The slow-to-anger verse in the Bible reminds us of the characters of God – gracious, compassionate, slow to anger, and rich in love.
We all felt it at least one time in our lives. We all understand the heat that seems to be consuming us. Maybe we remember clenching our fists to prevent ourselves from doing something we know we will regret.
Anger can be so hard to control or manage. What does the Bible say about anger?
What Does the Slow to Anger Verse Mean?
The epistle of James was addressed to the Twelve Tribes scattered among the nations. Bible scholars believe he was writing to fellow Jewish Christians that were scattered to other areas. These Jewish Christians were believed to be suffering from trials and persecution.
In his greeting, James told the Christians to consider it pure joy whenever they experience trials. Despite the trials, James was giving them instructions on how to practically display their faith in all aspects of their life.
As we mature, we get to know ourselves better and know how to handle our anger. Yet, there are days when it seems like handling anger seems harder or even impossible.
What Does the Bible Say About Anger?
It is not a sin (Ephesians 4:26-27)
Anger is not necessarily a sin. What we do when we get angry is what we should be concerned about. When we get angry, we can hurt others in so many ways. We are capable of hurting people physically, or we can hurl hurtful words at them and hurt them that way.
Hurting our neighbors is a sin. It can also ruin relationships, or put a strain on them. Our anger can distance us from those that we care about. The worst thing is, it can allow the enemy to come in.
Choose gentle words (Proverbs 15:1)
A lot of things in the world are contagious. Anger is one of those things. The Bible acknowledges that. Most of the time, when someone gets angry and starts yelling at people, someone else would get angry and start yelling too.
We should not only guard ourselves against our anger. We should also guard against other people’s anger. We should know how to keep ourselves from responding negatively to other people’s outbursts.
Control your Anger (Proverbs 14:17)
When we get angry, we tend not to think rationally. We do foolish things. When we have trouble controlling our anger, when it happens again and again, people might not stick around. If it keeps happening we might find ourselves with no one to turn to.
Never take revenge (Romans 12:19)
At times, our anger stems from something bad that other people did. It would not be surprising if our immediate reaction is to get angry. But sometimes, anger leads us to want to take revenge. We want to hurt them too. But God wants us to pause and entrust everything to Him. He is just. He loves us and He will avenge us.
Read the scriptures (Proverbs 30:33)
Proverbs has a wealth of wisdom. It tells us a lot about anger. It tells us that dwelling on our anger does not produce anything good. Prioritizing anger over other people’s feelings would cause strife.
What Does the Bible Say About God’s Anger?
The Bible teaches us about managing our anger. But does God get angry too? Let’s find out.
God does get angry. We can read a lot of records of God’s anger in the Bible. God’s anger is not borne out of spite. His anger is a response to sin. He is God. He cannot co-exist with sin. God’s anger is directed toward our sins.
He loves us. He gets sad when we sin. He gets frustrated and disappointed but His anger is directed at our sins and our actions. God’s anger is not irrational nor unpredictable. God’s anger is just.
Ever felt angry when you witness injustice or oppression? That is likely the closest comparison or description we can come to understand God’s anger. He is angry that bad things happen because of our actions.
Which Bible characters struggled with anger
King Saul struggled with anger and a lot of other different issues. He wanted so badly to remain on his throne even after God’s favor has left him and was given to David. King Saul saw David as a competition and tried to kill David so many times. It did not do him any good. He became miserable until his last day.
Jacob’s older sons were jealous of Joseph. Pretty soon their jealousy turned to anger. This led them to plot to kill their brother. It is only through Reuben’s intervention that this did not come to fruition. They did not let their brother go, though. Instead, they sold Joseph to slave traders to become a slave in Egypt.
There was also Haman. He took great pride in his high position in the Persian kingdom. Each time he would pass by, people will bow. Only one man refused to do so. It was Mordecai. Mordecai was a Jew. Haman’s anger was so intense he convinced the king to let him execute Jews. This ended with Haman being the only one who got executed.
These are only some of the people who struggled with anger in the Bible. There are so many more. But we must keep in mind that these stories rarely have happy endings. Once they let their anger control their lives, things go downhill.
How is God’s Anger Different From Our Anger?
So is God’s anger like ours? No. To see the difference between human anger and God’s anger, let us look at what the Bible says about God’s anger.
God wants to remove the sin and restore the sinner
God’s anger does not come out of the blue. God’s anger is provoked. God’s anger is not part of His nature. Love is part of God’s nature. Anger, on the other hand, is brought about by a situation. (Romans 1:18)
God’s angry judgment of those who reject Him
Anger might not be part of God’s nature. He may not focus His anger on people but on their sins, however, it does not mean that there will be no consequences to our sins. God is forgiving and patient but actions have consequences. (John 3:36)
God allows these consequences to happen to help us grow and learn so we do not do it again. Sin is self-destructive anyway. Every single sin we do will cost us. God wants to teach us to not make a habit of it.
God is slow to anger
God never rushes to anger (Psalm 145:8). He is also just. He will not let the guilty be unpunished (Numbers 14:18). Unlike human anger, God’s anger will never be unfair to anyone.
