Repairing a Relationship after an Anger Outburst

An anger outburst can cause a person to lose control over what they say and do, which can be devastating. Anger can override a person’s rational thought processes, placing them in the uncomfortable situation of having to take back hurtful words spoken in anger that they never would have uttered under normal circumstances.

What’s an anger outburst?

Have you ever felt so angry that your anger felt like it was a living, fire-breathing, or ice-cold thing inside of you? Perhaps a loved one had slighted you one too many times, or a friend questioned a choice you made or a cherished belief you hold, and it stirred up anger in you.

Everyone gets angry at some point in their lives, though what varies between people is what makes them angry and what they do with themselves once they feel angry.

We often express anger in the ways that were modeled to us by people that were significant in our formation, such as our parents and other adults around us. From these experiences we learn what is considered an appropriate way to express anger, whether by suppressing it or expressing it through colorful expletives.

For some people, having seen anger expressed one way and found that to be problematic, they choose to go another route in their own life. Consider the case where a person with parents who had violent and explosive tempers finding themselves preferring to keep their own anger bottled up instead.

You don’t have to suppress anger to deal with it effectively. In fact, suppressing anger is an ineffective and potentially self-destructive way to deal with feelings of anger.

That anger may lodge itself in your heart and result in developing resentment toward others or health problems such as high blood pressure. But expressing anger well requires self-awareness and emotional intelligence so that harm does not befall others in the process of that self-expression. It isn’t easy, but it is possible.

An anger outburst can take many forms, often including either violent behavior or angry verbal expressions. It can look like a sudden, impulsive, out-of-control burst of anger that starts without warning and is typically seen as out of proportion to what triggered the episode.

Some examples of anger outbursts range from incidents and patterns of behavior such as road rage and domestic abuse, as well as the throwing or breaking of objects or punching through walls. An anger outburst can have not only legal consequences, but financial and relational ramifications as well.

The effect of anger on relationships.

In the heat of an argument, people say and do many things that they regret. Once words are said and certain actions performed, they can’t be taken back. All that’s left to do is to deal with the aftermath. The effect of anger that is poorly expressed is felt whatever the circumstances.

The most obvious effect of an angry outburst is the hurt that can be caused when painful and needless things are said and done during the outburst. In anger, we can wield truth carelessly, wounding the other person by hitting them where it hurts most. If anger leads a person to hurl insults or lay hands on the other person, that can cause physical and emotional damage in the other person.

If an anger outburst results in emotional and verbal abuse, that can have a profound effect on the victim’s sense of self-worth, confidence, and safety. In other words, it can diminish them as a person.

An anger outburst can affect a relationship by undermining the trust and intimacy within that relationship. Whether anger leads to hurtful words being spoken or physical violence ensuing, the connection between the two people is jeopardized because the sense of safety that may have existed prior to the outburst evaporates because of the destructive expression of anger.

If your spouse has an anger outburst that leads them to dredge up an old conflict or wound, or that results in you sustaining physical harm, you may find yourself on edge around them. You may struggle to trust yourself around them or become unwilling to let your guard down because you don’t know if that unsavory reaction will be repeated.

For emotional intimacy to thrive in a relationship, trust and safety are important. An anger outburst can undermine both by making the situation and relationship seem volatile and entirely unsettled. Discomfort, fear, and uncertainty are the enemies of meaningful relationships where a deep connection is shared between two people. An anger outburst can create a wedge between people.

Another unwanted but expected result of an anger outburst is that it may even be traumatic and triggering to be exposed to an anger outburst from a loved one. If you experienced unhealthy anger in past relationships, or if there were seasons in the present relationship where unhealthy expressions of anger were prevalent, experiencing an anger outburst may bring that past rushing back in.

What to do when anger affects your relationship.

An anger outburst can affect a relationship in deep and negative ways. The damage done by an anger outburst may take a concerted effort to undo. But if the relationship matters to you, putting in that work to restore the relationship and get your anger under control should be more than worth it.

Among some of the steps that you can take is making sure that you acknowledge what happened without making any excuses. It’s easy to try and gloss over our own bad behavior, especially if we feel embarrassed by it or perhaps even feel justified for how we felt.

However, while we are allowed to feel how we feel, we aren’t entitled to express those emotions in whatever way we choose. The Bible reminds us that “…human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires” (James 1:20 NIV). We need to exercise caution over the reasons we feel angry and how we express our anger. Like it says in Ephesians, we are called to “be angry and do not sin” (Ephesians 4:26a).

It is important to think through apologies after an anger outburst. A proper apology carries a healthy combination of sincerity in acknowledging that what happened was wrong and recognizing the impact it may have had on the other person. Though the person apologizing may be tempted to blame or point fingers, it is important to apologize separately from working on being understood or receiving an apology from the other person.

A good apology is joined to concrete steps to be taken to change behavior and acceptance of accountability in future. An apology can pave the way for healing to begin in the relationship. The other person has the opportunity to forgive you, but that is a choice only they can exercise. Your part is to apologize and seek to do better with the Lord’s help.

It is important to seek help when you’ve had an anger outburst, particularly if it isn’t a one-time occurrence, or if the aftermath of it has been especially disastrous. An anger outburst may be the creature of a moment, but it can be a sign of much else going on beneath the surface.

God calls us to seek help from Him. This may come through prayer, reading your Bible, connecting with other believers, and/or engaging in direct counseling. Nothing will be as effective as having the Holy Spirit at work in you.

Anger may be masking anxiety, or it may be the symptom of something else such as trauma, depression (especially in men), or chronic stress. Finding professional help from a counselor will help you understand your triggers and early warning signs of anger such as having knots in your stomach, seeing red, clenching your hands or jaw, your hands feeling clammy or face feeling flushed, breathing faster, and pacing around.

Christian counseling for anger outbursts will also teach you to avoid patterns of thinking that tend to trigger and reinforce unhealthy angry reactions such as overgeneralizing (e.g., “You always disrespect me. You never consider what I want. No one ever listens to me.”); jumping to conclusions about other people’s intentions, blaming, looking for things about which to complain and get upset, and having rigid expectations of others.

Counseling will also teach you ways of handling anger in healthy ways such as taking appropriate self-care, learning to focus on the present, and using humor to relieve tension. If anger is causing friction or creating distance in your relationships, you should consider getting help from a counselor who can help you bring it under control.

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Finding Your Way Back to the Light: Addressing Depression and Anger

If you experience a major depressive episode, it can seem as though all the light in the world could never lift the gloom surrounding you. When you couple that with the anger that often accompanies depression, it can make it even more difficult to recover.

Making sense of depression.

Depression is a mood disorder and a diagnosable mental health disorder; it is not simply what you feel when you’re going through a tough time. If a person feels sad after the loss of a loved one or another personal tragedy, that is to be expected and is a natural way for a person to deal with those events.

Depression may look like this form of sadness, but it is also combined with issues such as having trouble sleeping or struggling with concentration. To be diagnosed with depression or major depressive disorder, a mental health professional will apply criteria laid out by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition (DSM-5).

The DSM-5 says that for such a diagnosis, specific symptoms such as loss of interest or pleasure in everyday activities like work or time with loved ones should be present for at least two weeks.

