How do believers manage their anger? We are supposed to be the model of patience and love and yet often our emotions overwhelm us and we lost control. I’ve often failed miserably to control my anger and hurt those around me in various ways. This is a true way to destroy our testimony with the world at large and more importantly with those in the church and those we love in our homes. Yet, I’d often excuse myself saying that I was just venting. Everyone needs to vent. I still believe this is true. But venting should never be done towards those with whom we are angry. Venting for ventilation sake might make me feel good for the moment, but it will never bring about what we want. James teaches us “let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God” (James 1:19-20).

King David was probably one of the best leaders in the world. He led powerfully by example as well. One of the best examples he left us was how to manage our anger. There are a whole collection of Psalms known as the “Imprecatory Psalms.” In these Psalms, David calls out to God and vents all his anger. He pleads for God to bring justice on his enemies. He even gives specific detail as to how God might do that; smashing them against rocks, rotting their flesh, infecting them with disease, etc. These Psalms are often misunderstood and used by non-believers to discredit the scriptures. But these Psalms teach us that God is always there for us to vent our anger. Doing that with Him is the right way. It’s never right to do it to others, especially those with whom we even have every right to be angry with. David’s example was one that left vengeance to God. We see that in the way he responded to Saul’s attempts to kill him. In 2 Samuel 16 we read the story of Shimei who cursed David as he fled from his own son who wanted to kill him. When his soldiers wanted to kill Shimei, David wouldn’t let them. He said God will be in charge of things like this.

Effective anger management then requires that I vent, when I feel I must, to God first. Then I must trust in His hands the administration of justice in His good time. I’ve struggled in this area my entire life but never more profoundly that since I’ve become a Christian. It’s so important to me now because I know that if I’m not the kind of husband God wants me to be, and father, and Christian and pastor, that will make me very angry!

“Be angry and do not sin…” Ephesians 4:26