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Practical Steps to Overcome Anger

By Dr. Don Dunlap
Pastoral Counseling
We “get angry” when an irritating or provoking incident triggers an emotional response wit

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There are certain physiological changes that occur within our bodies when we react in anger.

Unbiblical anger takes a heavy physical toll on our bodies.

When an irritating or provoking incident triggers an emotional response within us, we “get angry.” Tension and stress begin to build and our bodies release adrenaline and other chemicals. Our breathing rate increases and the rate of our heartbeat accelerates. As blood pressure rises, brain responses are significantly reduced. Anger intensifies such senses as sight and hearing for a brief time.

The volume and pitch of our voices may change and we may experience exaggerated abilities, such as a burst of extra strength that we would not otherwise possess.

When we handle anger in a sinful manner, we can feel the physiological changes occurring in our body.

When we do not handle anger biblically, it takes a toll on our bodies. If we do not control our anger, or when we harbor bitterness and unresolved anger in our hearts, we risk suffering many negative physical, mental and spiritual consequences.


Some disorders that may develop when we express anger sinfully are gastrointestinal problems, recurring headaches, respiratory disorders, skin diseases, arthritis, urinary tract and circulatory disorders, disabilities of the nervous system, sleeplessness and emotional disturbances.


God does not permit us to make excuses for an anger problem. He wants us to overcome it in His strength.

Once we become aware of the fact that we have a problem with a particular sin pattern in our lives, we should ask God for the grace to take measures to overcome it. It may be helpful to consider the following truths and practical steps for conquering the sin of anger.

We begin by genuinely repenting before God and before anyone else who has been affected by our anger. We should make a list of the people that we have hurt and offended. The next step is to go to each one of them, individually, in a spirit of humility and ask for their forgiveness.

 As we humble ourselves before each person, we must be sure to specifically identify and repent of the sin of anger.

Second, we begin a war that we expect to win. Many Christians expect to lose the war with anger, but they hope that by trying to overcome their sinful responses they will at least reduce their number of failures. This approach gives the flesh a foothold—a “backdoor” for defeat.

It also negates God’s command to His children to be disciplined and wholeheartedly dedicated to fighting sin. The writer of Hebrews 12:3,4 states,

Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.

If we take a half-hearted approach to conquering sin, we will be defeated before we begin.

Resisting sin involves a total commitment of our minds for victory, whatever the cost. In Daniel 1:8 we find that Daniel “purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself.”


When we purpose to win the war with anger, God will turn every defeat that we encounter into a revelation for our spiritual growth and progress. He will show us the hidden causes of why we fail. He will use our defeats to show us our utter need for Him.


God’s promise that although we may lose some minor battles, we will win the war ought to encourage us. Our losses should serve to increase our determination to press on faithfully toward victory in Christ Jesus. If, however, we do not truly expect to win the war, every small defeat will discourage us.




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