How to be Slow to Anger the Christian Way
The key to handling anger as a Christian can be found in James 1:19-20. James is telling us we must be quick to listen. Listening can be powerful beyond our imagination. We can learn so much by listening. Try to pause and listen. By listening, we might learn the cause and the root, and it will help us understand the situation better.
We should also be slow to speak. It is hard to listen when you are speaking. Stop speaking. It could also be hard to control and pick our words when we are angry. We might say things that could ruin relationships and drive those we are meant to help further away. The path to being slow to anger is to slow down, observe, and listen.
Are Christians never allowed to be angry
We might not enjoy getting angry. There might be things that happened when we were angry that we regret deeply. So why did God give us anger in the first place? God loves us, right? Why would He give us something so unstable, something so hard to control that could ruin our lives and other people’s lives as well?
We must take note that James did not tell Christians to never be angry. James taught us that we should be slow to anger. Human anger might be different from God’s, but our anger can be like that of His. We can be angry at injustices, at sin. But like God, our anger should be just and should be directed towards the sin and not the person.
Jesus got angry when He saw that people turned the temple into a marketplace. It is believed that they even occupied a portion of the Temple itself for their business. Imagine the chaos. No one would be able to focus on their worship. This is where Jesus’ anger came in. He made a whip and drove the animals away. He overturned tables. He told the pigeon vendors to take the birds away. Notice anything important? Jesus got angry but He did not hurt anyone.
Sure, Jesus’ actions affected the livelihood of those people but one can argue that what happened to them is a consequence of their actions or even wrongdoing. Jesus even said in Matthew 21:12-17 that people have turned the Temple into a den of thieves. One can argue further that it was just right to stop those vendors because, on top of everything, they are ripping people off.
This is the kind of anger that can be beneficial to the world. Sin must not be tolerated. But we shouldn’t be jumping to anger at the slightest sign of sin. We must learn how to listen, and how to respond properly, and at times when we do get angry, we must know how to control it.
Is getting mad at God a sin
More often than not, we are not feeling anger at God. We get angry for things that we think He should do but doesn’t and for things that we think He shouldn’t do but does. It is not really about God’s nature but God’s actions or inaction.
What do we do when we feel anger that seems to be directed at God? Psalm 139:1-2 says that God knows our thoughts. He knows everything about us. He knows about our anger. It might be best if we follow the examples of Moses and those before us. Let us be honest with God about it.
He knows about it anyway. Let us tell Him that we are angry and why. Who knows? Maybe it is the first and biggest step towards overcoming our anger.
What are the consequences of anger?
Anger branches out. It can prevent us from following God. If we dream of bringing people closer to God, but our anger continually drives them away, we might fail in our endeavor.
Anger is contagious. Anger can also block the way to forgiveness. Forgiveness is one of the things that Jesus put a lot of emphasis on when He was here on earth. He prayed for forgiveness for those who crucified Him. Our anger might prevent us in our journey to be more like Christ.
5 Popular Bible Verses About Being Slow to Anger
When we give in to anger, it does not end well. It might lead us to sin, or worse, it might lead others to sin.
Anger can be destructive. Let us avoid the company of those who are prone to anger or be sure not to be caught up in their anger. Our anger is already hard to manage. If we add another person’s anger to it, managing it might be next to impossible.
Conquering our anger can often prove to be a bigger feat than conquering a city.
The “bone” that is mentioned here pertains to the stubbornness and roughness in people’s minds. When we encounter resistance instead of feeling frustrated or angry, let us be patient and gentle and see how well it works.
We must hold our tongue when we feel angry. We must control our thoughts because once words have been spoken, they can never be taken back.
5 Bible Verses About Anger
“Hatred stirs up quarrels, but love makes up for all offenses.”
“But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language.”
“Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against a fellow Israelite, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.”
“For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime! Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.”
“He did not retaliate when he was insulted, nor threaten revenge when he suffered. He left his case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly.”
5 Bible Verses for Kids to Memorize about Anger
“But you, O Lord, are a God of compassion and mercy, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness.”
“Stop being angry! Turn from your rage! Do not lose your temper—it only leads to harm.”
“A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare.”
“And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry.”
“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.”
Prayers to Help Christians Be Slow to Anger
The best prayer is one that comes from the heart. Yet, at times, words fail us. Here are some examples of prayer we can use to address our anger:
Father, you promised us peace that comes from you. Right now, I need this peace. I cannot defeat this anger on my own. It is too much. Please help me reign it in. Please help me understand. I do not want to sin and I do not want to hurt the people around me. Help me, succeed, Lord. In your name, Amen.
Lord, this anger is weighing down on me. I cannot think clearly. I can feel it burning inside me. I do not want to be defeated by my anger. Please help me see the beauty that surrounds me. Help me learn to let go and forgive. I know that I cannot do it on my own. This all feels heavy. Please help me find a release. In your name, Amen.
As King David prayed to you before, I ask for a clean heart, Lord. Right now my mind and my heart are both full of darkness. Help me overcome this, Father. Remove this anger in me and fill me with love and thanksgiving. In your name, Amen.
Anger can be terrifying in its power. We might have bottled up our anger for so long and we are about to burst and we are scared of what we can do when that happens. God understands. Give it to Him. He is all-powerful and all-knowing. He knows what to do with it. Learn to surrender. Pray for peace and let God’s love fill you.
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