Have you ever been so angry that you can’t think straight? That all you can do is lash out at anyone and anything in sight? If so, you’re not alone.
Anger is a natural human emotion, but it can often get out of control. So what does the Bible say about anger?
And how can we learn to deal with it in a healthy way?
In this article, we’ll look at several Bible verses about anger, and how we can use that knowledge to control our emotions.
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What Does The Bible Say About Anger?
The word “anger” is translated from several different words in the original languages of Scripture. This reflects its multi-faceted nature.
It can range from irritation to fury and includes feelings ranging from annoyance to rage.
The Bible uses this word to describe a wide range of human emotions.
It’s no surprise, then, that the Bible also presents many different perspectives on our anger.
Some verses show anger in a positive light, while others condemn or warn against it.
The way we understand these verses will have a big impact on the way we respond to situations that make us angry.
Figuring out what the Bible says about our anger begins with understanding two key concepts: righteous and unrighteous anger.
What Is Righteous Anger?
As we’ll see, there’s a big difference between the kind of anger God feels and the kind of anger he doesn’t. The first type is called “righteous” or “justifiable” anger.
Righteous anger isn’t the same as hatred or vengeance, though it can sometimes lead to these feelings.
It can be defined as a just response to injustice – fury at what is wrong and unfair.
It’s the kind of anger that inspired Moses to confront Pharaoh, Jesus to overturn tables in the temple, and Stephen to declare war against his accusers.
It also describes the anger of God himself, who is angered by sin and injustice every day (Psalm 7:11).
The righteousness of our anger isn’t determined by how big or loud we are – but by whether our response to any circumstance is appropriate.
What Is Unrighteous Anger?
The second type of anger is “unrighteous” or “unjustifiable” anger.
This kind of anger isn’t a valid response to any situation – it’s more likely a mask for fear, anxiety, or even hatred towards others.
It often comes from a desire to lash out and hurt someone else – and may be caused by feelings of insecurity, inadequacy, or even paranoia.
Sadly, we see this kind of anger all the time in the world around us: soldiers returning from battle with post-traumatic stress disorder; spousal abusers and gang members struggling with poverty and oppression; and people who hold others to impossible standards while excusing their own sin.
Of course, we’re all sinners and we can’t expect to live our lives without ever feeling this kind of anger. The key is learning how to deal with it in a positive way (more on that later).
What Does The Bible Say About Anger?
To understand the heart of God for anger, we need to look back to its beginning: Eden.
You may remember that Adam and Eve were created with a perfect relationship with God.
There was no sin, no evil, and no suffering in the world – only life, love, and light.
In this new Garden of Eden, their relationship to each other was equally as pure: they walked with God, worked together on creative projects, and enjoyed his fellowship every day.
But the couple’s idyllic life would soon be interrupted by temptation – and their own sin (remember, they chose to disobey God).
And once sin entered the world, our relationship with everyone around us was changed forever.
We struggle with insecurity, frustration, resentment, bitterness, and anger towards others.
These emotions are the result of our sin, but they don’t separate us from God or make us incapable of loving him.
Instead, he made a way for us to deal with them in his way – through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross.
So, what does the Bible say about anger?
As most of our emotions, it can be both positive and negative.
And God certainly feels anger – even righteous anger! But unlike the sinful version of this emotion, his response is always perfect.
Like the Bible says: “As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. (Ezekiel 33:11).
God’s anger is never vindictive – it’s always meant to be corrective, not destructive.
He uses it to correct sin, show mercy, or demonstrate justice for his glory.
But it’s important to remember that even though God is wrathful at times, he never gives in to destructive emotions.
He knows what we’re capable of and knows us better than even we know ourselves – so he alone can be trusted with our lives.
The Bible says a lot about how we should handle our anger.
For instance, Proverbs 25:28 says, “A man without self-control is like a city with broken-down walls.“
This reference to a city is significant because, in ancient Israel, cities were not protected by moats or watchtowers.
They were defended with high walls that blocked the entrance so enemies couldn’t enter easily. As long as those walls stayed strong, the city was safe.
But if an enemy broke through the wall – even just one place – it became much easier to enter, and the entire city was at risk.
The same is true of anger: It can be used as a wall between us and danger, but if we give in to unrighteous anger even once, it becomes easier to give in again each time thereafter.
When we give in to our anger instead of keeping it under control, we damage the wall that separates us from the things that would hurt us.
Bible Verses About Anger
The following Bible verses about anger have all been taken from the King James Version.
“A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.” Proverbs 15:1
“But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire” Matthew 5:22
“But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.” Colossians 3:8
“A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards.” Proverbs 29:11
Scriptures About Anger
Here are some additional scriptures about anger to further reflect on.
“The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.” Psalms 103:8
“Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger resteth in the bosom of fools.” Ecclesiastes 7:9
“Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:” James 1:19
“Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:” Ephesians 4:26
How Should We Handle Our Anger?
Let’s turn to what God says in Ephesians 4:26-27 (NLT), “Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not make room for the devil.”
