Proverbs 29:11 “A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control.”
In dealing with anger the question that comes up is: How do we handle anger?
Many people today in our culture handle anger in a negative way. What I mean is that they handle it by denying it. They deny that they are angry and pretend to be at peace. Here in the Western world we live in a culture saturated with denial. I am not an alcoholic; I am not a drug addict, I am not abusive to my wife, I am not angry with you, etc., even when the evidence is completely the opposite.
Another way a person handles anger in a negative way is to attack something or someone else. Our culture teaches us to pass the blame. I was reading an article where an FBI agent was fired because he embezzled $2,000.00 to pay for his gambling debt. He went to court and successfully argued that his gambling problem was due to something else in his life. He was excused and had to be reinstated back into the FBI.
However, this is the way that many people handle anger. They attack someone else by blaming others, like their wife, children, parents, colleagues or their circumstances. We find that most people do not take the blame for their own actions.
Another negative way of dealing with anger is to turn in upon ourselves. This leads to self-criticism and sometimes suicide. I used to have a little talking doll in my office with the saddest and most pathetic face and when I said something it would respond through sentences that were stored up inside of the doll, like: “I am a disease. I make myself sick…” This is one way we learn to be angry with ourselves to the point of hurting ourselves or ending our life.
Withdrawal is another negative way to respond to anger. This is probably the way a person who has the tendency to implode responds to anger: he withdraws.
What we need to do with anger is to respond to it in a positive way. This means that we will attack the problem and not the person; that we will see the circumstance as an opportunity; etc. Remember that anger is sinful when it is directed towards others in order to hurt them. When anger comes up we need to see what the problem is and identify what is really making us angry or fearful.
Along with that we must also learn to control our anger. Proverbs gives us some good advice. Proverbs 16:32 “Better a patient man than a warrior; a man who controls his temper than one who takes a city.” Proverbs 25:28 “Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control.” Patience and self-control are fruits of the Spirit and they are powerful.
In our relationships we must always be moving towards reconciliation. When reconciliation is done in a biblical way this is the right solution to the problem. Reconciliation comes when we see what the real problem is.Working through the problem with another person makes us slow to get angry.
Jay Adams said: “90% of counseling has its roots in anger. Along with the sad and the bad we should look out for the mad.”