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Verses to Live By: How to Deal with Anger

Contributing Editor Rick Hamlin shares Scripture that can help you control your temper.

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Me angry? I like to think I project calm and equanimity. But put me behind the wheel and—whoa! If someone cuts me off or drives unsafely…I even shock myself. Anger can pop up when we least expect, but as the Bible shows us, it’s part of human nature.

Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers. (Matthew 21:12)

Jesus was the Son of God but also human. Like us. He didn’t hold back when he threw the money changers out of the temple, reminding them that it was a house of prayer, not a “den of robbers.” His anger was justified, and ours can be too.

But here’s the lesson: Direct your anger constructively. Don’t take it out on someone who doesn’t deserve it.

How long, Lord? Will you be angry forever? How long will your jealousy burn like fire? (Psalm 79:5)

We often think prayers should be all sweetness and light. The psalmist reminds us that honesty is crucial.

Angry with someone? Tell God, even if your words are unseemly. Angry with God? Tell the Lord how you feel. Trusting him means trusting him with all your emotions, even the difficult ones.

Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry. (Ephesians 4:26)

I love this verse’s practicality. It’s hard to tell someone, especially a loved one, that they’ve hurt or upset you. But anger causes harm if suppressed. Think about the situation that provoked you, about the feelings underly­ing your anger. Then talk things through with the other person to achieve positive change.

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