A fool gives full vent to his spirit,
But a wise man quietly holds it back.
(Proverbs 29:11 ESV)
The question of how to deal with anger in a biblical way is an important one. But it’s certainly not the cookie-cutter answer many of us have heard.
Have you ever had a moment where you said something in red-hot anger? Only to ask yourself moments later: “How could I say that?”
Sadly, I’ve had far too many of these moments. And today’s devotional verse calls me out as acting like a “fool” who let anger control my words and actions.
However, I don’t think the heart of this passage is to simply suppress anger or other negative emotions. It’s not about pretending like anger isn’t there.
After all, psychologically speaking, shoving emotions aside doesn’t make them go away. Instead, it creates a tangled pile that will surface and need dealt with later.
So, what does the Bible teach us?Jesus has some pretty tough words against acting in anger. Click To Tweet
He taught that everyone who is angry with his brother is liable to the same kind of judgment as a murderer (Matthew 5:20–21). And yet, he also chased predatory business people out of the synagogue with a whip (Matthew 21:12)!
Here are three ways to deal with anger biblically:
- Ask for the Holy Spirit to increase the fruit of the Spirit in your life (Galatians 5:22–23). When we’re angry, it’s actually the quickest path to being pruned and prepared for incredible growth. And understand that we absolutely need the Holy Spirit’s power to mature us here!
- Address the anger head on by making peace with the person or situation you’re angry with. Jesus teaches us that conflict is actually the path to peace (Matthew 18:15–17; Matthew 5:23–24). Lashing out and attacking is not the way Christians do conflict. But avoiding it altogether and seething in anger is unbiblical as well.
- Ask if your anger is righteous and justified—which is sometimes the case. And if so, does it require action? Is there evil or injustice to confront? Someone who is weak to defend? If so, act! But don’t do so to give “vent to your spirit” just to make yourself feel better. Be angry, but do not sin (Psalm 4:4). Righteous anger is aligned with God. It’s being angry at what makes God angry.
How will you deal with anger in a God-honoring way? Is there unresolved conflict that you need to deal with?
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Today’s devotion is written by Jordan Loftis. His passion is helping believers turn biblical knowledge into life-changing action. Jordan is the editor of Short Daily Devotions and the author of “The Men With Bare Feet.”