Frustration, anger, and conflict are issues that are prone to arise in our lives in normal days, but even more so in the challenges we currently face. In this article, our biblical counselor Vikki Crouch offers helpful counsel about how to guard against responding in anger.
God Himself expressed anger – righteous anger. (Deut. 9:8; Ex. 32:10) Jesus expressed righteous anger (Mark3:5, 11:15). Believers can also express righteous anger…but the problem is, we usually do not. Our anger most often is not because God is being sinned against; it is unrighteous because we are personally affronted in some way or we do not get what we want. In other words, the desires are our heart are not being met. James 4:1-3 detail the process. Romans 1:25 exposes the root: we worship the creatures (ourselves and our desires) rather than the Creator.
So, what is the solution? Are we never to get angry again? That is quite unrealistic as we are all sinners saved by grace through faith in Christ, No. The solution is to respond to anger-producing situations rather than to react to them. Act vs. React. Here is what this looks like. We get a “punch” of some sort, (a threat, an accusation, a mistreatment or injustice, a perceived wrong of some sort, etc.) Now: our response to that “punch”. What will it be? Will we react with anger? Or will we purposely respond with Christ on the throne of our heart rather than self? We all know what it looks like to lose self-control. We say and do things we often later regret.
It is better to yield control to the Lord. 1. The way to do this is to respond by going straight to the throne of grace by praying, “Lord, please help me!! I yield to You.” 2. Purposely respond by clarifying the issue with appropriate questions: What did you mean by ________? Are you telling me ___________?” Summarize the issue by asking, “Of all you just said, what do you most want me to understand? What do you want from me right now?” Listen more. Speak less. When you do respond, do so by lowering your pitch, slowing the pace of your words, and softening the volume. (In anger, we often speak louder, more rapidly, and in a higher pitch.) This response will give you a better sense of acting rather than reacting, and of calm rather than haste. 3. Answer gently (Prov. 15:1) Choose your words wisely. You can be truthful without tearing someone down. (Eph. 4:29) When you are wrong, take responsibility by admitting it, and asking forgiveness right then and there. (Eph. 4:26-27) Grant forgiveness when you have been wronged. (Eph. 4:32) This is how to respond rather than react. It is more likely to result in resolution rather than more conflict. It is more likely to result in conversing in conversation rather than arguing. This is a righteous response to injustice or a “punch” of sorts rather than an unrighteous one. I do believe our Savior will be glorified as a result.