Practical Ways to Check Your Anger
by Leslie Strader
The world feels like an angry place. At times it feels like we are all walking on eggshells because we don’t know who thinks what or who’s on a hair trigger or what sensitivities someone might have. Certainly as believers we should always keep watch over the door of our lips (Psalm 141:3) and consider others worthy of the greater honor (Philippians 2:3). But some days, it feels a little like we’re all about to go off the deep end.
We see anger in the world every time we turn on the TV or read the news. Anger starts unending twitter wars, attacks those who think or act or look or believe differently from us … Anger gets you kicked off airplanes or motivates a mass protest…and when anger swells unchecked into blind rage, it can kill…sometimes relationships, sometimes flesh and blood human beings… without thought or emotion and sometimes, even without remorse.
We know from Scripture that anger itself is not wrong or sinful. Jesus was angry – the best ‘real life’ example is from John 2 where He kicks the money changers out of the Temple. We call this “righteous anger” – Jesus was right to be angry about something that was wrong. His emotion was right and His response was perfect. That is not always true for us, however.
Thankfully, God’s Word doesn't leave us to our own devices. The Old and New Testaments offer plenty of truth and wisdom about anger – how to deal with it, how to discern a righteous from a wicked response, even what the Lord’s anger looks like.
Read and pray through this list and ask the Holy Spirit to help you discern if something about your relationship with anger needs to change:
10 Practical (and Biblical) Ways to Check Your Anger
1. Are you stirring up strife (meaning – are you trying to get others on your side, gossiping, convincing, looking for justification)?
· A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1
2. What is your response time: How long does it take you to become angry? How long have you been angry?
· Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the heart of fools. Ecclesiastes 7:9
3. How would the person closest to you describe your relationship with anger?
· One who is wise is cautious and turns away from evil, but a fool is reckless and careless. A man of quick temper acts foolishly, and a man of evil devices is hated. Psalm 14:16-17
4. What kind of company do you keep?
· 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. Proverbs 22:24
5. How well do you understand the situation you’re angry about – can you see both sides, all sides, or just your side?
· Whoever is patient has great understanding, but one who is quick-tempered displays folly. Proverbs 14:29
6. When was the last time you had a quarrel or fight with someone, either in real life or online?
· What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. James 4:1-2
7. Has your anger caused you to sin?
· Be angry, and do not sin; ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent. Psalm 4:4
8. Do you find yourself worrying about a conflict and how its resolution will affect you? Or are you able to leave room for God to work?
· Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices! Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil. For the evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land. Psalms 37:7-9
9. Are you reacting or responding? When was the last time you overlooked an offense?
· Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.
10. To what degree are you able to live out Romans 12:18?
· If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Romans 12:18