Other symptoms that can cause impairment in daily functioning must be present for a diagnosis of depression. Some of these include:

  • Significant and unintentional changes in your appetite and weight.
  • Feelings of emptiness, worthlessness, or excessive guilt.
  • Experiencing brain fog, or the diminished ability to think or concentrate, and being uncharacteristically indecisive.

It is important to remember that symptoms of depression don’t look the same or follow the same pattern for everyone. There are multiple other symptoms a professional will look for that make up the criteria.

Why are depression and anger often connected?

Depression often presents as feelings of deep sadness or apathy. However, a depressive episode doesn’t look the same for everyone who experiences it. For men, for example, the symptoms of a depressive episode, such as feelings of unworthiness and helplessness can translate into an increase in anger and irritability. Essentially, the sadness ignites the anger in some.  That anger may be directed at events from your past, at yourself, or it may not have an object at all.

Maladaptive anger is at times present when a person has a depressive episode, and that anger may be turned either inward as one listens to their inner critic, or outwardly as angry outbursts, being irritable, or snapping at people.

Going through a depressive episode is hard enough but adding anger into the equation can harm your relationships at a time when those relationships are needed most to provide emotional ballast. But why are depression and the maladaptive anger that frequently manifests as irritability, hostility, and anger outbursts often connected in this way?

For one thing, there is some evidence to suggest that serotonergic dysfunction (an imbalance of neurochemicals in your brain) may be partly to blame. This imbalance leads to irritability, depression, and anger, and that’s why the medications that are used to treat depression such as Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) may also help to relieve your symptoms of anger over time.

Gender can also play a role in the connection between anger and depression. As noted, it is common for men to experience maladaptive anger during a depressive episode. The National Institute of Mental Health has noted that men may be less likely to talk about their experience of depression, choosing instead to mask symptoms as well as their emotions.

The result of this is an increase in anger, aggressiveness, and hostility. These maladaptive strategies for regulating one’s emotions aren’t limited only by gender, but other factors may play a role, such as age, culture, and whether there is a history of trauma and abuse.

Experiencing abuse or neglect in childhood can contribute to feelings of unresolved anger, and if there are any internalized feelings of helplessness and worthlessness that stem from adverse childhood experiences, which can lead a person to redirect their anger toward themselves. These feelings can then fuel shame, harsh self-criticism, and self-punishment which often co-occur with a depressive episode.

Addressing depression and anger

To begin with, if you suspect you may be struggling with symptoms of depression, you should first get screened by a medical or mental health professional who can provide an assessment of your life history and the severity of your symptoms.

If the screening results in a diagnosis of depression, the good news is that there are several ways to treat depression, including medication and psychotherapy. Therapy can address both depression and the anger that can accompany it.

To deal with maladaptive anger, several strategies can be employed in therapy, and these include managing the triggers of your anger to help you cope in the meantime as you grow in handling anger better, learning to accept your anger and express it in healthy ways, and alleviating anger before it gets worse.

Part of the treatment plan that your therapist may recommend include therapies such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, which challenges and reframes angry reactions and the unwanted thought patterns that stem from depression.

Interpersonal Therapy teaches you strategies to help you address and communicate anger and other difficult feelings that affect your relationships; Psychodynamic Therapy, which can help you explore the sources of anger and depression; and Emotionally Focused Therapy, which can help transform maladaptive emotions by addressing their root cause.

In addition to therapy, your therapist may recommend a referral for medication, which can alleviate the symptoms of depression, including anger.

Finding the light when you’re feeling depressed and angry.

Depression is a serious mental health challenge, but thankfully there is hope to overcome it. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, in 2020, an estimated 14.8 million U.S. adults aged eighteen or older had at least one major depressive episode with severe impairment in the past year. This number represented 6% of all U.S. adults.

People from all walks of life and different backgrounds are affected, whether directly or otherwise, by mental health issues. Christians aren’t immune from these realities. The Lord in His goodness has provided the means to address these challenges in both His Word and with the support of His Church. Though we may walk through a dark valley and struggle to see the light of God’s goodness, we can say with the Psalmist,

I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. I will consider all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds.Psalms 77:11-12, NIV

There’s no need to feel ashamed about reaching out to others for help in dealing with anger and depression. Reach out and ask for help, as doing so will provide you with space to improve your relationships and health.

If you struggle with anger and depression, seek out a mental health professional for help. They can walk with you and provide you with guidance along your path toward finding joy and light in your life again. Don’t hesitate to make an appointment to begin making that journey toward wholeness and healing.

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Anger in the Bible: A Helpful Corrective for Unhealthy Anger

If you’ve ever felt angry at someone or a situation, you probably know how powerful the emotion of anger is. It can color your perception of a situation or person, and it can motivate you to take action to fix whatever has gone wrong. As we look at anger in the Bible, we see that the action may or may not be appropriate, and it may or may not be wise.

For example, you can decide to start a campaign to address child hunger in your city because you’re angered at the injustice of it all, or you can get out of your car and assault a fellow motorist because their terrible driving triggered you. The same emotion can drive helpful and constructive behavior, but it can propel you toward harming others just as easily.

Anger in the Bible

The Bible presents a complex picture of anger. Being angry itself isn’t necessarily a problem because anger is a natural emotion whose reality you ought to embrace. Your anger lets you know that somewhere in your life something is not what it should be, so you should pay attention to it. However, because anger is such a powerful emotion, care should be taken not to be overwhelmed by anger and say or do the first thing that comes to mind.

This nuanced approach to anger is captured in two key Bible verses. In Ephesians Paul writes: “‘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.” (Ephesians 4:26-27, NIV) Being angry is not the same thing as sinning or falling short of God’s intentions for your life.

You can be angry, but what matters is what you then do with those feelings and thoughts. You can do constructive and godly things with it, or you can slander others or cause them physical harm. Holding onto anger for too long is also problematic, as that can affect how you relate to others. Lingering in anger longer than necessary is a recipe for relationship problems.

Another Bible verse to consider is in James: “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.” (James 1:19-20, NIV) Anger is a visceral impulse that demands immediate attention. When you feel angry, you feel like you want to do something about it now.

Being slow to anger and allowing yourself to first listen to the other person and not respond hastily indicates that you, not your anger, are in control.

What is it about ‘human anger’ that’s so problematic? Anger can stem from an entirely self-centered place, and we can leverage it to do terrible things to others. That’s why anger must take a back seat to other considerations.

What James says here echoes another Bible passage that tells us about God’s character: “But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.” (Psalms 86:15, NIV) This verse also comes up in Exodus 34, indicating what God is like, and we are called to imitate Him. Being slow to anger is a sign of a godly character.

Learning to deal with anger

Anger and the things that cause anger are a fact of life. It’s important to acknowledge that reality, and to learn how to rein anger in so that its expression is constructive and healthy. If you struggle with controlling anger, or if your life is marked by feeling angry most or all the time, you may have an anger problem that needs attention. You can begin dealing with anger through a few simple self-help techniques, which include the following:

Exercise, which helps you take your mind off whatever made you angry, and helps you work off the adrenalin and cortisol in your system.

Take a breath. Don’t respond immediately to an email or comment; count to ten and breathe in deeply to calm yourself. You can even walk away if necessary

Use humor to diffuse the situation. It’s okay to laugh at yourself for taking things too seriously.

Learn your anger triggers. When you know what makes you angry, you can better prepare for those situations.

With the help of an anger management therapist, you can learn to handle anger better, grow in empathy toward others, become a more effective communicator, and reap the health and relational benefits of having your anger well in hand.

