I routinely field phone calls from individuals looking for court mandated anger management programs and my answer is always the same–I don’t do them. Why? Because they don’t work! Managing anger is not a Biblical approach. The Bible calls anger sin. Therefore reducing the frequency and/or intensity is not enough, instead I encourage people to eradicate their anger. Please hear me clearly, if you are under a court order to seek anger management, my approach will not fulfill that requirement. There are multiple options in Fort Myers and Lee county for meeting this requirement and the court should provide you with a list. However, if you find yourself struggling with anger, I would encourage you to consider the following passages from the Bible.
“A fool gives full vent to his spirit,but a wise man quietly holds it back.” Proverbs 29:11
One of the perils of our culture today is the belief that we should be able to say whatever we want, whenever we want, however we want, and to whomever we want. This is man’s word, that we should give full vent to our spirit. However, God’s Word offers a glaring alternative–that if we are wise, we will be quiet and restrain our spirits.
“A man of quick temper acts foolishly, and a man of evil devices is hated.” Proverbs 14:17
It has been said, “speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret.” Whether it be speaking harsh words, making poor decisions, or even acting out violently, the actions of anger are foolish and will soon be regretted. When the feelings of anger arise it would be much more beneficial to quietly excuse oneself from the situation until cooler heads prevail.
“A man of wrath stirs up strife, and one given to anger causes much transgression.” Proverbs 29:22
Will Rogers was quoted as saying, “people who fly into a rage always make a bad landing.” Many otherwise sane individuals have committed grievous sins because they were angry. Be it the man who violently strikes another individual, the parent who handles their children roughly, the spouse who launches verbal assaults on their mate, or the employee who blasts their boss, many problems are stirred up because of anger. I often ask my clients, “do people actually listen to you when you’re angry with them?” The honest answer is “no.” When you are angry and approach another individual, their reaction is going to be defensive. When we consider the consequences of anger we realize that Einstein was right when he said, “Anger dwells only in the bosom of fools.”
“Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger.” Ephesians 4:26
How can we be angry and yet avoid sin? In order to answer this question, we must distinguish between the feeling of anger and the action of anger. The feeling of anger is often unavoidable. Events of life are going to produce many different emotions, one of which is anger. However, we must recognize that anger is a secondary emotion and is ALWAYS blocking other emotions. We must learn to take captive the feeling of anger and identify other emotions so that we can avoid the action of anger.
Consider these passages:
”When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.” Galatians 5:19-21
“Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:31-32
”But now you must also put away all the following: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and filthy language from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old self with its practices.” Colossians 3:8-9
The Bible is clear, anger is SIN! We must stop excusing sin as something that we must simply learn to manage. At Abundant Life Christian Counseling we teach our clients the truth of the Bible and how to eliminate anger altogether. Anger is often a difficult sin to conquer but remember, with God, “all things are possible.”