If you are struggling with sinful anger then you are probably destroying the precious and important relationships that you have with those around you. Sinful anger is a destroyer. It lashes out at people and says, “I hate you and I want to hurt you.” Now, in hindsight you may wish you did not strike such verbal blows, but by then it is too late. The result? Marriages are torn apart, children are driven to despair and deep discouragement, neighbors are offended, and jobs are lost. What a horrible outcome!
Can this destructive habit be put out of your life forever? Yes, it can be! You have hope. You have hope because of what you are doing right now, seeking a Biblical solution to this problem. Don’t stop. Keep reading this brochure. You are on the right track.
In Ephesians 4:31, the Bible gives us hope that anger can be eliminated in your life. It says, “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.” You see, the Bible would not tell you to do something you should not or could not do. Now, just what are the steps to finding God’s solution to this bondage of anger? There are three.
Number one, you must know God personally before you can expect Him to give you the help you need with this anger. In Romans 2:8 we read, “But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger.” God’s righteous wrath and anger will be the fruit of your godless anger. This condition continually follows those who reject the truth. You must not do that.
If you do not have Christ as your Savior then you do not have God and the resources of His Word to help you with this problem. You must have God’s help to solve this problem. The eternal solution this problem begins with repentance of your sins and faith in Christ who died for sinners at Calvary. If Jesus Christ is not your Savior, you must make him so, for without Christ you lack God’s great resource of self-control – His Holy Spirit.
Number two, you must understand that the purpose of rage-filled anger is to destroy. So when you lash out at a child or a husband or a neighbor, you are saying, “I want to kill you.” You may be saying, “That is too strong, I don’t feel that way.” O really? Notice what James says in James 4:1-2, “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want.” Were the Christians he was writing to actually killing each other? No, I don’t think so. But they hated each other, and James equates that with killing.
But some people don’t lash out in their anger. Some clam up with angry and hold it in. What about them? Are they destroying as well? Yes, they are. Out of fear or selfish interest they are not attempting to destroy the person they are angry with, although they may wish to. But by clamming up and holding it in they are destroying themselves. So we see anger is designed to destroy. But it is not designed to destroy you or your neighbor. So what is anger designed for? It is designed to destroy the problem. And here is where you are going wrong. You are improperly using the God created emotion of anger to hurt other people, and you should not do that, for that is sin.
Number three; you must understand God’s plan of action in solving this problem. No doubt you have tried to put this problem out of your life on many occasions. And yet, here you are, again trying to deal with this terrible sin. What have you done wrong? Maybe you have done what most everyone else is doing. You are trying to put this problem off by focusing on the problem itself. But that is not God’s way. Notice what Ephesians 4:31 and 32 says, “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” The key to the solution is found right here. The way you “get rid of” something is to “be” something else. So what is it Paul says to be? Three things, be kind, be compassionate and, be forgiving. If you are to “put off” “rage and anger” you must do so by “putting on” kindness, compassion and forgiveness. In other words, you “put off” by “putting on.”
This is where most Christians go wrong. They try to “put off” by “putting off.” In other words, they go through the day saying to themselves, “I must not be angry. I must control my rage. I must get a grip on this problem.” But then what happens? They blow up. You know why? Because the real problem has never been addressed. The real problem is that they are not “kind, compassionate, and forgiving” people. So they eventually act in terms of their character. A fish swims, a bird flies, an angry person rages. If you want to eliminate the rage, you must become a different person. Is that within reason? Sure it is! You can do it. Here is how.
You have habituated (made a habit of) rage and anger as a part of your character. Anger springs from your life 1) unconsciously, 2) automatically, 3) comfortably and 4) skillfully. You know what those four points define? They define a habit. That is what you have, a godless habit. So how do you “put off” a bad habit? Answer: by “putting on” a good one.
Now let’s remind ourselves, what new habit are we trying to put on? We are trying to put on, 1) kindness, 2) compassion and 3) forgiveness. You can rest assured, if you are an angry person; one or more of these qualities are sorely missing in your life. Now how do you create this new habit of being kind or compassionate or forgiving? The same way you create any other habit, by practice.
Hebrews 5:14 makes this very point. It says, “But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.” Notice the phrase “constant use.” That’s the key. If you practice doing something for a sustained period, in time you will gain some degree of expertise. That is what you must now do in order to overcome this sin of anger. You must begin to practice kindness, compassion and forgiveness.
So let us talk specifics. Here is a practical plan to solve this problem.
First, make a list of 100 ways you can show kindness, compassion and forgiveness. In this list focus on those you tend to lose your temper with the most, your wife, a bad driver on the road, a person a work. How can you show kindness to these people? Do you normally try to “get back at” that bad driver on the road? Maybe you try to cut them off at some opportune time! That’s wrong; you are overcoming evil with evil. On your list you must define a new way of acting, a way that “puts on” kindness, compassion, and forgiveness. Don’t stop until this list is complete. And don’t put generalities on this list, but only list specific detailed ways in which you can show kindness, compassion and forgiveness to these people.
Second. Begin to work down your resource list doing what you have written. As you work down your list record in a journal or notebook exactly which items you did that day. You must record in your journal 3 to 8 items that you did that demonstrated kindness, compassion and forgiveness. Spend as much time doing this project as you spent mulling over angry thoughts in the past. How long do you do this? Do it for one year and six weeks. Why do you do this for one year and six weeks? Because in six weeks you will have developed this habit to workable proportions, and in an additional year you will have made it a permanent part of your character.
Now, here is where we are. We have identified the two central elements that help us understand this problem of anger, 1) a focus on destroying and 2) the habits that come from anger. You must change these godless habits. First, you must focus your anger on destroying the problem, not the person. And next, you must habituate yourself to the solution taught in Scripture, kindness, compassion and forgiveness. And you must do this in specific ways every day. Have someone check your homework daily if possible, weekly if necessary. Be accountable to someone for a solution.
Start right now on this project as soon as you put this brochure down, and don’t stop for one year and six weeks.
If you are committed to do the things mentioned above, you have made an important first step in overcoming the problem of anger, but just a first step. Besides the practical steps given in this brochure, there are some other important things you must do.
First, you must pray about this problem. God tells us that prayer accomplishes much. Jesus Himself spent much time in prayer, and you should also. Pray that God will help you “put off” the old Adamic patterns of your life and “put on” patterns of righteousness.
Second, you must find a Bible believing church, if you are not in one already, and join it. Tell the pastor what you are dealing with and what you have learned in this brochure. Ask for his help and the help and support of the church. Perhaps the pastor or one of the leaders of the church can be your accountability partner.
Third, you must get into the habit of a daily Bible study. Set aside time every day to read the Bible and pray, preferably in the morning before the start of the day. If you read three chapters in