Your therapist can help you better understand the roots of your anger. They can also provide you with added tools to disrupt unhelpful patterns of thought and behavior that fuel angry thoughts. Don’t hesitate to reach out for help today to get your anger under control. The counselors at Huntington Beach Christian Counseling are here to help. Browse our online counselor directory to find a therapist for you.

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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.”

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28 Verses to Help Make Sense of Anger in the Bible

The relationships you have with yourself, others, and events that take place all impact your emotions. Human beings are designed with the capacity to feel, and you are often led by your emotions. This can be relatively harmless, but depending on the emotion and its intensity, your life can be derailed by emotive decision-making. That’s not a strike against emotions – they are a vital part of who you are as a being made in the image of God.

However, emotions, just like reason, should not be given free rein but must be brought under the authority of God’s Word. For example, the Bible warns of the dangers of holding onto emotions such as anger because they can negatively affect your heart and your relationships with people around you.

If someone breaks into your car, or a colleague takes credit for your idea, or your child defies you, or you find out that your spouse has been unfaithful, it can provoke anger. Even if your anger is appropriate, what you do with it matters. You need to be able to feel what you feel while not being controlled by it, letting it get out of hand, or leading you into bad decisions – in short, without letting it become anger that leads you to sin.

The Bible has many stories, aphorisms, and warnings about sinning in anger and what can happen if you give in to it. While giving full vent to your anger might feel empowering in the moment, in its wake you may regret the broken relationships or even violence (which has legal and other consequences).

And while many things ought to stir our anger and move you toward appropriate action, chances are your anger is far too often directed toward things that are best categorized as inconveniences, such as bad traffic or long lines at the grocery store, eye rolls and an upset tone. In such situations, it is appropriate to ask yourself whether your angry reaction is helpful and appropriate, or whether it is sin.

Anger in the Bible.

Below are some verses about anger in the Bible from both the Old and New Testaments to help you reflect on your anger and learn a few ways to bring that anger under control. One important point to make beforehand is that there are many instances in which people struggle with anger to the point where they have anger issues.

There are many causes of anger issues, and while all are within the control of the person, not all of them are equally easy to deal with. While this calls for a bit of sensitivity when responding to other people’s anger issues, the Bible makes clear that being controlled by anger is always a sin. “The fruit of the Spirit is…self-control…” (Galatians 5:22-23).

God’s anger vs. our own.

God is a righteous judge, a God who is angry at evil every single day. – Psalm 7:11

Looking around at them with anger, deeply grieved at their unyielding hearts, he said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand.’ So, he did, and his hand was made healthy.Mark 3:5

But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. – Psalm 86:15

The Lord responded, ‘Is your anger a good thing?’Jonah 4:4

These verses make it plain that God does get angry, but what angers God is evil. The last verse is found in the book of Jonah. The prophet was angry with God because was gracious to the Ninevites when they turned from their evil ways and repented.

Jonah had hoped God would destroy the Ninevites and became angry because of God’s graciousness. God asks Jonah if his anger towards the people of Nineveh was justified. Be careful to allow the Lord to tell you if your anger is justified or not.

Anger has consequences.

People with a hot temper do foolish things; wiser people remain calm. – Proverbs 14:17

But I promise you that if you are angry with someone, you will have to stand trial. If you call someone a fool, you will be taken to court. And if you say that someone is worthless, you will be in danger of the fires of hell.Matthew 5:22

A man of wrath stirs up strife, and a man given to anger causes much transgressionProverbs 29:22

Don’t give in to worry or anger; it only leads to trouble. – Psalm 37:8

Keep your temper under control; it is foolish to harbor a grudge. – Ecclesiastes 7:9

A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. – Proverbs 15:1

Because churning milk makes curds, squeezing the nose brings blood, and stirring up anger produces strife.Proverbs 30:33

Violent people entice their neighbors and walk them down a path that isn’t good.Proverbs 16:29

Everyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that murderers don’t have eternal life residing in them.1 John 3:15

As with all other emotions, what you do when under the influence of anger matters. Not only does giving in to anger likely lead to more anger and strife, but it can lead you toward a poor standing before the Lord. This is a sober warning for  God’s people to not let your anger devolve into a deep grudge or hatred.

Be careful who you associate with.

Those who control their anger have great understanding; those with a hasty temper will make mistakes. – Proverbs 14:29

Insightful people restrain their anger; their glory is to ignore an offense.Proverbs 19:11

A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man quietly holds it backProverbs 29:11

Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person, do not associate with one easily angered. – Proverbs 22:24

What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. – James 4:1-2

Hotheads stir up conflict, but patient people calm down strife.Proverbs 15:18

The Bible calls those who give full vent to their anger “fools.” When you read the word “fool,” it would be a mistake to think of someone who merely makes bad decisions. Rather, the book of Proverbs takes great pains to show the fool to be the one who refuses to live their life according to God’s commandments. The fool, in other words, is a sinner.

Who you hang out with matters. Your friends have an influence over you, and you can easily absorb and replicate unhealthy behaviors such as giving full vent to your anger. If you want to learn wisdom, hang out with wise people. Don’t hang out with fools who let their anger get the better of them. This is especially true if you think you’ll be their friend so that they will be won over to Christ by the light you share-it doesn’t work like that.

Instead of anger, cultivate positive emotions and actions.

If you become angry, do not let your anger lead you into sin, and do not stay angry all day. – Ephesians 4:26

Don’t let any foul words come out of your mouth. Only say what is helpful when it is needed for building up the community so that it benefits those who hear what you say. – Ephesians 4:29

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.James 1:19-20

Therefore, I want men to pray everywhere by lifting up hands that are holy, without anger or argument.1 Timothy 2:8

Get rid of all bitterness, passion, and anger. No more shouting or insults, no more hateful feelings of any sort. – Ephesians 4:31

But now set aside these things, such as anger, rage, malice, slander, and obscene language. – Colossians 3:8

Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man.Proverbs 22:24

As for parents, don’t provoke your children to anger, but raise them with discipline and instruction about the Lord.Ephesians 6:4

Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 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. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. – Galatians 5:19-26

Anger is such a powerful emotion that it’s not enough to simply refrain from unleashing it. God doesn’t ask you not to be angry. Instead, you  can cultivate other actions and attitudes to help yourself react in more productive ways. As the last verse indicates, this isn’t something you do by yourself, but you are to be guided by the Holy Spirit. Spiritual formation is a lifelong pursuit that takes place in community with others.


If you’re looking for additional support beyond these verses about anger in the Bible, Christian counseling can help. If you struggle with anger and your life and relationships have been negatively affected by anger, seek help from a mental health professional such as an anger management therapist. They will help you understand not only the roots of your anger but give you guidance in developing tools to curb your anger and keep it in check.

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What Does the Bible Say About Anger? Examples and Instruction

You’ve felt it, maybe even today: that feeling that bubbles up seemingly from nowhere, causing you to tremble and see red. You’ve been disrespected by a coworker, or someone insulted your child, or you watched a documentary on human trafficking. But have you ever wondered what does the bible say about anger?

Anger is a normal human emotion, just like joy, fear, surprise, anticipation, and trust. Created in the image of God – who loves, gets jealous, has compassion, and expresses anger – our emotions are part of who we are and what makes us human.

