Is anger a sin? No, anger itself is not wrong. The Bible says, “In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold” (Ephesians 4:26-27, NIV). Although anger is not a sin, it’s a signal that calls you to action. It alerts you that something is wrong, and it gives you a desire to respond. Sometimes our response results in a sinful reaction. You’ll need to first look at the root cause of your anger.
Root Causes of Anger
Hurt is a root cause of anger. If someone hurts you, you get angry. Let’s say your significant other was having an affair. How would you respond? No doubt you’d feel hurt, then it would quickly turn to anger. It would not be unusual for you to be filled with rage at being betrayed by someone you trusted. Because you are human, it’s natural to protect yourself from hurt. It is an emotional response to stop your hurt and pain from continuing.
Another root cause of anger is fear. It could be a fear for your life or social fears. It could be a fear of embarrassment, failure, or rejection that leads you to feel angry. Or perhaps it’s the fear of abandonment that can manifest as anger in a dating or marriage relationship. Your mind goes from feeling afraid to becoming angry to cope with fear.
Finally, injustice is another root cause of anger. When an injustice happens, anger rises within you. If left undealt with, anger can lead to physical symptoms like high blood pressure and digestive problems, emotional symptoms like anxiety and depression, and relationship problems like jealousy or criticism. You don’t need anger managed; instead, you need to learn how to process the situation and seek a healthy solution.
Solutions to Anger
Anger signals you to act. Here are three solutions to anger.
First, pause for a moment. Take a breath. It’s easy to do something you might regret when your anger is at an all-time high. Instead, take a few minutes to pause until you are calmer. Pay close attention to your body language and where you are feeling the anger. It may be necessary for you to go for a walk or sit alone until your pulse is calm and steady, breathing is slowed down, voice is back to normal, and body is not trembling.
Second, speak up. After you pause, you may be calm enough that you have decided to let things go. But if you still feel bitter, resentful, or depressed, it is a signal that you need to speak up. Find a time when you are calmed down to speak to the person who has hurt you. Then, when you do address the issue with them, try using “I” statements. You can say, “I felt hurt when you . . .” Make sure you listen to their side of the story.
Third, reflect. Has your anger become a pattern? One of the most helpful things you can do is to address how anger has impacted your life. A therapist can help you take the next best step. They will help you address past hurts such as childhood trauma and will help you heal from uncontrollable anger, bitterness, resentment, and unforgiveness.
Your anger is a signal that you should be listening to and moving toward a solution. It may be a message that you are hurt, afraid, or that someone has committed an injustice against you or your loved ones. Anger is something you feel, and it happens for a reason.
For further help, listen to our perspective CD with Steve Arterburn and Dr. Dave Stoop “Understanding Anger.” Call 800-639-5433 or visit newlife.com for this resource. If you need to speak with a counselor, we can connect you with one in your area.