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Unbiblical Responses to Anger

By Dr. Don Dunlap
Pastoral Counselor
We cannot solve our anger problems in our own strength. We must cry out for God’s mercy.

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People deal with anger in many unbiblical ways.  As you read through the following list of sinful responses, consider whether or not you have been guilty of endorsing these methods of handling anger, as acceptable options.

An angry person:

  1. Explodes in a rage or a fit of temper.  He strikes out verbally or physically at people or things.
  2. Expresses anger outwardly by beating a pillow or another inanimate object, while thinking, or speaking, about the person with whom he is angry. (ventilates anger)
  3. Controls his temper at work, in front of his boss and coworkers, and at church, in front of Christian brothers and sisters, but he exercises little or no control at home with his loved ones.
  4. Does strenuous physical exercise to release feelings of anger, yet he fails to deal with the sinful root of his anger.
  5. Loses his temper and exhibits his anger by such behaviors as honking his horn in traffic, throwing objects, yelling at people, or using obscenities.
  6. Seethes inwardly and becomes bitter.
  7. Verbally attacks or slanders people who persecute him or take advantage of him.
  8. Discusses every aspect of his anger or bitterness to “get in touch with his feelings,” and to release repressed emotions. (catharsis)
  9. Denies that he is angry or bitter. (internalizes anger)
  10. Writes vengeful letters to express his anger, but doesn’t mail them. (combination of ventilation and catharsis)
  11. Does not examine his anger and respond biblically, but describes his anger as “righteous indignation” and his bitterness as justifiable.

A Christian must never blame his anger on someone or something else.

Many Christians justify their anger and bitterness with unbiblical excuses.  They claim, for example, that other people or certain situations are to blame for their anger.  They believe that they are not responsible.  Someone or something “made” them get angry.   The truth is that no one can make us angry.  We choose to get angry and we can choose to handle our anger in a way that is destructive or in a way that honors God. 

Still another false justification for anger is the belief that we have a right to get angry if the circumstances of our past or our present seem unfair.  We tend to wallow in anger and self-pity if our upbringing, for example, was less than ideal.  We have been dealt a bad hand in life and we can’t be expected to be as loving and pleasant as people who have been given all the “breaks.” 

When we allow ourselves to think in this manner we are guilty of selfishly living to please ourselves.  We should heed the words or Galatians 5:17, “For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.”

We cannot solve our anger problem in our own strength.  We must cry out for God’s mercy and grace.

When we focus on ourselves, our attempts to solve our problem of bitterness and anger will be based on man’s wisdom and will lead to further selfishness.  We must rely solely upon the Lord and the instructions for overcoming anger that we find in His Word, if we desire to handle anger in a way that brings glory to God. 


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