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Overcoming Anger Series

By Dr. Don Dunlap
Pastoral Counselor
God does not want us to deny our feelings of anger, but He does expect us to handle them biblically.

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Are you often quick to anger? Do you ever get so angry that you feel you are “out of control?” Unbridled anger is unbiblical. People who have an angry spirit demonstrate dissatisfaction with God’s sovereign control in their lives. They are very aware of anyone or anything that gets in the way of their rights. In this first of a ten-article series on anger, Dr. Don Dunlap reminds us that as Christians, we have no excuse for explosive, abusive outbursts of anger.

Anger is often an “excusable” sin for many Christians. Although the very thought of cheating or stealing, for example, is unacceptable to us, we give ourselves permission to explode in outbursts of anger, and we tell ourselves that we cannot help it. We rationalize our sin with such thoughts as, “That’s just how I am. I have a bad temper. I’m not nearly as bad as someone who is physically abusive.”

God’s Word tells us that a Christian has no excuse for explosive, abusive anger.

The Word of God, however, does not excuse the sin of anger. The writer of Colossians 3:8 admonishes us,

But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth.

Anger that is quickly aroused and readily expressed, characterizes our old self apart from Jesus Christ. We are quick to anger when we live to please ourselves instead of the Lord.

Unbridled anger is unbiblical. We read this warning in James 1:19-20,

This you know, my beloved brethren. But let everyone be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.

Someone who has an angry spirit demonstrates dissatisfaction with God’s sovereign control in his life. He has not yet yielded his heart to Christ in complete submission and obedience to His will. An angry person is very aware of his rights and he is unhappy when anyone or anything gets in the way of those rights.

God does not want us to deny our feelings of anger, but He does expect us to handle them biblically.


Meekness is the opposite of anger. Meekness is not weakness. People who are meek are actually very strong because they have learned to deal biblically with their anger.


They have come to understand the biblical truth of God’s ownership in their lives. They acknowledge the fact that they have been purchased with Jesus’ blood and they are no longer their own. They willingly relinquish their rights to God. Jesus Christ is our supreme example of the character quality of meekness.

Meek people do not deny their angry feelings, but, instead, they ask God to harness and channel their anger in a God-honoring way. They take seriously the command of Romans 6:12-14,

Therefore do not let sin (anger) reign in your mortal body that you should obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin (anger) as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin (anger) shall not be master over, you, for you are not under law, but under grace.

A Christian who is given to anger cannot love other people unconditionally.


Anger disrupts unity in the Body of Christ. A Christian who is easily angered cannot genuinely love other people. Harmonious relationships are based on a selfless, Christ-like love.


When we fail to “put aside anger,” we grieve the Holy Spirit, we give Satan undue opportunity in our lives, and we diminish our witness to a lost and dying world.

If we have a sincere desire to learn the scriptural principles of how to overcome anger, we must choose to obey God’s Word wholeheartedly, in every circumstance of anger and with every person involved, even if our feelings should dictate otherwise.


Dr. Don Dunlap, a pioneer in the placement of Pastoral Counselors in the offices of Christian physicians, has conducted over twenty thousand appointments during his ministerial career. His counseling practice includes adults, children and families in crisis. Dr. Dunlap is committed to facilitating a network of telephone counselors. His goal is to provide help for the many people unwilling, or unable, to meet face to face with a competent counselor. For more articles by Dr. Dunlap go to Counseling and Advice on the Health Channel.

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