Dial Back the Anger

A few weeks back I wrote to wives about the need to stop nagging.  It was amazing how many scriptures addressed the issue of nagging and I started thinking to myself, “Is there anything that the bible addresses equally that men need to be aware of?”  I was convinced there was not until a few hours later when I opened a devotional and found an entry concerning anger.

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

He who is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who is quick-tempered exalts folly.  Proverbs 14:29

Put them all aside; anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth.  Colossians 3:8

A hot-tempered person stirs up conflict but the one who is patient calms a quarrel.  Proverbs 15:18

But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to anger; for the anger of a man does not achieve righteousness.  James 1:  19-20

Yep, five scriptures…to start.  If you do a Google search for “scripture” and “anger” you will find at least 25 scriptures dealing with this topic.  I think it is safe to say that if nagging is a problem faced by many women, anger is a problem for many men.

Doug Flanders describes it this way:

My wife describes it as living on an island with an active volcano. You’ve seen the pictures: lush, vibrant, and beautiful, it’s a tropical paradise in all directions. Yet there, at the top of the rise, you spot the glowing mouth of the volcano, ready and waiting to spew forth it’s a molten lava at any moment, unbidden and unexpected. Sometimes there are little tremorss that let those who live nearby know it’s coming, but it’s usually at its worst when it blows without warning.

Yep, been there, done that, got the T-shirt.

I think most men can relate.  Just as nagging is often the result of fear; anger is usually the result of another issue.   Anger is always a secondary emotion.  For me, it surfaces when I feel frustrated or inadequate.  For others it surfaces as a result of fear, loss of control, or a feeling of injustice.  While anger in and of itself is not a sin (In your anger do not sin) it most often results in sinful activities.  When angry a man might yell and scream at his children, act in a demeaning way with his wife, and more often than we would like to admit, it may result in emotional and physical abuse.  While it may not be sinful in and of itself, we must always guard against its harmful effects.

If your anger is a problem for you and your family, there is a way out.  However, it requires prayer, insight, and often times help from the outside.  If this is an issue think about taking some action as follows:

  •  Pray – Seriously, ask God to reveal to you why your anger is such an issue.  Is it a feeling of inadequacy?  Is it an issue of impatience?  Is it a fear of loosing control?  Most often anger comes from believing a lie about yourself or others.  Ask God to reveal what it is that you are believing that leads to your angry outburst.
  •  Pray – Once God reveals the source of the anger, ask him to reveal the truth about the issue.  Renew your mind by meditating on this truth.  For instance, if I believe I am inadequate I remember that God has told me that in Christ I am adequate.  (2 Cor 3: 5 New American Standard.)
  • Pray – Then pray for the ability to believe the truth and reject the lie.
  • Reach Out – Find a group of guys to work with on this issue.  At Colonial Hills we have SPAR groups where men meet with other guys and work on issues such as this.  This is a common topic in those groups.  If needed, you may also reach out to pastoral staff or a counselor.
  • Apologize – When you slip back into the old way of dealing with the issue that causes anger, apologize humbly and quickly.

Of all the challenges men face I would say anger and pornography are the most common and most destructive.  While man was made to be a warrior, we must always remember the fight is out there.  Your wife is not your enemy.  Don’t let the sinful activities caused by anger destroy your marriage or your family.

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