I grew up in a home where my father was prone to fits of anger. They typically didn’t last long, but they were loud and frightening while they were occurring. If you or someone you know has that same tendency, think about these ways to fight it:
1. Confess your inclination to God. I wish I could say that I’m never tempted to act like my dad did, but I know I easily could follow the pattern. It’s only because of God’s grace that I don’t.
2. Know that even a short outburst can leave scars on others. I’m 55 years old, and I still vividly remember some of my dad’s outbursts that occurred decades ago. What one man can erase quickly can linger a long time in another person’s mind.
3. Remember that you’ll answer to God for all your words. They may be careless and reactionary in times of frustration, but the God who speaks to us lovingly through His Word will hold you accountable for yours (Matt 12:36-37).
4. Think about this truth: People are more likely to remember your angry words than your loving ones. Especially if you’re a minister of the gospel, you should want nothing to hinder how others hear your proclamation of the good news.
5. Be honest, and admit that uncontrolled displays of anger make us look like preschoolers who don’t know any better. Adults should want to act like adults who are growing in the Lord, ever being conformed to the image of Christ.
6. Be aware of your patterns. Find out what really pushes your buttons toward anger, and prayerfully and proactively decide not to allow anger to overtake you. If you aren’t prepared for the battle, you’ll lose it most of the time.
7. Determine what’s really happening when you get uncontrollably angry. Sometimes we’re just frustrated because things don’t work out the way we want. At other times, we’re justifiably angered by wrong, but our response is equally sinful. Both require repentance, but the latter may still require a godly intervention to address a wrong.
8. Learn to take a breath and say a prayer before you get angry. If you’re like me, you know when an outburst is on the tip of your tongue. You can feel it coming. When that happens, immediately run to God in prayer—and walk away from the situation that’s precipitated the anger.
9. Talk to a Christian counselor. It’s not a faithless act to turn to one of God’s trained men or women to help you dig into the origins of your anger. In fact, it can be an act of faith, trusting that God is going to work through His church to bring about your healing.
10. Read Galatians 5:19-26 and Ephesians 4:29-5:2 every day. When you realize that your anger is reflective of your flesh—and it marks the enemy’s victory in your life—you’ll fight harder to exhibit the fruit of the Spirit in your life.
What other steps have helped you deal with anger?