We all get angry at times. It's a part of life. So how can we cope with these inflamed emotions without doing something we will later regret? Here are 7 positive ways to deal with anger:
1) Understand the difference between "righteous anger" and "sinful anger."
An example of righteous anger is when you have a holy indignation concerning your own transgressions. Another example would be the outrage you feel when learning that a child has been abused. Sinful anger, on the other hand, takes place when we allow our anger to lead us to say something or do something contrary to God's will.
The Bible instructs us, "In your anger, do not sin." (Eph. 4:26) Holding a grudge is natural, but that doesn't make it right. A grudge is actually one of the most toxic sins you can commit. Another example of sinful anger is mean-spirited communication.
2) Recognize that sinful anger often stems from other sin that has become rooted in your soul.
It has been said, "The issue is never the issue." Anger is one of those things that often stems from some other sin we are committing. The roots of that sin begin to produce the fruit of anger in our life. For example, just think about a time when you were doing something you knew went against God's will. Think about how easily you became angry during that double-minded period of your life.
Certain trees produce fruit. Jesus is the Vine and He produces the fruit of the Holy Spirit in the lives of His followers. Sin, on the other hand, is a different type of tree altogether. Its fruit is never gentle or kind, but rather angry and abrasive.
3) Ask the Lord to uproot any bitterness in your soul as you confess your sin to Christ and repent of it.
God is more than able to dig deep into our soul and uproot the sin which is causing us so many headaches. But it is up to us to confess our sins to the Lord, and also to turn away from doing them. As we confess and repent, the root of our problem gets addressed. We can ask Jesus to forgive us and He is glad to do it. After all, He died for our sins on the cross so we could be free forever.
No one has to go through life under the control of sinful anger. Instead, we can bring our sins to the Lord and be freed from the both the penalty and the power of sin.
4) Don't go to bed while you are still angry.
God's Word tells us, "Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold." (Eph. 4:27) When we go to bed angry, we don't sleep well, and the issue is still front and center in our mind the moment we wake up. Why? Because our body struggled to rest while our subconscious remained restless. We went to bed with unresolved anger in our heart.
What misery we put ourselves through when we go to bed angry. How much better to end the day in prayer and with these words: "I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety." (Psalm 4:8) Before you go to sleep, ask the Lord to protect your night's rest by the power of the blood of Jesus. You'll be amazed at what a difference it makes.
5) Sincerely pray for any person you are holding a grudge against, and for anyone who feels like "a thorn in your side."
By praying for the person you are having a hard time forgiving, the pressure begins to lift from your heart and mind. It is a terrible feeling to stay angry at someone, and yet we have all been guilty of it. God works many miracles in answer to the prayers of His people, and one of the greatest miracles is when someone gets delivered from the ugly feelings of sinful anger and grudges.
6) Rely upon God to wash away all the anger in your heart with His living water.
Anger has a way of just sitting in the heart and making life miserable for its owner. Some people stay angry for decades without any idea how to have it washed away. God's living water is what man needs to have a clean heart. The impurities of sinful anger are no match for the power of God's miraculous cleansing. By asking the Lord to cleanse your heart, you are relying upon the only One who can make all things new.
7) Think about things that are wholesome, noble and pleasing to the Lord.
Our thought life plays a huge role when dealing with anger. If we stew over things, we only get worked up and angrier. But if we choose instead to fill our mind with God's Word and good thoughts, we start to experience God's peace which surpasses human understanding. So will you choose sinful anger, or loving thoughts? Those are two entirely different paths. But only one of them provides the peace of God.
It's obvious that we all need the benefits of these 7 principles. After all, who wants to go through life angry and bitter, right?