Anger: A Biblical Perspective

A proper response to anger can prompt life change and reconciliation with your spouse. To better understand our anger and what to do with it, we should turn to the Bible. The Bible is full of insights on anger with examples on how to manage it properly. As you read through the following verses, think about what makes you angry and how you are processing through it. Remember your goal should be oneness with your spouse, even when they are making you angry.

Anger is not a sin, but a God-given emotion

Anger is a signal that something is wrong and needs to be addressed. Sin and injustice are things we should be angry about because we serve a God that is just. It is important for couples to understand that their anger can be a gift if handled rightly.

“God is a righteous judge, and a God who feels indignation every day.” (Psalm 7:11)

“Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.” (Ephesians 4:25-27)

“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 1:19-20)

“And [Jesus] looked around at [the Pharisees] with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, and said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was restored.” (Mark 3:5)

Your response to anger can be sinful

Denying a wrong, becoming quick-tempered, raging, avenging the harms you’ve suffered, or holding onto resentments are all misuses of anger. When you find yourself responding in these ways with your spouse, you know that your anger has become sinful.

“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:31-32)

“…everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment…” (Matthew 5:22)

When feeling angry, pause to evaluate why, then ask God to help you respond biblically

Evaluate the circumstance, examine yourself, and take steps toward spiritual health. Spend time praying and reading your Bible if you need insight on how to respond well.

“…but for Cain and his offering [God] had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell. The Lord said to Cain, ‘Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door.’” (Genesis 4:5-6)

“Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.” (Proverbs 19:11)

Here are some questions to ask as you evaluate your anger:

  • Has there been injustice? Was there sin against you, another, or God? Before you look to your spouse, are you convicted about your own sin or how you have contributed? If so, begin to biblically address sin in you and in your spouse. (Matthew 18:15-17)
  • Are you hurt? Has your spouse hurt you or opened an old wound? Is your pride wounded or do you feel shame? Be honest with yourself and God about your pain, recall God’s forgiveness of you, and continue to take steps to forgive your spouse. (Colossians 3:12-13)
  • Are you afraid? Has something stirred up an insecurity? Do you feel threatened? Are you struggling to trust God? If so, confess your fear and lack of trust to God and begin to confront your idols. (Psalm 56:3) If you are unsafe or fear being harmed, immediately seek help.
  • Are you frustrated? Has your spouse failed in some way to meet your expectations? Have you yourself failed them? Examine whether your expectations are realistic and address how you may have sought significance or life apart from God. (Psalm 42:11)

Remember that God is good, loving, just, and in control

He knows your pain, frustration, and fears. He will avenge all sin. He is in control and can bring good out of even the messiest and angriest of marriages. Release your desire for payback or vengeance to him. Confess and repent of ways you’ve misused anger. Turn to walk in his purpose for you and seek to love your spouse.

“The Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is he.” (Deuteronomy 32:4)

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

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