“Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil. (Eph 4:26-27)
Anger is our normal emotional response to a perceived threat, hurt, wrongful doing, or injustice. Anger isn’t always bad, but it must be handled appropriately. Why is it important to handle anger properly? If expressed thoughtlessly, anger can hurt others and destroy relationships. If bottled up inside, it can cause us to become bitter and destroy us from within. If we nurse our anger, we will give Satan a foothold which can divide us.
To properly handle our anger, we need to analyze why we are angry. Is our anger for the right cause? We can be angry at the sins and injustice that we see in the world. However, in our righteous anger, we must be careful lest we fall into sin. We need to take our anger to the Lord for Him to analyze and handle through prayer. While anger may motivate us to take action and confront the offender, we need to be gentle and careful, looking within ourselves, lest we also be tempted (Gal 6:1).
When we analyze our own anger, we may find that the causes are mostly personal. The common triggers for anger are losing patience, not being respected, feeling unappreciated, threatened or hurt. It can also be caused by stress, physical illness or fatigue. This type of anger can be sinful and destructive if it gets out of control.
So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God. (Jas 1:19-20)
Learning to control anger can be a challenge for everyone at times. We can rely on the help of the Holy Spirit since the fruit of the Spirit is self-control, which includes the control of anger. Being slow to wrath, rather than having an outburst of anger, helps us to calm down, think rationally, and analyze our own anger. If our anger is for the right cause, then we should pray to understand what actions we can take to bring glory to God. The wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God. If we get angry easily and often, perhaps we need to consider checking our physical health or evaluating our stress level. Knowing that most anger stems from self-interest or wounded pride, we need to learn to control our temper by bearing the fruit of the Spirit of love, patience, gentleness, and self-control.