Lord's Day Liturgy

The Anger Trap

This is the seventh (and last) exhortation to put off anger. Anger is a work of the flesh, and when anger is selfish, which it usually is, it is always sinful. If you are angry, put off anger before it kills your joy and every relationship you claim you care about.

What if you are friends with an angry man? What if you are married to an angry woman, or man? What if your mom/dad is regularly mad?

I won’t be able to give a complete or convenient set of “tips,” and not everything applies in every relationship. But the Bible gives some general help.

Avoid becoming friends with the angry. If possible, don’t associate with those who won’t control their temper. It’s not just that you’ll have to bear the brunt, it’s that you will join in. Anger is a snare.

Make no friendship with a man given to anger,
nor go with a wrathful man,
lest you learn his ways
and entangle yourself in a snare.
(Proverbs 22:24–25 ESV)

You may have overlooked that when you made marriage vows. Now you are covenanted to an angry spouse. Anger by itself is not a reason for divorce, even if it is likely to lead to other sins of division. What can you do?

Pray. God grants repentance and softened hearts, yes, and pray that you will not get caught up in the snare of anger. Pray that God will not remove the burning desire for true fellowship from you.

Be patient. Put on patience (Colossians 3:12). You have sins, you know often sanctification is slow. Be thankful for signs of grace, small as they may be along the way.

Show compassion. You know that an angry man isn’t actually feeling good even if he thinks venting will feel better. That’s a fool’s hope. While your responsibility isn’t really to “absorb” it, by God’s Spirit you can show a better way. Let your supernatural patience and joy be evident. At first that will probably make the other person more mad, and watch for such signs.

At some point you may need to get help. Talk to a pastor. While it can be humbling to expose a mess, that is better than letting the mess get worse.

And don’t put on anger; don’t fight anger fights with anger.