Blessed Are the Peacemakers: Learning How to Deal with Anger  

We’ve all had bad days. You got out of bed late because your alarm didn’t go off for some reason. Then, because your morning routine was turned upside down, you left the house quite abruptly, and not on the best terms with your spouse and kids. Traffic was especially bad (or was it your foul mood that made it feel that way?).

Then when you got to work, you were put on the spot about a project and your answer was less than satisfactory, and your colleague was more than happy to swoop in and “help you” give your boss what he needed. By the time you get home, you know it’s only a matter of time before whoever comes to you with their next request feels the impact of the wrath that’s been building up all day.

Anger can creep into our lives in both subtle and obvious ways, and if we give it full vent, it can break relationships with others. Though we may desire to walk through life at peace with ourselves and others, it seems as though circumstances conspire against us and our best intentions. Our anger is provoked, and before our hearts are settled again, the damage may have already been done, either through reckless words or actions.

What does the Bible say about managing our anger versus allowing our anger to manage us?

Anger is serious.

In dealing with anger, it is important to first recognize that while we are designed to feel, our feelings are also a part of our flesh that is born with a sinful nature. How we feel gives us important clues about what’s going on inside us, and it directs us to remedy the situation. Our sadness, joy, fear, pain, and anger, all point to certain realities around us, and they alert us to our mental state in a given situation. So, it is good to pay attention to what our emotions are telling us.

This is where discernment and self-control come into play. While they are good advisors, feelings make for terrible commanders. In other words, our emotions are an important part of us that we need to pay attention to for the sake of our emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual health, but it’s dangerous to be led by them.

Having self-control, which includes control over our emotions, thoughts, and actions, allows us to make considered choices. Having discernment allows us to utilize the self-control in the most wise way. There are many warnings in the Bible about anger and what can result if we are led by that powerful emotion. Consider a few examples.

Better to be patient than powerful; better to have self-control than to conquer a city.Proverbs 16:32

Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly.Proverbs 14:29

A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger quiets contention. – Proverbs 15:18

Therefore, each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. ‘In your anger do not sin’: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold…Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.Ephesians 4:25-27, 31

But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.Colossians 3:8

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.James 1:19-21

The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity, and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.Galatians 5:19-21

These Scriptures, among many others, remind us just how seriously we are called to take anger, and how carefully we should examine our anger to determine if it is righteous or sinful. Instead of looking at anger as just another emotion that we can indulge without consequences, these verses remind us that there is a cost to it. For the person that’s chosen to follow God, a life marked by anger is something to be avoided.

A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control. Proverbs 29:11

Watch the red flags.

Anger can alert us to the fact that something is not right in our world. We get angry when we experience personal injustice, feel frustrated or threatened or attacked, or when we witness injustice in the world around us. That anger can move us to act in ways that bring positive change in the world.

Anger has a place and serves a purpose, but even what you might consider “righteous anger” can become such a predominant emotion in your life that it becomes problematic and leaves room for God’s command to love others. That’s why it’s important to learn to recognize it and detect if anger issues are in your life.

You may be said to have “anger issues” when sinful anger has a hold on you and has made a huge impact on your life. For example, if relationships have ended or you have regrets in your relationships because of things said and done in anger, it may signal that you have anger issues.

Are you angry most of the time? Do you get angry quickly and find yourself easily going overboard in your anger? If so, you may have anger issues. It may be easier to blame the people around you, or the circumstances you find yourself in, but at the end of the day, your anger issues are your responsibility. You will stand alone in front of God to account for all of your doings.

By paying attention to the red flags that signal anger issues, you can be better positioned to deal with anger more constructively and to regain a degree of control over it. Controlling or properly addressing any emotional issue can be done by addressing two main pillars: physical and spiritual.

Because anger issues can be related to underlying conditions such as depression, alcohol abuse, Bipolar Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, PTSD, grief, physical nutrition, and certain medications, involving a doctor or mental health professional can help set you on the road to recovery by addressing your physical needs. Involving yourself in spiritual disciplines, such as prayer, Bible study, solid teaching, and sound counsel addresses your spiritual needs for recovering from anger issues.

Bringing anger under control.

It can be frightening when you lose control, and your anger overwhelms you. But there are ways you can learn to manage your anger when you find yourself in tough situations.

You can bring anger under control by looking out for warning signs, such as a faster heartbeat, shallow breathing, or your body becoming tense, and that will give you a small gap to think about how you want to react to a given situation.

You can also buy yourself some time to think by counting to ten before you respond, or by taking yourself out of the situation for a little while. Going for a short walk or simply stepping outside the room to calm down can do you (and the people around you) a world of good.

You can start learning anger management techniques to help you control your anger, and these can help you either in the moment, or they can provide you with the capacity to deal with anger before it even becomes a thing.

Such techniques include breathing or mindfulness, exercising, directing your anger and energy toward something like ripping up a piece of paper, or even taking a cold shower are all ways you can begin to bring your anger under control.

In the long term, you can pay attention to your thought patterns, taking the time to break down harmful or unhelpful patterns of thought, and learning new ways to think and act. One therapeutic technique that therapists will use to accomplish this is called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).

Something important to be aware of is what your triggers are, which can help you know ahead of time what situations are likely to stir up your anger, and the possible responses you can put in place in advance to choose a healthier alternative action. You can also improve your communication skills so that you can communicate your anger in a clear, assertive, and respectful way.

If others understand you and why you’re angry, it can go a long way toward helping you express yourself and what you’re feeling without losing important relationships.

By taking care of your body through good nutrition, exercise, avoiding alcohol and drugs, getting good sleep, and by picking up skills to learn to cope better under pressure, you can help yourself to become more resilient and better equipped to deal with situations that can otherwise prove emotionally overwhelming.

A trained therapist can walk with you on this journey, and you can pursue your efforts towards peace in the power of the Spirit. Paul writes in Galatians 5:22-25 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things, there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”

“Dove in Flight”, Courtesy of Sunyu,, CC0 License; “Fist of Fury”, Courtesy of PublicDomainPictures,, CC0 License; “Stressed”, Courtesy of Simran Sood,, CC0 License; “Sitting on the Grass”, Courtesy of Guilherme Stecanella,,, CC0 License


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