God didn’t create unfeeling robots, but people, and we are commanded to love God with our whole being: heart, soul, mind, and strength. We aren’t meant to prioritize our thoughts over feelings, or feelings over thoughts, but to use both our rational minds and our passions to respond to God’s wisdom for our lives. Our emotions allow us to lean on God in trust and learn to love Him more each day.

Emotions are complex things. Some emotions are evil by nature (e.g., malice, bitterness, conceit), but most can be good or evil, depending on what drives them, how they are expressed, whether they are appropriate to the situation, etc. We need to learn to feel and communicate our emotions in healthy ways, and this is especially true of anger. That means neither simply ignoring it as if it doesn’t matter, nor exploding like Mount St. Helens.

Western society has conditioned us (in some circumstances) to respect expressions of anger from men as a demonstration of leadership, decisiveness, and power. Conversely, we’ve also been conditioned to disrespect anger in women. Women who dare to express anger might be considered difficult or problematic or even hysterical.

The word “hysterical,” which means extreme uncontrolled emotion, is related to the word “hysteria” which comes from the Greek word for “uterus.” In the 19th and 20th centuries, hysteria was a diagnosable condition for women who were thought to be prone to mental and emotional illness due to their gender.

What Does the Bible Say About Anger?

Because anger can be complicated (and can so quickly cause damage),, everyone could benefit from giving some careful thought to how we are to express and receive emotionally healthy expressions of anger. Let’s see what the Bible says about anger.

The Bible tells us that God gets angry

Psalm 7:11 says, “God is a righteous judge, a God who displays his wrath every day.” What causes God’s wrath? It’s right there in the verse – unrighteousness. A few verses earlier, the Psalmist invokes God’s wrath to bring about justice:

Arise, Lord, in your anger; rise up against the rage of my enemies. Awake, my God; decree justice. – Psalm 7:6

In the Old Testament, God sometimes gets a bad rap as an angry, vengeful God, so we need to keep in mind that God gets angry at sin because sin is a high-handed violation of and rebellion against God’s righteous law. We should never attempt to elevate one of God’s attributes above any other. His love and justice are coequal.

God described His character to Moses when He allowed Moses to see His presence:

The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation. – Exodus 34:6-7

Versions of this description of God as merciful, slow-to-anger, and just appear at least eight other times in the Bible: Numbers 14:18, Nehemiah 9:17, Psalm 86:15, Psalm 103:8, Psalm 145:8, Joel 2:13, Jonah 4:2, and Nahum 1:3.

All those Bible verses, with the singular exception of Nahum 1:3, also mention God’s rich and abounding love. First Corinthians 13, often called the Bible’s “Love Chapter,” paints a picture of love that offers deeper insight into God’s character. And again, it tells us love (and God) “…is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs” (1 Corinthians 13:35).

God is angry when people sin, violating his holy law in rebellion against Him, but because God is love, He is longsuffering and ready to extend forgiveness.

The Bible shows us that Jesus got angry

Jesus got angry, but as the Incarnation of God, Jesus never sinned. Jesus showed us the Father’s merciful, loving heart through His actions. He let nothing prevent Him from loving others, even the Sabbath laws. For example, He healed a man with a shriveled hand on the Sabbath and used it as a teaching opportunity for those gathered.

Then Jesus asked [the Pharisees], Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they remained silent. He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored. – Mark 3:4-5

Jesus often got angry with the religious leaders of the day, who put obstacles (like Sabbath restrictions) before people. In Matthew 23, He delivered this stark condemnation:

For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted. Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in peoples faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.Matthew 23:13

In Mark, we see another example of Jesus’ anger at those shutting the door of the kingdom in people’s faces:

On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple courts and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money-changers and the benches of those selling doves, and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. And as he taught them, he said, Is it not written: My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations? But you have made it a den of robbers.’”Mark 11:15-17

Only Jews could offer sacrifices in the Temple, yet the money-changers and those selling animals for sacrifices had set up in the outer courts, a place designated for those who weren’t Jewish and yet believed in the One True God. They turned God’s house into a shopping mall which made it difficult for those from other nations to use it as a holy place of prayer.

The Bible instructs us how to appropriately deal with anger

Some anger is righteous. Ephesians 4:26-27 encourages us: “‘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.” Paul assumes that we will experience righteous anger but cautions that even our righteous anger can become an opportunity for Satan to gain a foothold in our life.

You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, Raca,is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, You fool!will be in danger of the fire of hell.Matthew 5:21-22

What did Jesus mean by this? Among other things, He wanted His listeners to recognize that the state of their hearts is as important as their actions. Our actions spring from the condition of our hearts. Some anger is righteous, and some is sinful, and further, “Raca” was a term of contempt. Jesus doesn’t mean that we can’t feel and express anger, but unjustified anger is sin, as is anger that turns aggressive and abusive.

James encourages us to emulate the character of God and “…be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry…” (James 1:19). Think of the last argument you had in which you felt anger. Did you spend more time talking (or formulating your responses) or listening? When we remember the mercy, compassion, and love God has for all people, it can open our hearts to listen to someone else as made in His image.

The book of Proverbs has a lot to say about anger. Consider just one verse: “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1). When confronted with anger, do your best to answer with gentleness. Turn the other cheek with your words.

Shortly after Paul wrote that we shouldn’t sin in our anger, he also tells us to “Get rid of all bitterness, rage, and anger…” (Ephesians 4:31). How are we to do this? A good principle can be found in Colossians 3:17. If you can’t do or say something in the name of Jesus while giving thanks to God, then don’t do or say it.

When you’ve crossed the line of feeling anger and sinning (being cruel and aggressive), it can be hard to cross back over. This is where it is important to lean on God so that in your weakness, His power will be made perfect (2 Corinthians 12:9). With His strength supporting you, you can walk forward, changing one step at a time.

Always remember to pray. God promises to offer peace in every situation when we pray with thanksgiving, presenting our requests before Him (Philippians 4:6-7). Trust God that in His merciful love He wants what’s best for you and whoever provoked your feelings of anger. Let Him show you the best way forward.

Christian Counseling for Anger Issues

If you’re looking for additional support beyond these verses about anger in the Bible, feel free to contact one of the counselors in the online counselor directory or find someone near you at our local offices. We would be happy to meet with you to discuss practical techniques for anger management from a Christian perspective.

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Do You Need Anger Management Therapy?

You probably know someone who you feel needs help to manage their anger. Most people do. They look around, noting all those who act angry all the time or have frequent anger outbursts. But, sometimes, they fail to see that they too need a bit (or a lot) of help managing their own anger. What about you? Do you need anger management therapy?

Although it’s certainly true that many people who need assistance barely show any anger at all, are they really as happy and carefree as they seem to be? Or, are they internalizing the struggle they are having with anger? Those who suppress their anger need anger management therapy just as much, if not more.

Do you know an individual who’s having severe consequences due to anger? Maybe there is a person you know who appears to be all together. Still, they might be going through the storm alone because they are not expressing their angry feelings. The process of therapy for anger management is the first real step in the healing process of hurts, disappointments, rage, and other life controlling problems.

What is Anger Management Therapy?

Anger management therapy focuses on assisting a client in understanding their anger, pinpointing the root, and laying out healthy ways to deal with or cope with symptoms of anger.

