Anger and the Bible

My mother-in-law is a guidance counselor for an elementary school (2 of them actually). She runs an anger management group. Guess what the average age of the attendees is? KINDERGARTEN! Does the world need the Bible? I would say so.

When I first heard this, I began to search the Bible for scriptures about anger, and I noticed an over-abundance. As I list out some of the verses below, try to read them with an ear toward the action statements contained within the scriptures themselves. There is something that God requires us to do when it comes to the subject of anger.

Here are the scriptures I came across:

* Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret-it leads only to evil (Psalm 37:8)

* Do not say, "I'll pay you back for this wrong!" Wait for the LORD, and he will deliver you (Proverbs 20:22).

* Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21)

* But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips (Collossians 3:8)

* Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing (1 Peter 3:9)

Did you notice something? All of these scripture passages (and many more that I haven't listed here) require from us a choice. Words and phrases like, "refrain, do not, you must..." tell us that God wants us to manage how we handle anger. I think God is telling us that although you can have a gut reaction when you are offended or slighted, the amount of time we allow this anger to boil is up to us. How we deal with anger is an act of the will, not simply some automatic or animal instinct that we can't possibly control. We are active participants.

I personally hope those kindergarten kids come to grips with this truth someday, and someday soon. It will take a degree of maturity to grapple with this idea; that anger is controllable. Perhaps they didn't have parents that modeled this for them, or maybe they simply lead frustrating lives already. But one more thing - when I think of situations like this I must remember to ask myself, "where would I be without the Bible." And just as important: where are you, with regard to anger?



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