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An Anger Checklist

By Dr. Don Dunlap
Pastoral Counselor
Many people do not know when their anger crosses the line of acceptable expression to become sinful.

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We learn from God’s Word that the anger of man cannot achieve the righteousness of God. God commands us to put off every kind of anger, whether it is violent and explosive in nature, or sullen and seething in its expression. The writer of Ecclesiastes 7:9 warns,

Do not be eager in your heart to be angry, for anger resides in the bosom of fools.

In God’s perspective, an angry person is a fool.

We should not form an intimate friendship with someone who is given to outbursts of anger.

Angry outbursts are deeds of the flesh and God condemns them. We read in Proverbs 29:22, “An angry man stirs up strife, and a hot-tempered man abounds in transgressions.” Again, in Proverbs 22:24-25 we find a warning against forming a bond of friendship with a person who has a problem with anger,

Do not associate with a man given to anger; or go with a hot-tempered man, lest you learn his ways, and find a snare for yourself.

A person who has an angry spirit should not be in a position of church leadership.

In Titus 1:7 we read that God does not permit a person with a quick temper to assume a position of church leadership: “For the overseer must be above reproach as God’s steward, not self-willed, not quick tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain.”


Christian leaders must demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit in their lives. An angry person who has been appointed to lead other people will wrongly influence them because he or she will constantly be in trouble.


Many Christians do not know how to determine when their anger crosses the line of acceptable expression and becomes sinful. Several questions are helpful for someone who wishes to search his or her own heart, to discern whether or not he or she is guilty of unbiblical anger.

When I am angry:

1.      Do I demonstrate unconditional biblical love to my neighbor?


“A man of violence entices his neighbor and leads him in a way that is not good.” Proverbs 16:29

2.      Do I use hurtful words that do not encourage or edify other people?


“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Proverbs 15:1

      3. Do I have angry outbursts and am I quick-tempered?

“A quick-tempered man acts foolishly, and a man of evil devices is hated.” Proverbs 14:17

     4. Do I seek vengeance or try to retaliate against my offender?

“A man’s discretion makes him slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook a transgression.” Proverbs 19:11

5.  Do I respond in a manner that is displeasing to God and dishonoring to His name—unmercifully and without compassion?


“But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever shall say to his brother, ‘Raca,’ shall be guilty before the Supreme Court; and whoever shall say, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell.” Matthew 5:22

6.      Do I fail to demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit in my thoughts, words and actions?


“He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city.” Proverbs 16:32

Someone who sincerely intends to overcome the sin habit of unbridled anger should help himself win the war by committing God’s Word to memory.


An excellent strategy for overcoming the temptation to be sinfully angry is to memorize the six scripture verses listed above. It is helpful to quote these verses aloud in the midst of a temptation to respond angrily to a person or a situation.



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