Anger management therapy can take place within a group situation where there are many people who gather together and share their anger thoughts and feelings with others. Within a group situation, it’s hopeful to gain some considerable insight in regards to your individual anger through attentively listening to how the other members in the group express theirs.

Counseling for anger management or anger management group therapy is always open for everyone to join in. No criteria exist that must be met in order to receive help for anger problems. It’s a reality that anger tends to commonly exist in those who don’t express it outwardly and openly.

Those individuals would greatly benefit from therapy for anger management since they would find out how to identify and acknowledge exactly what they feel. They would also learn ways to share those feelings with others.

There is no rule that says you have to have lost control of your anger before you can get help. Management of anger is beneficial to those who are easily identifiable as being angry since their outburst is often a symptom stemming from another emotion which isn’t recognized yet. The expression they are currently exhibiting may also bring on even more complications and problems.

Therapy for managing anger can appear very different. It depends on who is participating. Whole families can be in therapy in which case, the whole family may react the same when it comes to being angry.

That warrants digging deeper to discover the norms of their family systems and what root issues might affect them all. Perhaps shouting and throwing things was passed down from generation to generation and it’s typical behavior in the unit. Or, maybe there was a lot of abuse which caused the explosions on a regular basis.

If it happens to be a couple who is in therapy and they are trying to figure out the best way to manage anger issues in the relationship, it is likely that the therapy will be centered on the patterns and responses they have toward each other. When children are part of counseling, however, a different variety of tools will most likely be implemented. These tools help children realize when they are upset and angry and other things concerning anger.

Group settings allow everyone a chance to listen to each other and then to reflect how their anger reveals itself when they’re interacting with other. The group is not controlled by anyone so it is truly a free flowing method that benefits all.

While group sessions may be challenging if an individual is just learning how to manage and identify their emotions of anger, but at the same time, it’s extremely rewarding too.

When Should I Seek Anger Management Therapy?

You may be experiencing a lot of suffering because of past or current hurts that could easily cause you to feel angry. Sometimes hurt comes out as anger. If this emotion seems to be getting more exaggerated, getting into therapy could be the best thing you’ve ever done.

Failure to recognize that the behaviors within your life are actually being controlled by and connected to anger and frustration is typical. The emotions can be detached so you don’t see the connection like feeling angry when sadness is really at the root. Anger management is able to help you get to the source so you can deal with it effectively and have peace.

Maybe you’re expressing the anger you feel in a conducive and healthy way but are worried about the judgment that others inflict on you when you are angry. Or, maybe you’re upset because you feel that you should not even feel angry. Everyone has their own opinion of what the presence of anger means and no two views are exactly the same.

There are those who honestly believe that anger is alright and they express their anger in ways that don’t hurt themselves or to others. Others are confused about anger, especially about it in a Christian light. They are concerned about how God views it.

The Scriptures show us what the Bible says about anger and how Christians are expected to handle it. In Ephesians 4:26, we are commissioned not to fall into sin because of anger and not to allow the sun to set while being angry still. Proverbs 14:29 teaches us to control our anger and not to act foolishly because of it.

Even when reading the passages, you may be wondering how they apply to your personal life. Seeking counsel may be very helpful if you are feeling confused. It will encourage you to dig down to the roots so that you better understand your anger and discover how it fits into your spiritual life.

The Scriptures tell us that God becomes angry at times. Looking at how He expresses His anger can help us know how to manage our own. In Deuteronomy 32:19, we’re told that God grew angry and drew back. That tells us he did not act on his angry feelings. We can see in Romans 9:22 that God is still very patient even when angry.

Anger Management for Children

It is difficult for children who suffer from anger issues to display enough symptoms to meet the requirements for a mental health defined disorder that would place them in anger management counseling. Those who do may end up being diagnosed with an adjustment disorder, conduct disorder, or a similar category.

It’s imperative to have several family sessions so the family unit can learn healthy ways to respond to the child’s anger and to be helpful rather than harmful so as to support the child and not the problem. Being on the same page is priceless

Therapy isn’t just for children who’ve been formally diagnosed with anger related problems who can reap the benefits of counseling for anger management, but also, those who’ve experienced a significant loss or who have been in foster care or even those who may be angry about events they’ve been through, like their parents getting divorced. Medical illnesses can also be a root of anger. There are many hurtful or difficult situations which can be the deep-rooted reason a child reacts in anger.

It’s important to note that anger management counseling certainly does not have to spiral out of control before a child can experience counseling. Prevention can be attained by addressing behavioral issues before they reach the boiling point. Many problems can be avoided when you take this preventative approach.

Treatment for Anger Issues

Now you may be curious as to what you might get out of therapy for anger management. There are techniques that are implemented before anger is experienced and some that are used after you feel angry. These things will help you prepare in advance for all different situations and scenarios. The more you know, the more you can avoid being caught off guard.

Understanding the things that cause you to feel angry is vital when it comes to working through anger problems. Whether it’s traffic that angers you, the tone of voice people use or being taken for granted, pinpointing the source or sources is important to finding a solution.

In the midst of your irritation, you might not be able to find a workable solution but if you take a step back and process your feelings and your anger, you can put a plan in place. That is yet another anger management technique learned in therapy.

Another method for managing your anger is to discover how to ask questions that clarify the situation. Poor communication tends to escalate anger. Clarification can change everything in many cases. Because anger is often spun from misunderstandings, it’s wise to ask someone that you may have misunderstood for a bit of clarity.

Coping skills are imperative when it comes to managing anger, such as talking to a friend, enjoying music, painting or drawing, playing video games, and even writing. The object is to find something that distracts you from the anger you are feeling long enough to focus on the issue in a clear headed way. The idea is not to ignore the anger but to take enough time to cope with it instead of act on it. It’s all about finding healthy ways to manage anger.

Expressing anger tends to be a thing that individuals do or don’t do on a regular basis. There are times that expressing anger in the open leads to huge consequences like being arrested or losing a relationship. Learning effective ways to deal with and express anger can be difficult but constructive.

Counseling is an excellent way to help manage your anger. It is a spot that’s safe and you can start learning techniques that will help you deal with anger in a positive and good way. Counseling is also quite conducive for children. They are encouraged to take such creative actions as drawing pictures to get in touch with feelings of anger. Adults can even do the same. They can write down the words so it’s not necessary to hunt for them. Writing a letter is a good example of this type of therapy.

These techniques are just a few of the many tools available through counseling. If you or someone you know struggles with anger, reach out today and get the help you are longing for. Our counselors are here to walk with you on your journey to be free from anger once and for all.

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What Does the Bible Say About Anger?

Have you ever wondered, “What does the Bible say about anger?” If so, this article is for you.

Anger is an emotion that everyone experiences, but it’s also an emotion that is viewed quite negatively. There seems to be a consensus in society that anger is straight up wrong but this is a misguided perception. To classify anger as inherently wrong is like saying that everyone who struggles with anger issues is “bad” or even “evil.”

That’s just not the case. Most people don’t get out of bed and “decide” to get angry for no reason. Anger is an emotion, and like all emotions, it’s usually provoked by something.

So, what does the Bible say about anger? The Bible talks about two kinds of anger: righteous anger and unrighteous anger. It’s important to remember that God expresses anger in the Bible and if anger is an emotion that God expresses, then it’s impossible for it to be evil.

God’s anger is in response to injustice, which makes it righteous anger. Christians can also become righteously angry about injustices. God’s anger is justified because it’s a demonstration of His love and the pain that He experiences when His children are hurting themselves and others.

