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How to get your anger under control

Anger in and of itself isn’t a sin. Even God gets angry sometimes. The difference is, that He’s “slow to anger”. In other words, He doesn’t just fly off the handle.

Just as well!

But when we’re under pressure you and I, just the smallest thing can set us off, right?

So…how do we get our anger under control?

Slow Down

The secret to getting your anger under control is, quite simply, slowing down. For me, that’s easier said than done.

I’m one of these people who doesn’t do anything slowly. Because I like getting lots of things done, I generally do things at speed. I walk quickly. I want to drive quickly. In fact I consciously have to slow myself down and stop myself from weaving in and out of the traffic.

I think quickly. Sometimes I even talk quickly.

And one of the other things that I used to do very quickly for much of my life, was getting angry. Just the slightest littlest thing would set me off. In fact of all the weaknesses in my makeup, the one thing more than any other that I had to learn to get under control was my anger. (So I’m speaking now as a practitioner rather than a theoretician!)

Here’s the thing I discovered – it’s an important truth: the quicker we are to anger, the more often we’re going to get angry because there;s no shortage of opportunities for flying of the handle.

I had a problem, and I had to do something about it. Fortunately for me (and for you) there’s power in God’s Word!

So what do we do about it?

This is what God has to say about anger (yours and mine):

One who is slow to anger is better than the mighty and one whose temper is controlled than one who captures a city. (Prov 16:32)

Those are to pretty high statements. Let’s take a look at them.

The first part – one who is slow to anger is better than the mighty – or perhaps another way of saying it is that one who is slow to anger is more mighty than the mightiest. Why?

Because when we learn to be slow to anger, we become a blessing to the people around us. What a pleasure it is to be around someone who almost never gets angry. Exactly what does it mean to be slow to anger? Quite simply this.

Of all the opportunities we have to get angry each day – 99.9% of them simply aren’t worth the effort, are they?! So when we let those ones pass us by. And when we do that – when we make a conscious decision not to get angry about those silly little things – what people see when they look at us, is someone who is slow to anger.

They see someone who is mighty enough, to control their anger. Which brings us to the second part of that proverb:

One whose temper is controlled, is better than someone who captures a whole city.

Why? Because someone whose temper is under control, will capture people’s respect and allegiance without any bloodshed. That makes them better than a mighty warrior who can take a whole city through brute force.

And the Good News is … You Don’t Have to Go It Alone

Bringing our anger under control can be a herculean task for some of us – but God doesn’t expect us to do it on our own. I believe with all my heart that as you receive His Word today, the power of His Spirit is going to begin a mighty work in you.

You and I – we’re blessed in Christ to be a blessing. And each temper tantrum avoided, each angry outburst averted is going to be a huge blessing to someone out there – not the least of all, to us.

And that’s what happens when we let the Spirit of God write His Word on our hearts. That’s what happens when we give the Holy Spirit sway in our hearts. He does the heavy lifting for us. Hallelujah!!!

This is Where the Rubber Hits the Road

So … what about you? What about your life? What are the things that set you off and make you angry? What are the triggers, if you will?

Is it someone driving their car out in front of you and pushing in? Is it something someone says or does, or doesn’t say or doesn’t do? What’s the one thing more than any other that sets you off?

And think about this – the next time that it happens, what are you going to do about it? How are you going to respond differently so that you have your anger and your temper under control?

May the Word of Christ dwell richly in you so that the next time you have the opportunity to get angry the Spirit would bring this Word to life in you:

One who is slow to anger is better than the mighty and one whose temper is controlled than one who captures a city.

Read more from Berni Dymet in his blog A Different Perspective.