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Managing Our Anger – By Dr. Glenn Cummings

“Don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Ephesians 4:26

 The first mention of anger in Scripture is when Cain got so angry with his brother Abel that he murdered him. Sixty percent of all murders in America are committed by family members. But anger not only kills others, it can kill you. Dr. Redford Williams, Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science at Duke University, states: “The hostility and anger associated with Type-A behavior is a major contributor to heart disease. People who struggle with anger are five times more likely to suffer coronary heart disease, and people with heart disease more than double their risk of a heart attack when they get angry.” Of course, there’s a difference between anger and mere aggravation.  The word anger is only one letter short of the word danger. So ask God to help you manage your anger.

“A quick-tempered man acts foolishly.” Proverbs 14:17
The truth is that when your temper gets the best of you, it reveals the worst of you. The Bible says three things about unrighteous anger that you need to keep in mind: (1) It’s stupid. “A quick-tempered man acts foolishly, and a man of wicked intentions is hated” (v. 17). Benjamin Franklin wrote in Poor Richard’s Almanac: “Take this remark from Richard poor and lame; Whatever’s begun in anger ends in shame.” (2) It’s divisive. “A hot-tempered person starts fights; a cool-tempered person stops them” (Proverbs 15:18). Occasionally we may become angry for good reason. But most of the time it’s because we’re selfish, impatient, irritated, or hurt about the way we have been treated.  Humorist Will Rogers once said, “People who fly into a rage seldom make a good landing.” Instead of solving the problem, anger only makes it worse. (3) It’s destructive. “Hot-tempered people must pay the penalty. If you rescue them once, you will have to do it again” (Proverbs 19:19). That means when you keep losing your temper, you keep losing. You will lose friends, you will lose the love and respect of your family, you will lose your business associates, and it can even cause you to lose your health.  So, ask God to help you control your anger.

It seems to me that the best way to control anger is to learn how to truly forgive. Not forgiveness where it is waiting there under the surface for your opportunity to bring it back up.  But rather, it is like the example God gave to us in that He promised to forgive us and to never bring it up again.  “As far as the east is from the west.”

 “Forgetting those things which are behind.” Philippians 3:13

The Bible says that the greater the offense, the greater the need to forgive your offender in order to go on with your life. Remember when you were growing up, how your parents would tell you to close the door? That’s because in winter you were letting in the cold and in summer you were letting in the heat. Forgiveness shuts the door on your past!

 Paul, who martyred Christians before becoming one, writes, “This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching…unto those things which are before.” Only when you release your grip on the past can you secure your grip on the future. Forgetting is a decision, one you sometimes have to make daily or even hourly. Bottom line: You need to forgive every time the issue that’s hurting you rears its head (See Mt 18:21-22). Complete healing can take months or years.

When someone hurts you deeply, you must purpose in your heart to keep forgiving them until you’re free from their influence. No matter what they took from you through abuse, abandonment, betrayal, manipulation, or deceit, bitterness will take more! Unforgiveness lets the person who hurt you keep doing it. So, until the issue is resolved, you may have to get down on your knees every day and pray, “Lord, by an act of my will, I forgive ________ and ask You to bless them. I’m turning them over to You and getting on with my life.” There’s no shortcut—it’s the only path to freedom!

“He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty.” Proverb 16:32

As a Christian you have the Holy Spirit living within you, and one of the fruits of the Spirit is “self-control” (See Gal 5:23). That means as a Christian you can control your temper, and as a Christian you must control it. You say, “I get mad easily because I’m Irish!” You’re not supposed to live according to your old nature, but your new one! Anger is like a river. Controlled, it can generate enough electricity to power an entire city. Uncontrolled, it can overflow its banks and become a raging flood that destroys everything in its path. And as surely as a river can be controlled, so can your temper. Have you ever been in a big argument at home with your spouse or one of your kids? Suddenly the telephone rings; instantly you pick it up and answer in a soft, controlled tone, “Hello-o-o-o. May I help you?” What just happened? You proved that your anger can be controlled and tamed. The Bible says, “People with understanding control their anger; a hot temper shows great foolishness” (Proverbs 14:29). Not everything is worth getting angry about. The more calmly you see a situation, the more clearly, you’ll see how to handle it. So, if you have a quick temper, here’s some good advice. When you’re angry, count to ten before you speak. And when you’re really angry, count to one hundred—then don’t say anything.