It is unrighteous anger that is sinful. Flying into a rage over something that is not injustice is when anger issues become more serious. This kind of anger can lead to a lot of problems in relationships, employment, and school and can also lead to legal action.

What Does the Bible Say about Anger?

If you’re struggling with anger issues, then the Bible is a great place to turn for help and advice. We’re going to look at five verses about anger the Bible, to get God’s perspective on how anger should be handled.

Don’t Let Anger Control You

And don’t sin by letting anger control you. Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil . . . Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. – Ephesians 4:26-27, 31-32 (NLT)

In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul is really direct about the consequences of being controlled by your anger. When your anger issues are in control of you, you’re opening yourself up to attacks from the enemy, Satan, who is always looking out for weak spots that he can exploit.

What does it mean to not “let the sun go down while you are still angry”? Well, this part of the verse is talking about how you can settle into a state of constant, bubbling anger that rapidly becomes feelings of bitterness and resentment. As we discussed earlier, anger in itself isn’t a sin, but holding onto it and allowing your anger to fester is not healthy.

Paul goes on to give some practical advice (although in practice it’s not quite as simple as it sounds) about getting rid of “bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander.” I don’t think there’s an expectation that as a Christian you will never get angry, but this verse exhorts you to take control of your anger by practicing kindness and forgiveness just as God practices kindness and forgiveness towards us.

Don’t Be Quick to Respond in Anger

Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.James 1:19-20 (NLT)

In the heat of the moment, getting excessively angry can cause a whole heap of trouble. If you’re naturally quick-tempered, you’ll know how easy it is to say something in anger and immediately regret it. The trouble is, once you’ve said it, you can’t take it back, and hurtful things said as an angry outburst can tear relationships apart.

If you’re prone to flashes of temper, then heeding the advice in this Scripture on anger can help you to manage your anger issues. When we respond in anger, we’re often foregoing the “quick to listen” part of these verses. Taking the time to listen to the other person’s perspective instead of immediately flying into a rage can allow you space to consider a more godly reaction.

You don’t have to agree with someone else’s views, but nor do you have to become angry. When you’re slow to speak, you have a better chance to choose the right words that can convey your views without causing a massive argument. Unrighteous anger is almost always a knee-jerk reaction. Practice righteousness by carefully considering your response, instead.

Follow Jesus’ Example

It was nearly time for the Jewish Passover celebration, so Jesus went to Jerusalem. In the Temple area, he saw merchants selling cattle, sheep, and doves for sacrifices; he also saw dealers at tables exchanging foreign money. Jesus made a whip from some ropes and chased them all out of the Temple. He drove out the sheep and cattle, scattered the money changers’ coins over the floor, and turned over their tables. Then, going over to the people who sold doves, he told them, “Get these things out of here. Stop turning my Father’s house into a marketplace!” Then his disciples remembered this prophecy from the Scriptures: “Passion for God’s house will consume me.” – John 2:13-17 (NLT)

Jesus’ anger in the Temple is a great insight into what righteous anger looks like. It’s easy to justify your own anger issues as being righteous, but this passage of Scriptures about anger might cause you to reconsider whether your anger really is righteous.

Getting angry about injustice and wrongdoing in the way that Jesus did is okay. Jesus was consumed by anger because of the disrespectful way that the people were behaving in the Temple court. It was God’s house and they were using it as a marketplace. By doing that, they were insulting God and Jesus had every right to fly into a rage, given that He was preparing to die for them.

If you find yourself trying to justify your anger as being righteous, you need to search your heart to see whether this is really the case or if you are looking for an excuse to be angry. Jesus was angry on behalf of His Father, and his response was to berate the people for turning the Temple into a den of thieves.

Getting angry on behalf of someone else can be righteous but it’s not an excuse to behave inappropriately. Notice that Jesus wasn’t angry about something that was done to Him. You may feel that it’s justified to be angry if you’ve experienced an injustice, but the Bible really talks about righteous anger being about injustices that happen to others. It’s hard to have a righteous perspective when you’re the victim.

God’s Approach to Anger

The Lord is slow to anger and filled with unfailing love, forgiving every kind of sin and rebellion. But he does not excuse the guilty. He lays the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected – even children in the third and fourth generations.Numbers 14:18 (NLT)

As Christians, our ultimate goal is to be more like God (or Christlike), so it makes sense that we should follow God’s example when it comes to anger. This passage in Numbers reminds us that although God does get angry, it takes a lot to make Him angry.

If you have anger issues and find yourself becoming very easily angry, you might want to spend some time thinking about how God would react in your situation. Or, even more poignantly, what the world would be like if God was more hot-tempered.

This passage also takes into account that although God doesn’t get angry easily and He is filled to overflowing with love for his children, and He forgives our transgressions, He is just in dealing with those who are unrepentant. This leads to the next verse.

Revenge is for God to Take

Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the Lord. Romans 12:19 (NLT)

When you hold onto anger, it quickly becomes resentment and bitterness and can lead to a desire for revenge. If someone has hurt you deliberately, then it’s natural to feel that you deserve some kind of recompense, in the form of revenge. However, the Bible is firm in reminding us that it is not for us to take revenge.

It can be tough to surrender your desire for revenge and trust that God will ensure that ultimately justice is served. No matter how difficult it is to let go of your anger and resentment, not doing so will only hurt you more. Holding onto anger can cause depression and anxiety not to mention giving the devil a hold over you.

Christian Counseling for Anger Issues

When you’re struggling with anger issues, it’s helpful to explore what the Bible says about anger, but you may also benefit from getting in touch with a Christian counselor. Christian counseling gives you the opportunity to discuss your problems with anger with a trained professional who will bring a Biblical perspective (not only a psychological one) to each session.

Working with a Christian counselor, you can explore more Scriptures about anger and discuss your feelings about the Biblical understanding of good and bad types of anger. You’ll learn tools to help manage your anger in a more godly way and have a safe space to discuss the underlying issues that may be affecting your anger issues.

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When to Be Concerned about Child Behavior Problems

When should you be concerned about child behavior problems in your home?

We all have our moments of “cringe-worthy” behaviors. We say things we later regret or lie to get out of awkward situations. When we consider how difficult it is to control our own behaviors, just think of what a child goes through – with a brain that is still developing, and lacking the maturity and experience to understand all the consequences of negative behaviors.

Even children who are usually well behaved may encounter a situation where they are so overcome by emotion that they “lose it” and engage in inappropriate behaviors. This is especially true of very young children whose emotions are still in the early stages of development.

Nevertheless, there are negative behaviors that should not be ignored in children, or they may become ingrained, interfering with the child’s relationships and daily life. Taking quick action to nip these problems in the bud will avoid them developing into serious issues that require professional intervention.

No matter what behavior issues you are going through with your child, take confidence! Your child can learn to control his or her emotions and behavior. As a child’s brain is still developing, the child has a surprising ability to learn new concepts and develop appropriate behaviors, under the guidance of parents and other caregivers.

In their book, No Drama Discipline (2014), authors Siegel and Bryson recommend that we “chase the why” when considering a child’s behavior problems. Rather than jumping to conclusions as to why a child is misbehaving, instead engage in some detective work and find the true answer.