Here, Paul is saying that we should be angry – but that it shouldn’t last all day or night.
In other words, it’s possible to feel anger without allowing it to become unrighteous anger. And the key is controlling our tempers so that we give in to our anger as little as possible.
We are to be angry – but not sinfully so.
What does this mean for you?
All of us will face times in our lives when we feel passionately angry about something or someone who is hurting us or people that God loves — in these moments, it is critical for you to keep your anger under control so that you do not sin.
Keep in mind, it is impossible to avoid every temptation of unrighteous anger, but by remaining aware of how you can handle these moments more productively, you become empowered to choose how to act when the moment arises.
What Does God Think About Our Reactions?
Paul’s instructions for dealing with our anger say that we should not let the sun go down while angry.
The expression “to let the sun go down on your wrath” comes from Old Testament times when people were primarily agrarian.
Every day, they would watch as the sun went down in the sky, bringing about another day’s end.
When this happened, they had to stop working and move indoors in order to be safe for the night.
So Paul is telling us that we should put a time limit on our anger – especially when it’s unrighteous.
We have a limited window of opportunity to deal with our anger constructively instead of destructively.
If we don’t deal with it within a certain timeframe, the devil will have more opportunities to come in and deceive us into responding wrongly.
What Can You Do When You Feel Anger?
In Ephesians 4:26, Paul says to “Be angry and do not sin” which is a very interesting way of phrasing it because it shows us that anger is neither sinful nor righteous in and of itself.
It’s our interpretation of what we’re experiencing that turns anger into wrath or wrathful emotions.
It’s also important to note that anger has a biological basis and is, in fact, a useful tool for ensuring our survival.
As modern neuroscience shows us, anger increases heart rate and blood pressure which prepares the body for action in dangerous situations so that we can fight or flee.
If you’ve heard of the “flight or fight” response then this is exactly what scientists are talking about – only give ourselves time to catch up with our physiological makeup as human beings.
So the first thing we can do with our anger is to acknowledge that it may be a very natural and potentially useful response – at least in terms of physical preparation.
The second thing we need to know about anger is that it’s a powerful force capable of triggering serious consequences if not dealt with properly.
For many of us, anger can become a habit if not handled correctly because it’s so easy to allow ourselves to explore the wilder side of it.
And once we’ve given into its seductive power, it can be difficult for us to regain control especially if other people are present and influencing our emotional state.
What Actions Can I Take To Deal With Anger?
Here are 10 ways to deal with anger.
1) When you feel angry, take a time out.
Stop for a moment and breathe deeply to calm yourself down before reacting.
What you need to do is take notice of what’s causing you to feel so angry, so that it’s easier for you to come back down from this heightened state of anger.
Remember that if your anger is becoming irrational or extreme, you can actually make things worse by engaging in the argument.
2) Talk to God about your anger.
He loves you and wants to help. Pray that He will give you His grace, wisdom, and discernment as you respond to this situation.
3) Understand what’s causing your anger.
What are you feeling insecure about?
What do you fear might happen?
These are the areas that need to be dealt with so that you can properly respond to the person who has made you angry.
If your anger is justified, it’ll dissipate more quickly once they have apologized for their actions and you’ve accepted it.
4) Discuss your anger with a trusted friend or family member so that they can help you to properly deal with whatever is causing you to be angry.
5) Learn empathy skills so that you don’t come across as a know-it-all when you speak to the person who has made you angry.
Remember to share your feelings with them instead of telling them what to do.
6) Forgive the person who has made you angry.
If you don’t, this kind of anger will turn into bitterness which can harm your relationship with others and greatly influence how you respond in future situations involving other people.
Forgiving someone doesn’t mean you’re saying what they did is okay.
It just means that you don’t want to continue punishing them or holding a grudge against them.
7) Control your anger by distracting yourself from it.
Take up a new hobby, eat something, watch an action movie – whatever helps you to focus on something else so that your anger dissipates.
8) Write a letter to the person who has made you angry and then tear it up or burn it.
9) Consider whether your response will help or harm the situation.
If you don’t want to escalate the argument, then just letting go of the anger is the best way to go.
10) Be willing to forgive yourself for having anger issues.
Don’t be so hard on yourself when you feel angry because it can lead to negative feelings of guilt and shame which will only make you angrier.
It’s okay not to have perfect self-control over the emotion – just do your best with the support of others.
What Does The Bible Say About Anger
As we can see from the above, anger isn’t always a bad thing and there are effective ways to deal with it.
However, if we don’t handle it correctly, then this can lead to negative feelings of guilt and shame which will only make us angrier.
Therefore, the best thing is to try and keep a balanced perspective about anger so that we’re not its slave but neither are we controlled by other people’s actions.
In the end, let’s remember that we can’t change other people but we can control how we respond to them and the influences they have on us.
And of course, always ask God for help with anger so that He can give you His grace, wisdom, and discernment when it comes to dealing with this powerful emotion.