Growing up, I lived in a home where anger prevailed in the midst of godless parents trying to survive in the mundane rat race of day-to-day life. In addition to the anger were many other negative attitudes that sealed the atmosphere of our home as one rooted in rage and anger. I lived this way, thinking nothing of it, until the tender age of 22, when I met my Savior Jesus Christ at a small church in my college town while attending Washington State University. It wasn’t until this day, September 13, 1998, that I began to realize how deeply anger was rooted in my heart. I will never forget standing at that altar in that church as the visiting Evangelist (Benny Perez) began to pray over those who were accepting Christ into their hearts. As he was praying, it was as if my entire life was on an old drive-in move screen – you know, the big old screens that we used to drive to watch movies in our cars? Yes, I saw my life on one of those. Every intimate detail, including all the times that Jesus reached His hand out to me – and I rejected Him. A pain unspeakable came over me as I was, for the very first time, seeing the true condition of my sin-filled heart.
Above all, my fondest memory from that day at the altar over 14 years ago is the happiness that I felt in my mind, body, and spirit. I had never felt any such thing in my life. And it was then, there at that altar, I knew that I would never go back to a life led by anger. Not ever.
In today’s world, there are so many invitations to become angry. From the driver who nearly ran you off the road, to the rude bagger at the grocery store huffing and puffing while they bag up your groceries, to your toddler yelling at you because they don’t want to do what they’re being asked to do. All day, every day we have a choice to make – will we allow anger to take root in our heart? Or will we refuse to give it place in our life?
For me, the choice is clear, but it’s not always easy. But over the years by choosing what’s right, one choice at a time, I have built up a great resistance to the sin of acting out in anger. I am not saying that I never get angry, but I am saying that it is a rare occasion that I do. This has happened by praying and confessing scriptures (thus building faith), renewing my mind by reading my Bible daily, worshiping God corporately and individually (and as a family), and having accountability in other Christian women God has blessed me with in my life.
Here are four scriptures that I pray and confess over my life and family that I make sure to keep anger out of my heart and God’s peace in my heart:
1. Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Ephesians 4:29
2. Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense. Proverbs 19:11
3. Know this, my beloved brothers: 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 1:19-2
4. Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil. Ephesians 4:26-27
Here are a few books that have helped me along my journey to put anger in it’s place – OUT of my heart!
Uprooting Anger: Biblical Help For a Common Problem
Letting Go of Anger: How to Get Your Emotions Under Control
Anger: Handling a Powerful Emotion in a Healthy Way
The Other Side of Love: Handling Anger in a Godly Way
Through prayer, renewing your mind by reading the Bible, worshiping God through music and actions, and having accountability with fellow Christian sisters, you will be able to overcome the temptation to be angry little by little each day. Even though it isn’t always the easy choice, it is the right one. Choose to allow God’s word to change your heart and allow His peace to replace any anger that has taken root in your heart. The beautiful thing about God is, He is always there when you need Him and He has already forgiven us and best of all: He LOVES us!