Let’s take a look at ten child behavior problems that are common in children, yet absolutely cannot be ignored. These behaviors require swift intervention to bring them in check before they escalate. By exploring the reasons why your child may be engaging in these unwanted actions, you can devise an action plan of how to deal with them.

Child Behavior Problems You Shouldn’t Ignore

1. Telling Lies

We all know it’s wrong to tell a lie, but we all do it from time to time. No matter what age, lying is a significant problem when it becomes habitual – so ingrained that the person’s word cannot be trusted. Some children become repetitive liars, which can make it difficult for parents to know when to believe the child. This could even put the child in harm’s way.

Why does a child lie? A child may lie in order to avoid a feared or disliked activity. Children struggling with self-worth might tell stories in hopes of being admired by others. A child might lie to avoid being punished. When a child has failed at doing something, they might actually say that they were able to do it, in order to feel more self-confident.

Children with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) may be impulsive liars, where their mouth engages before their brain, according to Carol Brady, Ph.D., (ADDitude Magazine).

2. Stealing

When parents teach their children boundaries between what is theirs and what belongs to others, most children quickly learn that taking something that doesn’t belong to them is unacceptable. Unfortunately, some children develop a habit of stealing, for multiple reasons.

Perhaps they enjoy the thrill of swiftly taking something without being noticed and the adrenaline release. They might be attempting to gain control over a situation – such as when they perceive a disparity between what they have and what others have. Stealing may be a way of getting something parents don’t allow – such as candy.

3. Bullying, Harming Others, Self-Harming, and Property Destruction

No one wants to be the parent of the neighborhood bully. Rather than facing the fact that their child is hurting other people or purposefully breaking things, some parents simply ignore this violent behavior. Parents need to immediately address why their child is violent or destructive.

Violent or destructive behavior often results from deep-seated anger. The child may be receiving abuse from another child or adult. The child might be jealous if the parents’ attention is diverted to a new baby or to their career, and feel that negative attention is better than no attention.

Self-harming (hitting, scratching, or cutting themselves) is alarming behavior. Children may talk about hurting themselves or even committing suicide. Never ignore such talk or behaviors. It often indicates depression or other serious emotional issues. Immediately seek professional help if your child has suicidal ideations, is self-harming, or is violent toward others.

4. Temper Tantrums

Almost every small child has temper tantrums. Their brains are still growing rapidly, and they are learning how to regulate their emotions. When they encounter a stressful situation, such as getting tired and bored in the supermarket or getting over-stimulated, it might result in a “meltdown.”

Children who have sensitive natures – who experience strong emotions and take longer to recover from anger or sadness – are more prone to temper tantrums, even at an age when most of their peers have become relatively adept at emotional regulation.

When your child is having a meltdown, give the opportunity to regain control in as calm an environment as possible. Maintain your own composure, speak in a soft and matter-of-fact tone and try to remove the child from an over-stimulating environment. Don’t goad overwrought emotions further by reacting in exasperation.

If tantrums are occurring frequently, or it takes a long time for the child to regain control, or if the child is causing harm to self or others, or destroying property, then counseling is recommended. If you feel helpless and worn down by all the meltdowns, you will benefit by having someone come alongside to support and guide you in helping your child regulate emotions.

5. Belligerence and Defiance

If your child is usually cheerful and compliant, then abruptly begins to question your directives, or refuse to obey, this defiant attitude may be a way of asserting himself or testing boundaries. Your child may be disrespectful to you or other authority figures. Many times this behavior is picked up from peers or even TV shows.

You may be noticing your child has become combative and quarrelsome with his or her siblings, with friends, or even you. This may be a sign that the child is suffering from anxiety or depression, or may be feeling out of control.

6. Ignoring Others

If a child is habitually ignoring authority figures, it may be a display of defiance. If the child is ignoring even non-authority figures, it could be due to a hearing disorder, or the child could be going through internal struggles, withdrawing inwardly, and simply less aware of what is going on around him.

It could also be a sign of ADHD. With ADHD, children have trouble filtering the other sounds around them, in order to concentrate on what one person is saying. They also tend to get lost in a “dream world” and not focused on the matter at hand. If you’re seeing a lot of ignoring behaviors, you probably need professional help to determine if there’s a physical or emotional reason behind it.

7. Refusing To Go to School

If you child frequently complains of headaches or stomach aches on school days, has meltdowns right before the school bus shows up, or simply takes hours getting out of bed and ready for school, these are all signs that the child is resisting going to school. Now it’s time for you to play detective and figure out what’s going on.

Perhaps someone is bullying your child at school, or the teacher is unpleasant. Your child may be bored by lack of challenge, or suffering anxiety because of difficulty learning the material. Your child may simply not want to leave you or your secure home environment. The child may feel nervous about tests. If a child is depressed, they often lose interest in activities they once loved.

8. Laziness

When a child seems unusually unmotivated to do schoolwork or engage in sports or other activities, there’s probably something going on under the surface. Fatigue and lack of enthusiasm or interest in activities a person once enjoyed are signs of depression. If the child has a high level of anxiety about something stressful, this may have an immobilizing effect.

9. Smoking, Drinking, or Using Drugs

Children begin to experiment with cigarette smoking, drinking alcohol, or smoking marijuana around the age of thirteen. But children much younger than this engage in substance use, especially if it is readily available at home or from a friend or relative. Obviously, this behavior demands immediate attention before addictions develop or other serious issues ensue.

Once again, it’s important to explore the reason why a child is using cigarettes, alcohol or drugs. Is it peer pressure? Is the child copying the behaviors of the adults in his or her life? Is the child trying to cope with overwhelming emotions?

10. Premature Sexualized Behavior

All very small children explore their body. However, if preschool or elementary children are demonstrating overt sexual behavior or language, this is reason for concern.

Parents need to determine if the child has been exposed to pornography, or has observed teens or adults in sexual situations, or has even been the victim of sexual abuse. Consulting with a professional can help you discover what is going on with the child, and what to do about it.

What Should Be Done About These Child Behavior Problems?

Most negative behaviors are indicators of deeper, less obvious problems. Before you can help your child with the unwanted behavior, you first have to determine why the child is doing it. Finding the root cause is the key to effectively eliminating the problem.

This requires calmly investigating what the underlying issue is. Is it an immature and unregulated emotional system? Are there changes in the family that may be causing stress? Are there any problems at school – with learning the material or with peers or teachers? Is there any chance that the child is being bullied or exposed to inappropriate things or harmed by someone?

Often, child behavior problems are a way of coping with emotions or challenges the child can’t control. For instance, the child may feel jealous and neglected when parents bring a new baby home that demands a lot of attention. The child might act out with tantrums or defiance or even hurting others.

Just as adults cope with disappointments or hurts with unwise behavior – such as binge eating or drinking too much – children also choose incorrect ways to cope. Children don’t clearly understand the consequences, and their brains and emotions are still developing, thus they are more prone than adults to engage in problematic coping.

Understanding why children display unwanted behaviors does not mean we permit the behaviors to continue. But knowing the “why” behind the behavior helps us to determine issues that should be dealt with, and enables us to guide the child toward emotional control and equip the child with skills to overcome negative behavior.

A therapist trained in child development – especially development of the brain and emotions – can offer invaluable guidance and support. A counselor can help you determine issues underlying the problem behaviors, and suggest a plan of action.

When Should I Seek Help?

