Every person knows what it means to be angry. Anger comes in many shapes and sizes. Our anger could be in the form of a visible volcanic explosion, or it could be in the form of an invisible silent iceberg. Anger comes in varying degrees of frustration and hatred. But whether mild or severe, loud or quiet, we have all been angry.
There are many resources (Calming Your Heart by Robert Jones) you can pick up to fight the hatred in your heart. Jenny and I have decided to read a devotional book (A Small Book about a Big Problem by Ed Welch) on anger before and after the arrival of each of our children because we know the temptation to be angry with little sleep and screaming newborns. But the most important resource to address your anger is the Bible.
The book of Proverbs is rich with insight into our souls. It shines a light on the hatred in our hearts regardless of the shape or size. Perhaps you are trapped in the sin of anger and looking for a way out. Or perhaps you are feeling discouraged because you can’t seem to get rid of the angry behaviors and habits you have cultivated. The good news is that Jesus died to free you from your anger and grant you resurrection power to overcome it.
I want to encourage you to examine these Proverbs and commit at least one of them to memory. They are short phrases that make true observations about our lives. Select one of these Proverbs along with the observation that attends it and meditate on it. Think about it and carry it with you in your heart. When your heart starts to bubble up with frustration and irritation, turn your mind to this passage and observation instead.
Use these Proverbs as small buckets of water to put off the embers of anger in your soul. If you ask God for grace and turn to Him in his word, he promises to help you. The Holy Spirit can give you strength to rule your spirit instead of being ruled by your anger. Which Proverb will you let transform you today?
Anger is foolish, but love is wise.
“Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly.” Proverbs 14:29
Anger is destructive, but love is constructive.
“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Proverbs 15:1
Anger seeks to ruin; love wants to redeem.
“A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger quiets contention.” Proverbs 15:18
Anger hurts, but love heals.
“There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” Proverbs 12:18
Anger harms me, but Christ helps me.
“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 22:24-25
Anger is weak, but love is strong.
“Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.” Proverbs 16:32
“A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.” Proverbs 25:28
Anger is selfish; love is selfless.
“Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.” Proverbs 19:11
Anger undermines the gospel, but the gospel undermines anger.
“A man of wrath stirs up strife, and one given to anger causes much transgression.” Proverbs 29:22
“Know this, my beloved brothers: 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. Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.” James 1:19–20
Listen to Pastor Sean’s sermon from the Sunday night series entitled Reclaiming Love: People of Compassion in a World Full of Hate.