Taking Action Against Anger

So, what can be done right now to help me with me anger? Ask, “Can I change this situation?” (If the door squeaks, oil it!)

  • — If you can, change it.
  • — If you can’t, release it.

PRAY … “Lord, You are sovereign over my life. Sine You know everything, You know I feel a strong sense of (hurt, injustice, fear, or frustration) about (name the person or the situation). I release this situation into Your hands. I trust You with my future and with me.
In Your holy name I pray. Amen.”

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.” (Psalm 143:8)

“Anger is one letter short of danger.” This saying is more than a catchy phrase; these words reflect the painful truth. Too many times the tongue has not been tamed and conversations have escalated out of control.

Acknowledge Your Anger:

  • Be willing to admit you do have anger.
  • Be aware of when you feel anger.
  • Become aware of suppressing or repressing your anger because of fear.
  • Be willing to take responsibility for any inappropriate anger.
  • He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.” (Proverbs 28:13)

Analyze Your Style:

  • How often do you feel angry? (Often? Sometimes? Never?)
  • How do you know when you are angry?
  • How do others know when you are angry?
  • How do you release your anger?
  • Do you explode? Do you become teary-eyed? Do you joke or tease? Do you become sarcastic? Do you criticize? Do you become defensive?
  • Test me, O LORD, and try me, examine my heart and my mind.” (Psalm 26:2)

Assess the Source:

  • Hurt: Is the source of your anger hurt feelings from the words or actions of others?
  • Injustice: Is the source of your anger an emotional response to the unjust actions of someone toward another person?
  • Fear: Is the source of your anger a feeling of loss or fear?
  • Frustration: Is the source of your anger frustration because something didn’t go as you planned?
  • I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity.” (1 Chronicles 29:17)

Appraise Your Thinking:

  • Are you expecting others to meet your standards?
    • “She should take better care of her children.”
    • “He ought to notice what I do for him.”
    • “He must be here before 7:00 p.m.”
    • “She’d better not call during dinner!”
  • Are you guilty of distorted thinking?
    • Exaggerating the situation
    • Assuming the worst
    • Labeling one action based on other actions
    • Generalizing by saying, “you never” or “you always”
  • A wicked man puts up a bold front, but an upright man gives thought to his ways.” (Proverbs 21:29)

Admit Your Needs:

  • Anger is often used as a tactic to get inner needs met.
    • Do you use anger as a manipulative ploy to demand certain “musts” in an attempt to feel loved?
    • Do you use explosive anger to get your way in an attempt to feel significant?
    • Do you use controlling anger, insisting on certain conditions in order to feel secure?
    • Do you know that only Christ can ultimately meet all these needs?
  • My God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19)

Abandon Your Demands:

Instead of demanding that others meet your inner needs for love, for significance, and for security, learn to look to the Lord to meet your needs.

  • “Lord, though I would like to feel more love from others, I know that You love me unconditionally.” “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.” (Jeremiah 31:3)
  • “Lord, though I would like to feel more significant to those around me, I know that I am significant in Your eyes.” “ ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’ ” (Jeremiah 29:11)
  • “Lord, though I wish I felt more secure in my relationships, I know I am secure in my relationship with You.” “The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” (Psalm 118:6)
  • “Lord, though I wish others would be more responsive to my needs, I know that You have promised to meet all my needs.” “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” (2 Peter 1:3)

Alter Your Attitudes:

Take the following steps as outlined in Philippians 2:2–8.

Make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:2–8)

  • Have the goal to be like-minded with Christ. Philippians 2:2
  • Do not think of yourself first. Philippians 2:3
  • Give the other person preferential treatment. Philippians 2:3
  • Consider the other person’s interests. Philippians 2:4
  • Have the attitude of Jesus Christ. Philippians 2:5
  • Do not emphasize your position or rights. Philippians 2:6
  • Look for ways to serve with a servant’s heart. Philippians 2:7
  • Speak and act with a humble spirit. Philippians 2:8
  • Be willing to die to your own desires. Philippians 2:8

Address Your Anger:

Determine whether your anger is really justified. “A wicked man puts up a bold front, but an upright man gives thought to his ways.” (Proverbs 21:29)

Decide on the appropriate response. “[There is] a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak.” (Ecclesiastes 3:7)

a. How important is the issue?
b. Would a good purpose be served if I mention it?
c. Should I acknowledge my anger only to the Lord?