You don’t need to be in a crisis situation to seek counsel from a professional therapist on child behavior issues. In fact, the earlier you seek help, the better so that the problem behaviors don’t become worse.

However, there are several circumstances when you should immediately seek professional help:

  • if your child is harming self or others or destroying property,
  • if the problem behavior is very frequent or is escalating,
  • if the behavior is interfering with daily life – with school, family life, or friends,
  • if you suspect the child has been abused – physically, sexually, or emotionally, or
  • if you are exhausted and feel hopeless and don’t know where to turn.

We’re here to come alongside you. Please don’t hesitate to contact us to get started in the right direction for your child.

“Problem Child”, Courtesy of Patrice Audet,, CC0 License; “Egg Stealer”, Courtesy of Andrew Poynton,, CC0 License; “Pouting,” courtesy of martakoton,, CC0 License; “Smoke with Me”, Courtesy of Smoke & Vibe,; CC0 License

Eight Anger Management Tips for Men from Scripture

While many may say that we are much more civilized than the olden days when conflicts were settled by duals to the death, anger is still an issue that plagues many men worldwide. Road rage, bar room brawls, fights in the gym, domestic violence, and a verbal tirade in the workplace are just some examples of anger unchecked.

Though both men and women may suffer from anger issues, seeing such rage from men is often quite scary as they are often the ones inflicting much physical damage. This may then cause a domino effect of anger as other men may retaliate as well, leaving devastation in their wake, possibly hurting whoever is in their way.

Thankfully, Scripture contains much wisdom in helping people today deal with their daily struggles, including managing one’s anger.

Anger Management Tips from Scripture

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! – Galatians 5:22-23

In Galatians 5:22-23, Paul discusses the fruit of the spirit. If every man could fill himself with this fruit, then managing anger would not be a problem. So for those struggling with anger, it would be good to focus on and ask for such spiritual fruit.


In Galatians, the love that is spoken of is a love for every person which stems from God’s loving presence in a person’s life. Such love means one should be concerned and compassionate towards others, and not indifferent or prejudiced. To have such love in one’s life means that you truly care about the people around you as they are a brother or sister in Christ.

Anger, however, comes from a place of pride and selfishness. Regular, uncontrollable anger against others means that one’s feelings are more important than those around. Only by becoming more loving can a man gain the wisdom and patience to deal with life’s frustrations.


While many may seek happiness, it is joy that allows one to see the positives in life despite the changing circumstances. But true spiritual joy can only occur when a person is focused on God, trusting in Him as our loving Father, provider, and protector.

In order to control one’s anger, a person needs to choose joy, knowing that our life is blessed as a child of God. When this is done, a man’s mental energy is diverted towards what is positive and not the negative things causing such anger.


Out of all of the fruits of the spirit, peace is the most antithetical to anger. When one has peace, it means that despite the circumstances, anger is not present. Such peace, however, only comes from God.

Left to ourselves, anger, frustration, and disappointment are the usual responses to situations that do not go our way. But with God’s help, this can be overcome. So rather than praying to not be angry, pray instead for peace in the heart and mind.


Anger usually does not exist alone. It is often the result of another emotion such as sadness, embarrassment, disgust, or frustration which arises from a particular event in a person’s life. Patience is the spiritual fruit that allows one to prevent such primary emotions from igniting anger. So when a man has patience, he is able to first address and control the initial emotion so that anger is not required to defend his hurt ego.

Patience, however, requires much practice and prayer to perfect. This starts with first contemplating on the areas in one’s life where more control is needed (e.g. budget discussions with the wife, dealing with misbehaving kids, disappointment with employees). Also, a man should be willing to humble himself when patience runs out and continuously pray for more.


One way to remove internal anger is to fill life with positives. By focusing on acts of kindness, a man can feel better about himself and the people around them. Thus, in times of disappointment or frustration, it is hoped that the positives within will overpower the negatives stemming from the situation, preventing anger.

Contrary to what the media usually presents, kindness does require grand gestures towards others. Small, daily acts of kindness, such as a smile or a helping hand, can already change a person’s outlook towards life. But when dealing with difficult people or tough situations, it helps to ask God for the strength to be kind. Kindness is a spiritual fruit that blesses both the giver and the receiver.


For many men, their anger stems from not achieving their desired goals in life. Thus, when they fail to impress or succeed, they become angry – first at themselves, and then at others.

The way to counteract this is to focus on the good things in every aspect of his life. Though our life on earth can never be perfect, there is still much good to be thankful for. Goodness also means purposely living a good life so that there is no need for shame, guilt, or regret. While it may be difficult at times to always be or do “good,” with Christ’s help, it is possible.


One fruit that everyone needs today is faithfulness. Sadly, because of all the options presented and because of the various bad examples by people around us, it is difficult now for people to stay committed, which is often a cause of much anger or situations leading to anger. This faithfulness, however, is not just about romantic relationships (though particularly in marriage it is very important!); it is about following through on all commitments a person may give to others or to God.

In Matthew 5:37, Jesus advised, “Just say a simple, ‘Yes, I will,’ or ‘No, I won’t.’ Anything beyond this is from the evil one.” Thus, whether the situation is about work, investments, friendship, love, or service to God; a man needs to fulfill his obligations to prevent untoward incidents that may lead to anger.


One definition or idea of gentleness is power under control. Men who are always angry allow their power to run wild, hurting others, verbally or physically. With gentleness, a man willingly holds back to make things safer for others.

Similar to patience, this requires much practice; but it can be done. When approaching possibly heated conversations or dealing with particularly testy people, for example, gentleness should always be at the front of one’s mind. If so, it will be easier to maintain composure and avoid anger.


Self-control is the final fruit. With self-control, a man will be able to manage his response to antagonistic situations. However, to truly have self-control, the other spiritual fruits need to be present and the divine help of the Holy Spirit must be there as well. Without them, trying to manage one’s anger will be very, very difficult indeed.

Prayer and practice of self-control together with the other spiritual fruits are necessary for this fruit to be achieved.

Making Use of the Fruits

In order to use these spiritual fruits to control anger, a man has to first look within to determine the underlying cause. Is it bitterness? Pain? Sadness? Is this triggered because of certain people or certain situations?

Once the cause or causes have been pinpointed, he may then check which spiritual fruits can help manage the situation. Are more patience and love required? Are faithfulness and gentleness the best solutions?

When those have been identified, prayer must begin in earnestness to ask God for the spiritual fruits to combat the causes and the anger response. The process will take time so a man needs to be patient with himself if he cannot change immediately.

Know that God is always listening and that the Holy Spirit is beginning to work on that change within. Simply asking for that change through prayer is a sign that the process has begun.

Further Help Through Christian Counseling

In some cases, anger has severely damaged a man’s family and social life so much that the situation seems hopeless. In such scenarios, Christian counseling can help that man get his life back on track, especially when unearthing the true causes behind the anger.

Your Christian counselor can also help in reconnecting the person with God through prayer and the reading of Scripture as it may have been years since such activities have been done.

Anger should never be in control of a man’s life. If you or a friend believes that anger management is a big concern, then seek help soon.

“Angry Enough to Kill”, Courtesy of WenPHotos,, CC0 License; “Free”, Courtesy of Zac Durant,; CC0 License; “Seeking Human Kindness”, Courtesy of Matt Collamer,; CC0 License; “Studying,” courtesy of Patrick Denker, Flickr CreativeCommons (CC BY 2.0)