“An angry person stirs up conflict, and a hot-tempered person commits many sins.”
Proverbs 29:22 (NIV)
When you hear the word anger, what images come to mind? Maybe you think of a red face, squinted eyes, flaring nostrils, tight lips or a ferocious scowl accompanied by crossed arms or yelling? It’s interesting that flaring nostrils are an indicator of anger, because the Hebrew word for anger is aph, which means nostril, nose, face and anger.
Regardless of the images we associate with anger, the emotion itself is unpleasant and destructive. Without self-control, which is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:23), we will always have trouble controlling our anger because anger is a secondary emotion rooted in our lack of patience, peace, and joy, all of which are a fruit of the Spirit.
If you struggle with anger, or being hot-tempered as Proverbs 29:22 describes, consider those things that make you angry. There is always a root cause to your anger. Because anger often comes quickly and we often speak and act immediately on it instead of thinking things through first, it is important to consider what situations bring out our anger ahead of time. Why do these situations make us angry? What is the primary emotion behind our anger? When we can answer these questions, we will learn better how to control our anger, which spares us from conflict and sin.
Many verses encourage us to be slow to anger:
Proverbs 15:18: “A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger calms dispute.”
James 1:19: “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.”
It’s easy to say, “I’ll do better next time” when we blow up over a situation, but the only way we can truly do better is to discover what stirs up our anger and pray for God’s Holy Spirit to heal us so that we may be slow to anger and show gentleness in our responses to others.