Depend on the Holy Spirit for guidance. “When he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.” (John 16:13)

Develop constructive dialogue when you confront. “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” (Colossians 4:6)

Don’t speak from a heart of unforgiveness.
Do … Think before you speak.

Don’t use phrases such as: “How could you?” or “Why can’t you?”
Do … Use personal statements such as “I feel.…”

Don’t bring up past grievances.
Do … Stay focused on the present issue.

Don’t assume that the other person is wrong.
Do … Listen for feedback from another point of view.

Don’t expect instant understanding.
Do … Be patient and keep responding with gentleness.

Through patience a ruler can be persuaded, and a gentle tongue can break a bone.” (Proverbs 25:15)

Demonstrate the grace of God, by saying to yourself:

“I placed my anger on the cross with Christ.”
“I am no longer controlled by anger.”
“I am alive with Christ living inside me.”
“I will let Christ forgive through me.”
“I will let Christ love through me.”
“I will let Christ reveal truth through me.”

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)

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This information comes from Hunt, J. (2008). Biblical Counseling Keys on Anger: Facing the Fire Within, Dallas, TX: Hope For The Heart.

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Resolving Past Anger

Unresolved anger is a bed of hidden coals burning deep wounds into your relationship with God and with others. This powerful emotion robs your heart of peace and steals contentment from your spirit. “When my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered, I was senseless and ignorant; I was a brute beast before you.” (Psalm 73:21–22)

So, how can past anger be resolved?

Realize Your Burning Anger:

  • Willingly admit that you have unresolved anger.
  • Ask God to reveal any buried anger in your heart.
  • Seek to determine the primary reason(s) for your past anger.
  • Talk out your anger with God and with a friend or counselor.
  • I confess my iniquity; I am troubled by my sin.” (Psalm 38:18)

Revisit Your Root Feelings:

  • Did you feel hurt (rejected, betrayed, unloved, ignored)?
  • Did you experience injustice (cheated, wronged, maligned, attacked)?
  • Did you feel fearful (threatened, insecure, out-of-control, powerless)?
  • Did you feel frustrated (inadequate, inferior, hindered, controlled)?
  • Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23–24)

Receive God’s Love:

  • Meditate on and memorize Scripture revealing God’s love for you:
    • Jeremiah 31:3
    • Psalm 32:10
    • Lamentations 3:22–23
    • Psalm 89:1
    • Psalm 13:5–6
    • Psalm 103:17
  • Read five psalms daily for one month.
  • Rest in the acceptance of God, not in the acceptance of others.
  • Rely on the Lord to meet your inner needs for love, for significance, and for security.
  • How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1)

Release Your Rights:

  • Confess that harboring anger in your heart is sin.
  • Give your desire for revenge to God.
  • Refuse to hold on to your past hurts by releasing them to God.
  • Pray for God to work in the life of the one who has wronged you and to change your heart toward that person.
  • Release the one who hurt you into the hands of God—forgive as God forgave you!
  • Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” (Colossians 3:13)

Rejoice in God’s Purpose:

  • Thank God for the ways He will use this trial in your life.
  • Know that God can use your resolved past anger for your good and for the good of those around you.
  • Praise God for His commitment to use all the circumstances in your life to develop Christ’s character within you, making you strong, firm, and steadfast.
  • The God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” (1 Peter 5:10)

Restore the Relationship: … When Appropriate.

