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, Pixabay.com, CC0 License; “Free”, Courtesy of Zac Durant, Unsplash.com; CC0 License; “Seeking Human Kindness”, Courtesy of Matt Collamer, Unsplash.com; CC0 License; “Studying,” courtesy of Patrick Denker, Flickr CreativeCommons (CC BY 2.0)