Often, anger simmers just below the surface, sometimes for a lifetime. Like a corrosive acid, this kind of anger eats away at our bodies and souls, yet we may not even be aware of it’s presence. ~Billy Graham~
Anger is probably the most volatile of all human emotions. Whether it simmers below the surface for a while before bubbling over, or shows up instantaneously, unchecked anger will overwhelm, and the results can be devastating.
Wrath can be fierce and anger overwhelms… Proverbs 27:4
According to Webster, to overwhelm is:
- to cover over completely: submerge
- to overpower in thought or feeling
How many times have you heard or said, “I can’t help the way I feel”? I heard it just the other day from a young woman who, over the years, has become one of my beloved children. Her young man betrayed her trust three years ago and she is still angry and lashing out. After all this time, the feelings are just as fresh as if the betrayal had occurred yesterday. That’s a long time to be submerged. Unfortunately, some of us have been among the walking wounded for even longer periods, believing one of the biggest lies Satan has ever told. The “I can’t help the way I feel” lie.
I believed it and spent most of my life being controlled by my unpredictable emotions. I believed I was moody and quick-tempered because that was the way God made me. I believed some people were born cool and calm while others came here hot and explosive and there really wasn’t anything you could do about it. Wrong!
Do not hasten in your spirit to be angry, For anger rests in the bosom of fools. Ecclesiastes 7:9
There’s a lot we can do about it. God created us as emotional beings – yes – but, He also gave us a free will so we get to choose what we will or will not do. We get to make a choice to either fly hot when provoked or to pause, take a deep breath and exercise restraint.
Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters! Let every person be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger. For human anger does not accomplish God’s righteousness. James 1:20
We make the decision to follow the word of God or to follow our feelings. This might be hard to take, but if anger has you constantly spinning out of control, it’s because you allow it. Slow down!
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5
Learning to pause, capture our thoughts and examine them isn’t easy, but if God expects it, He’s certainly made a way for us to perform it. If we could just learn to be still and keep our mouths shut then the Holy Spirit will take us through it. Think about it! We have the Spirit of Christ alive on the inside of us teaching, guiding, comforting and producing good fruit!
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control. Galatians 5:22-23
I want those fruits! I want everything God said I could have and once I realized I was getting angry and responding to situations in the same way I did twenty years ago, I knew something had to give. And that something was me. I had to make up my mind to pass the “quick temper test” and move on to other facets of my personality, otherwise I’d be stuck in the same place, failing the same test over and over. I had to get loosed from anger. I’m not all the way there but I am miles away from where I was. Praise the Lord!
Below, I’ve listed just a few verses relating to anger. There are so many more. Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28. If anger has worn you out give it to Him and get His rest in return.
You used to behave like them as you lived among them. But now you must also get rid of anger, wrath, malice, slander, obscene speech and all such sins. Colossians 3:7-8
Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them. Psalm 119:165
A gentle response turns away anger, but a harsh word stirs up wrath. Proverbs 15:1
Don’t make friends with a hot-tempered man, and do not associate with someone who is easily angered or you may learn his ways. Proverbs 22:24-25
For as the churning of milk produces butter and as punching the nose produces blood, so stirring up anger produces strife. Proverbs 30:33
Be ye angry and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil. Ephesians 4:26-27
Let all bitterness and wrath and anger, and clamor and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you Ephesians 4:31-32
So I want men to pray in every place, lifting up holy hands without anger or dispute 1 Timothy 2:8
Katherine Kam explores some of the devastating physical effects of anger in her article: Rein in the Rage: Anger and Heart Disease