  • Even if reconciliation is not appropriate (after adultery or with an unrepentant abuser) or not possible (after a death), you must always confess your own sin.
  • Realize that when someone sins against you and you hold on to anger and refuse to be reconciled to the person, you are sinning against both God and that individual.
  • Confess the anger in your heart to God and ask the person to forgive you for refusing to be reconciled.
  • Write out the confession first to get the wording correct: “I realize I’ve been wrong in holding on to my anger against you and refusing to allow God to restore our relationship. I’m deeply sorry. Will you forgive me?”
  • Be sure the encounter is free of anger and accusatory statements.
  • You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment.… Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.” (Matthew 5:21–24)

Reflect Christ’s Love:

  • Actively seek to reflect the love of God toward the person who hurt you.
  • Pray in your heart …
    • “Lord, help me to submit to Your control.”
    • “Lord, I want Your mind to direct my mind.”
    • “Lord, reflect Your attitudes in my actions.”
    • “Lord, guide my words to express Your love.”
  • A new command I give you; Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34–35)

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This information comes from Hunt, J. (2008). Biblical Counseling Keys on Anger: Facing the Fire Within, Dallas, TX: Hope For The Heart.

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Solution to Anger

Whether you are filled with hurt, a sense of injustice, fear, or frustration, what should you do when you get angry? The Bible says, “Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil.” (Psalm 37:8)

Key Verse to Memorize:Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.” (James 1:19–20)

Key Passage to Read and Reread: “ ‘In your anger do not sin’: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.… Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:26–27, 29–32)


  • Anger is appropriate at certain times. Ephesians 4:26
  • Anger must be resolved, or it becomes sinful. Ephesians 4:26
  • Anger can be curtailed. Ephesians 4:26
  • Anger, if prolonged, gives ground to Satan. Ephesians 4:27
  • Anger can lead to corrupt, unwholesome, degrading talk. Ephesians 4:29
  • Anger can grieve the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 4:30
  • Anger can be totally cancelled. Ephesians 4:31
  • Anger becomes sin when it results in bitterness. Ephesians 4:31
  • Anger must be eradicated before it turns into rage. Ephesians 4:31
  • Anger must be forfeited before it leads to fighting. Ephesians 4:31
  • Anger must be stopped before it becomes slander. Ephesians 4:31
  • Anger must be mastered before it becomes malicious. Ephesians 4:31
  • Anger can be conquered through compassion. Ephesians 4:32
  • Anger can be defeated through forgiveness. Ephesians 4:32

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This information comes from Hunt, J. (2008). Biblical Counseling Keys on Anger: Facing the Fire Within, Dallas, TX: Hope For The Heart.

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The Root Cause of Anger

When we feel that our real or perceived “rights” have been violated, we can easily respond with anger.

But what are our legitimate rights? One person might answer, “Happiness” while another might say, “Freedom to live life my way.” But this was not the mind-set of Jesus. He yielded His rights to His heavenly Father. Based on the Bible, we have the right to live in the light of God’s will as revealed in His Word.

Other than that, we are to yield our rights to the Lord and let Him have His way in our hearts. “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5–6)

WRONG BELIEF: “Based on what I believe is fair, I have the right to be angry about the disappointments in my life and to stay angry for as long as I feel like it. I have the right to express my anger in whatever way is natural for me.”

RIGHT BELIEF: “Since the Lord is sovereign over me and I trust Him with my life, I have yielded my rights to Him. My human disappointments are now God’s appointments to increase my faith and develop His character in me. I choose to not be controlled by anger, but to use anger to motivate me to do whatever God wants me to do.”

In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” (1 Peter 1:6–7)

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This information comes from Hunt, J. (2008). Biblical Counseling Keys on Anger: Facing the Fire Within, Dallas, TX: Hope For The Heart.

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Expectations and Anger

It is easy to live under the illusion that we can determine what people should do or how situations should be decided. “My destiny should be this; therefore, people should do that.” We pray and expect God to do everything we ask.

The primary problem with these expectations can center around one simple word, pride. Ask the Lord, “Do I act as though I am at the center of my world?”

Here is a tough word from the Lord: “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.… ‘God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’ ” (James 4:1–3, 6)


Anger over Circumstances: “I expected good things would always come my way … but life is clearly not what I’d expected.”

Anger toward Others: “I expected that you would always be here for me, to always support and love me … but now I’m left alone.”

