Slow To Anger
We all have one in our family, either immediate or extended. Or, maybe they are one of your best friends? Possibly an acquaintance? You know, the quick-tempered, easily- angered, get- mad- at- everything kind of person. Most everyone knows someone who exhibits that kind of temperament. They are known to be impulsive and can lash out rather quickly. Even the smallest disturbance or inconvenience can cause a major upheaval. However, according to the Bible, we are to be “slow” to anger and not quick-tempered. For some people, this is a struggle. Meaning, catching oneself before getting angry is tough to do. It takes restraint, focus, discernment, and most of all, God’s help.
There are several self-destructive things that will damage our lives if we’re not self-controlled.
The book of Proverbs encourages people to gain wisdom, specifically Godly wisdom. In doing so, a person will avoid being reckless and foolish. Proverbs 14:29 says, “Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly.” According to this verse, a person will exhibit strength and character by being “slow to anger,” as opposed to “flying off the handle.” Max Anders writes, “ There are several self-destructive things that will damage our lives if we’re not self-controlled… First is acting on impulse…Second is anger, which unleashes a torrent of harmful consequences if not brought under dominion.”
When a person loses themselves in a fit of anger, they do not exhibit the maturity that is desired or wanted. In addition, Proverbs 15:18 says, “A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger quiets contention.” According to this verse, the person who is slow to anger helps to “diffuse a situation.” They are able to think clearly and make God-honoring responses and decisions. In other words, they help to “bring the temperature down” in a given situation. In comparison, a person might engage in a fit of anger, possibly saying things that are not true, hurt someone’s feelings, and consequently, definitely lose credibility. This person only compounds the frustration and tension of a situation. John Phillips writes, “Nine times out of ten, a ‘short fuse’ is no asset. Quick-tempered people lose many friends and frequently land in hot water.” Our fast temper can lead straight to serious trouble.
In the New Testament, James 1:19 exhorts people to be slow about getting angry. James states, “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger.” Notice in the verse that James is not telling people not to be angry, for this is a place for righteous anger, rather, his warning is to be “slow to anger.” Janet Thompson writes, “Anger shouldn’t be an instant go-to response.” To best conquer any anger issues, God’s help will be vital.
Those who struggle with any type of anger can take some practical steps to help. For starters, if a person has a severe case of anger management, talking with a counselor would be a great first step. The counselor will be able to give some tools that will help for sure. Next, being able to take a break, meaning removing oneself from a conversation or situation, may help to diffuse a “potential” problem. In addition, learning how to respond when things go awry is helpful and takes time, not to mention also requires accountability. However, spending time with God is the uttermost important thing a person can do, no matter what problems one has. When this happens, a person will be able to focus on God through prayer and the study of God’s Word. In a similar fashion, after a person has spent time with God, talking with someone about the situation may help to “build in” some tools that will help be slow to anger. For example, a friend who is a “prayer warrior” may be able to offer some advice. Lastly, as mentioned earlier, spending time with God in prayer and Bible study is essential. When we do this, we can cast all our problems and anxiety on God because He cares for us ( 1 Peter 5:7).
Bible Verses Confronting Anger
Proverbs 14:29 – Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding,
but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly.
Proverbs 29:11 – A fool gives full vent to his spirit,
but a wise man quietly holds it back.
Proverbs 29:22 – A man of wrath stirs up strife,
and one given to anger causes much transgression.
Ecclesiastes 7:9 – Be not quick in your spirit to become angry,
for anger lodges in the heart of fools.
Old Testament Commentary on Proverbs by Max Anders
Proverbs A Commentary by John Phillips
How Can I Be “Slow to Anger” in Today’s World? by Janet Thompson