Proverbs 30:33 RSV

Jesus said, "What comes from your heart is what makes you unclean. Out of your heart come evil thoughts …. " Mark 7:20-21 (CEV)

"Finally, brothers and sisters, keep your thoughts on whatever is right  … things that are true … practice what you have learned … " Philippians 4:8-9 (GW)

Step 5: GO

"Go ahead and be angry ... but don't use your anger as fuel for revenge. And don't stay angry, and don't go to bed angry. Don't give the Devil that kind of foothold in your life." Ephesians 4:26 (The Message)

Dear Father, Help us to be Christlike in a hostile world. Lord help us understand people can make us angry on the inside, but they cannot control our reactions on the outside. Help us to react to situations as Christ would react. Lord, comfort those who have anger bottled up inside and help them to defuse the hostility. Lord, thank you again for providing us with your Word. Thank you mostly for your Son Jesus Christ, who came and showed us how to live life right and who died for our sins, so that we may have eternal life with You. In Jesus' precious name, Amen.