Anger toward Yourself: “I expected to always excel … but now I am struggling and feel like a failure.”

  • The more we expect people to do what we want, the angrier we become when they fail us.
  • The more we try to control others, the more control we give them over us.
  • The more demands we put on others, the more power we give them to anger us.

Instead, we need to humble ourselves and submit to God’s sovereignty over our lives and over the lives of others. We need to leave our destiny in His hands—where it rightly resides.

The Bible says that we are to lay our expectations before the Lord and allow Him to determine what we should receive. “Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him.” (Psalm 62:5)

“How can I handle my anger over the losses in my life?” When you experience significant loss in your life, you will go through a time of grieving.

Admit your feelings—your hurt or sense of injustice, your fear or frustration. Release to God all the pain you feel, along with the situations that are beyond your control.

Express your faith—trust God to give you the grace and insight to deal constructively with each loss. Release your expectation that life must go your way.

Pray to your Father—“Lord, thank You that You are sovereign over my life. Whatever it takes, I want to respond to You with a heart of gratitude and to accept these unchangeable circumstances in my life. I choose to stop making myself and those around me miserable for something none of us can change. Instead, I thank You for how You are going to use everything in my life for my good and for Christ’s glory. In His holy name I pray. Amen.”

Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

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This information comes from Hunt, J. (2008). Biblical Counseling Keys on Anger: Facing the Fire Within, Dallas, TX: Hope For The Heart.

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Sources of Anger

Anger is typically started and fueled by one of four sources: hurt, injustice, fear, or frustration. With these roots, anger is a secondary response to one or more of these four sources. Probing into buried feelings from your past can be painful, so it can seem easier to stay angry than to uncover the cause, turn loose of your “rights,” and grow in maturity. We must have perseverance because, “Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:4)

Hurt: Your heart is wounded. Everyone has a God-given inner need for unconditional love. When you experience rejection or emotional pain of any kind, anger can become a protective wall that keeps people and pain away.

BIBLICAL EXAMPLE: 12 Sons of Jacob… Joseph was the undisputed favorite of the twelve sons of Jacob. Feeling hurt and rejected by their father, the older sons became angry and vindictive toward their younger brother! “Israel [Jacob] loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age; and he made a richly ornamented robe for him. When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him.” (Genesis 37:3–4)

Injustice: Your right is violated. Everyone has an inner moral code that produces a sense of right and wrong, fair and unfair, just and unjust. When you perceive that an injustice has occurred against you or others (especially those whom you love), you may feel angry. If you hold on to the offense, the unresolved anger can begin to make a home in your heart.

BIBLICAL EXAMPLE: King Saul… Saul’s unjust treatment of David evoked Jonathan’s anger. When Jonathan, son of Saul, heard his own father pronounce a death sentence on his dear friend David, he asked, “ ‘Why should he be put to death? What has he done?’ Jonathan asked his father. But Saul hurled his spear at him to kill him [Jonathan]. Then Jonathan knew that his father intended to kill David. Jonathan got up from the table in fierce anger; on that second day of the month he did not eat, because he was grieved at his father’s shameful treatment of David” (1 Samuel 20:32–34).

Fear: Your future is threatened. Everyone is created with a God-given inner need for security. When you begin to worry, feel threatened, or get angry because of a change in circumstances, you may be responding to fear. A fearful heart reveals a lack of trust in God’s perfect plan for your life.

BIBLICAL EXAMPLE: King Saul… Saul became angry because of David’s many successes on the battlefield. He was threatened by David’s popularity and feared he would lose his kingdom. (Read 1 Samuel 18:5–15, 28–29.) “Saul was very angry.… ‘They have credited David with tens of thousands,’ he thought, ‘but me with only thousands.’ … Saul was afraid of David, because the Lord was with David but had left Saul.” (1 Samuel 18:8, 12)

Frustration: Your performance is not accepted. Everyone has a God-given inner need for significance. When your efforts are thwarted or do not meet your own personal expectations, your sense of significance can be threatened. Frustration over unmet expectations of yourself or of others is a major source of anger.

