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Confession time: I get into arguments sometimes. Not pleasant to admit but it is true. God’s goal for me is to not quarrel and argue. No doubt about that. I am foolish if I pick a fight. My anger gets the best of me. It is shameful.

God’s goal: God gives me the power, through his Holy Spirit, to love and not get into arguments. The alternative is to be a fool. Not very attractive.

It is an honor for a man to keep aloof from strife, but every fool will be quarreling. [1]

(Proverbs 20:3)

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My mission, given to me by Jesus, is to love. That is it. That should be my day. That should be my motivation. Love should be my passionate focus.

Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone… ‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this you will heap burning coals on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

(Romans 12:17-18, 20-21)

Should I renounce anger? Jesus does not exhort me to get angry, as if this is anger were a good motivator or energy for positive action. (This is the kind of thing that many Psychologists and “pop psychologists” in in our culture today teach.) The context of Ephesians 4:25-32 is exactly the opposite! Paul is saying when you feel angry, don’t act on it! Don’t hold onto anger and don’t let it motivate you because it easily leads to unwholesome talk and other sins. It gives the devil a foothold in your life. It grieves the Holy Spirit. It harms you and others. Instead of getting angry at people Paul teaches us to, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in the Messiah God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32).

In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry… Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen… Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in the Messiah God forgave you.

(Ephesians 4:26, 29 31-32)

Dealing with anger |’ Becoming slow to anger: An honest reading of the Bible’s wisdom on anger would never come away with this advice that anger is good! The consistent counsel in Scripture about anger is to be careful with it and to set it aside.

  • 1 Corinthians 13:5  — Love does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered.
  • Ecclesiastes 7:9  — Do not be eager in your heart to be angry, For anger resides in the bosom of fools.
  • Titus 1:7  — For the overseer must be above reproach as God’s steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain,
  • James 1:19  — This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger;

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Pr 20:3). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.