What does the Bible say about overcoming anger?
I recently purchased a computer program which was supposed to help make graphic design super easy. Since I am a Bible teacher and writer at heart, I thought this would be a great purchase to help me in my blogging. Boy was I wrong.
The tutorial video on how to start a new document was five minutes long all by itself . . . just to open a new document! The guy teaching the video sounded really smart, but also like he rarely interacted with normal people. A few hours into trying to learn this program, I was really frustrated, annoyed, and just plain mad. While wasting my money and time was certainly adding to my emotions, the thing that most fueled my anger was my lack of understanding.
What Does the Bible Say About Overcoming Anger? Anger is Rooted in a Lack of Understanding
The Bible explains a lack of understanding is deeply connected to sinful anger. As I’m sure you’ve experienced, misunderstanding someone usually leads to frustration. We don’t naturally like people we don’t understand. And on the flip side, we usually become great friends with those people we “get.” We like people who are like us because we can understand people who are like us. Different often translates to distrust, and a lack of trust only adds to being justified in our anger.
Notice the connection between understanding and anger found in Bible passages like Proverbs 14:29, “Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly,” and Proverbs 17:27, “Whoever restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.”
These Bible verses imply that the more understanding someone has, the calmer they will be. And on the flip side, the less understanding someone has, the more their temper will rule over them. These Bible verses are not saying a lack of anger is the cause of understanding, but rather a lack of understanding is a cause of anger.
What Does the Bible Say About Overcoming Anger? The More You Understand Someone, The More Understanding You Will Be Towards Them
Notice how angry the Pharisees where at Jesus, the guy who spoke in parables and talked about the Scriptures in a totally different way, “When Jesus went outside, the Pharisees and the teachers of the law began to oppose him fiercely and to besiege him with questions, waiting to catch him in something he might say” (Luke 11:53-54). Notice they opposed him “fiercely,” attacking him with “questions.” Again, the Pharisees are showing the link between a lack of understanding and anger.
Matthew 15:12-14 states, “Then the disciples came to him and asked, ‘Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this?’ [Jesus] replied, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots. Leave them; they are blind guides. If the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.” The Pharisees where offended by Jesus because they were blind to his teaching, blind to the truth he was proclaiming. They just didn’t understand this guy, and so they tried to kill him.
What Does the Bible Say About Overcoming Anger? Jesus Understands Everyone and Everything
Jesus understands us completely, perhaps this is one of the reasons we cannot frustrate him like we do to those who don’t understand us. Jesus is the most understanding, wise, and loving person ever because he is God and man, having the knowledge of God and the experience of a man (Hebrews 4:15). Jesus has lived it all, knows it all, and therefore has an understanding of all – which only adds to his ability to love all.
Therefore, if we hope to overcome our anger and love like Jesus, we must seek spiritual understanding like Jesus.