BIBLICAL EXAMPLE: Cain… Both Cain and Abel brought offerings to God, but Cain’s offering was clearly unacceptable. Cain had chosen to offer what he himself wanted to give rather than what God said was right and acceptable. When Cain’s self-effort was rejected, his frustration led to anger, and his anger led to the murder of his own brother. “In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the LORD. But Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.… Now Cain said to his brother Abel, ‘Let’s go out to the field.’ And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.” (Genesis 4:3–5, 8)

Ask yourself this important question: “What does God want me to do about my inappropriate anger?” God wants you to examine the true source of your anger. Is it hurt, injustice, fear, frustration, or a combination? Then evaluate whether you are using anger to try to get your inner needs for love, for significance, and for security met.

Hurt: Have you been hurt by rejection or someone’s unkind words? If so, evaluate. Are you using anger to intimidate or coerce someone into remaining in a relationship with you?

Injustice: Have you been the victim of a real or perceived injustice? If so, evaluate. Are you using angry, accusatory words to cause someone to feel guilty and obligated to you?

Fear: Has something occurred that causes you to have fear? If so, evaluate. Are you using anger to overpower and control someone in order to get your way?

Frustration: Do you feel a sense of frustration because of unmet expectations? If so, evaluate. Are you using angry threats and shaming words to manipulate someone into meeting your demands?

In searching your heart, decide that you will not use anger to try to get your needs met. Instead, repent and enter into a deeper dependence on the Lord to meet these God-given needs. “The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.” (Isaiah 58:11)

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This information comes from Hunt, J. (2008). Biblical Counseling Keys on Anger: Facing the Fire Within, Dallas, TX: Hope For The Heart.

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Hidden Anger

Many people live life unaware that they have hidden anger, or suppressed anger that only occasionally surfaces. While hidden anger is usually rooted in past childhood hurts, the underlying effects are always ready to surface at any time. For example, when someone says or does something wrong, the one with suppressed anger often overreacts. When someone makes an innocent mistake, the magnitude of anger is out of proportion to the mistake.

If you have hidden anger, you can find yourself at one extreme or another; from feeling hopeless to feeling hostile, and can be totally unaware of why you are experiencing these feelings. The Bible makes it clear that some of our motives and emotions are hidden from our own view. “Who can discern his errors? Forgive my hidden faults.” (Psalm 19:12)


  • Do you have irritability over trifles?
  • Do you smile on the outside, while you hurt on the inside?
  • Do you find your identity and worth in excessive work?
  • Do you deny ever being impatient?
  • Do you have to have the last word?
  • Do those close to you say that you blame others?
  • Do you feel emotionally flat?
  • Do you find yourself quickly fatigued?
  • Do you have a loss of interest in life?
  • Do you become easily frustrated?

If you find that you have hidden anger, resolve to follow the Lord’s directive to these Christians in Colossae, “You must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.” (Colossians 3:8)

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This information comes from Hunt, J. (2008). Biblical Counseling Keys on Anger: Facing the Fire Within, Dallas, TX: Hope For The Heart.

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Unresolved Anger

The emotion of anger is not a problem in itself, but anger becomes a problem when left unresolved. Prolonged anger brings bitterness and unforgiveness. One way you can choose to harbor anger is by refusing to face your feelings in a healthy way. This unresolved anger not only creates a rift between you and God, but also damages your body, destroys your emotions, and demoralizes your relationships.

Whether you recognize it or not, extended anger can cause significant physical, emotional, and spiritual problems. Jesus said, “I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment.” (Matthew 5:22)

Unresolved anger is known to produce in many people some of the following physical, emotional, and spiritual symptoms:

Physical Symptoms: High blood pressure, Heart disease, Stomach disorders, Intestinal disorders, Headaches, Blurred vision, Insomnia, Compulsive eating

Emotional Symptoms: Anxiety, Bitterness, Compulsions, Depression, Fear, Insecurity, Phobias, Worry

Spiritual Symptoms:

