Anger is a response to something that a person considers negative that has happened around them or to them. It is an emotion which has various levels of intensity and different responses.
People undergo changes in their personality when they get angry. They often are no longer in control, become irrational, and say or do things that they later regret.
Different Degrees of Anger
There are different words in the English language used to describe the different degrees of the emotion anger. Within each of these terms, there are also different degrees where they move from one term to another. For example, being very frustrated and getting upset are similar, and being very upset and starting to get mad are also similar.
I have come up with five different groups of words that represent five different levels of anger. 1) annoyance, frustration, and irritation, 2) cross, 3) angry or upset, 4) mad, and 5) rage or wrath.
As Christians, we are going to deal with minor irritation, frustrations, and annoyances in this life as long as we are in this body. But these feelings can be contained and controlled by the grace of God so that they do not advance into the realm of acting cross or being angry, upset, mad or going into a rage.
I would hold that irritation, frustration, annoyance and being cross are not sin, but getting mad and going into a rage is definitely sinful and should never be once named among those that profess the name of Christ.
Jesus displayed a righteous anger towards the Pharisees because of the hardness of their hearts (Mat 3:5), and began (Joh 2:15) and finished (Mar 11:15) his ministry by driving the money-changers out of the temple.
One of the qualifications of an overseer is that he is “not soon angry” (Tit 1:7). Jesus said that “whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment” (Mat 5:22). We are told as Christians to put away (Eph 4:31) and put off (Col 3:8) anger; and if we are angry to not sin (Eph 4:26), that we should be “slow to anger” (Jam 1:19 YLT).
Paul warns us that “fits of rage” (Gal 5:20 NIV) are one of the works of the flesh, and that “they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God” (Gal 5:21).
Some people are meek and mild by nature, and do not have much of a problem with anger even before they were converted. To others, this can be an area in their life that has been a weakness and they have had failures in this area even after being born again.
My Personal Experience
This area was a big weakness in my life, and I can testify by the grace of God and to the glory of Jesus that I have complete victory in this area of my Christian walk. There was a time in my life before I was converted that I would very quickly get upset and angry when things did not go my way. I would be verbally abusive toward others, or bang and kick things around.
Even after I was saved, I had to deal with strong temptations to get upset and often had to suppress strong feelings of annoyance, frustration, and irritation. I know what is is like to personally struggle with and suppress feelings of anger, but I am thankful that I have found complete victory in this area in my life.
After I received the baptism of the Holy Spirit, which purifies the heart from the sin nature (Act 15:9), all feelings of anger were completely eradicated, and I no longer have those feelings that I used to have to suppress.
I feel for those that have struggles in this area, and if we have spouses or Christian brothers and sisters that are struggling in these areas, we need to uphold them in prayer and exhort them to look to Jesus for complete victory.
Six Steps to Victory
1. Attitude Change – You must change your attitude towards whatever degree of anger you are dealing with in your life. You must reject the idea that this is a weakness or a sin that you will have to bear for the rest of your life, or you will not be able to get victory over it.
There is power in the name of Jesus to deliver and keep you from all sin and help you perfect holiness in the fear of God. God is able to make all grace abound toward you, and to help you grow in patience and meekness and have greater victory in your life.
Also, it is important to not overlook your conduct just because it may only happen once in awhile. The Christian graces you have are only as high as they are at your worse moment. You are only as spiritual as you are in your lowest conduct. What comes out of your life in the middle of your worst trial is what was there all along.
2. Flee to Christ – Whenever you start to feel irritated, frustrated, or annoyed, you must stop everything you are doing and go and pray. If you are at work, you should go and take a restroom break and pray there. Pray until you have the victory over these feelings.
You may need to take a break from what you are doing and come back to it later if you find the task annoying. The reason Christians get upset or angry is because they do not go to prayer and seek God for help, but keep on going in their own strength. This is where failure comes in.
3. Hearing and Following the Voice of God – You must learn to listen and hear the voice of God. He will be faithful to warn you that temptation is on its way and that you need to pray. You must make it a matter of prayer every day that God will help you to hear His quiet voice of warning. Then, when you hear it, you must heed it. How many times have you gotten into trouble by overriding the voice of the Lord?
4. More Faith Through Prayer and the Word – Anytime you have a lack in your Christian walk, you need more grace and faith. By reading the Word of God and seeking God in prayer, your faith will be increased.
You build faith by hearing the Word of God (Rom 10:17), and by praying in the Holy Spirit (Jud 1:20). It is by faith that you stand (2Cor 1:24; Rom 11:20), by faith that you have victory over the world (1Joh 5:4), by faith that you quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one (Eph 6:16), and you are kept by the power of God from sin through faith (1Pet 1:5).
5. Confession – Any actions of anger that you have expressed towards another person needs to be confessed first to God, and then to the person you expressed them toward. Immediately, when you realize you have acted in a way that is below the Gospel standard, go and pray and ask God to help you, empower you, and forgive you.
Pray until the feelings of anger go away. Cry out to God and plead the blood of Jesus. Then go to the person and humble yourself, taking all blame to yourself, and confess and ask for forgiveness. If they are a Christian, it may be in order to ask them to pray with you and for you. Let them know you take these things serious and that you are looking to Jesus for complete victory.
When you humble yourself in this way, the Word of God promises grace. “God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble (Jas 4:6). A commitment to ask others for forgiveness brings with it a shame factor that also helps you resist wrong attitudes and conduct.
6. Entire Sanctification - Anger is the result of the carnal nature. When we are saved, God gives us grace to suppress the carnal nature. In the work of entire sanctification (sanctify you entirely” 1The 5:23 NRSV), he removes the sinful nature and gives us a pure heart (Act 15:9). This is a very important step for the Christan.
Gal 5:19-21 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
Eph 4:26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:
Eph 4:31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:
Col 3:8 But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.
1Ti 2:8 I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.
Tit 1:7 For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not self-willed, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre;
Jas 1:19 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:
Jas 1:20 For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.
There are seven Greek words that are translated into anger, angry, and wrath in the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible. The following show the Greek work in the Greek font, transliteration to English characters, and the Strong’s number. Then it shows how the KJV of the Bible translates them and the number of times they are translated that way. The link takes you to the Blue Letter Bible lexicon, which provides further information and a list of all the scriptures where these words are found.
θυμός – thymos G2372 KJV – wrath 15, fierceness 2, indignation 1
ὀργή – orgē G2709 KJV – wrath 31, anger 3, vengeance 1, indignation 1
ὀργίλος – orgilos G3710 KJV – soon angry 1
ὀργίζω – orgizō G3711 KJV – be angry 5, be wroth 3
παροργίζω – parorgizō G3949 KJV – anger 1, provoke to wrath 1
παροργισμός – parorgismos G3950 KJV – wrath 1
χολάω – cholaō G5520 KJV – be angry 1