  • Loss of Perspective
  • Allowing your emotions to distort your thinking
  • Loss of Vision
  • Losing a sense of purpose for your life
  • Loss of Sensitivity
  • Failing to hear the Spirit of God speaking to your heart
  • Loss of Energy
  • Lacking strength for your service to God and others
  • Loss of Freedom
  • Becoming a prisoner of your circumstances
  • Loss of Confidence
  • Feeling insecure about your response to difficulties
  • Loss of Faith
  • Failing to trust that God is working in your life
  • Loss of Identity
  • Becoming like the person toward whom you are bitter

Unresolved anger produces bitterness. And the Bible links bitterness with being in bondage to sin. “I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin.” (Acts 8:23)

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This information comes from Hunt, J. (2008). Biblical Counseling Keys on Anger: Facing the Fire Within, Dallas, TX: Hope For The Heart.

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Action or Reaction in Anger

It’s time for some self-evaluation… ask yourself these questions:

  1. When you are angry, does reason rule the day or do tense emotions take over?
  2. Do you allow the mind of Christ within you to determine how best you should act, a choice that leads to appropriate action … or do you have a knee-jerk reaction that leads to inappropriate reaction?

If you have never evaluated what happens when you feel angry or if you lack insight as to how others perceive you when you are angry, seek God’s wisdom and understanding. “If you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God. For the LORD gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.” (Proverbs 2:3–6)

An appropriate action is expressing your thoughts and feelings with restraint, understanding, and concern for the other person’s welfare. “A man of knowledge uses words with restraint, and a man of understanding is even-tempered.” (Proverbs 17:27)

An inappropriate reaction is expressing your thoughts and feelings in such a way that stirs up anger in others so that it produces strife. Proverbs, the book on wisdom, paints this graphic picture, “As churning the milk produces butter, and as twisting the nose produces blood, so stirring up anger produces strife.” (Proverbs 30:33)

To help assess whether you act or react, take time to answer the following questions:

Anger ActionsEven though a situation may evoke anger, those who allow the Lord to be their strength will respond appropriately. “As God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” (Colossians 3:12)

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This information comes from Hunt, J. (2008). Biblical Counseling Keys on Anger: Facing the Fire Within, Dallas, TX: Hope For The Heart.

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The Magnitude of Anger

Anger, like heat, has many degrees ranging from from mild, controlled irritation to a hot, uncontrolled explosion. Anger covers many levels of the emotion. “Simeon and Levi are brothers—their swords are weapons of violence. Let me not enter their council, let me not join their assembly, for they have killed men in their anger and hamstrung oxen as they pleased. Cursed be their anger, so fierce, and their fury, so cruel! I will scatter them in Jacob and disperse them in Israel.” (Genesis 49:5–7)

Indignation is simmering anger provoked by something appearing unjust or unworthy and often perceived as justified. Jesus became “indignant” when the disciples were preventing parents from bringing their children to Jesus so that He might touch and bless them. “When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.’ ” (Mark 10:14)

Wrath is burning anger accompanied by a desire to avenge. Wrath often moves from the emotion of anger to the outward expression of anger. In Romans 1:18, God expresses His wrath as divine judgment on those who commit willful sin. “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness.” (Romans 1:18)

Fury is fiery anger so fierce that it destroys common sense. The word fury suggests a powerful force compelled to harm or destroy. Some members of the Sanhedrin were so angry with Peter and the other apostles for proclaiming that Jesus was God that “they were furious and wanted to put them to death” (Acts 5:33). That is why the Bible says, “Anger is cruel and fury overwhelming.” (Proverbs 27:4)

Rage is blazing anger resulting in loss of self-control, often to the extreme of violence and temporary insanity. After an outburst of rage, how many times have we heard this cry of remorse, “I can’t believe I did that!” Yet those who continue to vent their rage toward others, including toward God, find themselves defeated by their own destructive decisions and ruined relationships. “A man’s own folly ruins his life, yet his heart rages against the LORD.” (Proverbs 19:3)

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This information comes from Hunt, J. (2008). Biblical Counseling Keys on Anger: Facing the Fire Within, Dallas, TX: Hope For The Heart.

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