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Where Do Hatred, Rage, and Violence Fit in Our Lives As Believers in Christ?

 

Ladies,

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet (or peaceful) spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. I Peter 3:3-4

Please do keep in mind – there are times when we will feel angry. Feeling angry is not sin in and of itself and there is such a thing as righteous anger. There are times we need to confront others when they sin against us. Expressing the fear or pain behind our anger can be really important. We can even express our anger itself without sinning – the thing to watch for is when the anger slips into sinful anger or we hold on to the anger for too long and become resentful, bitter, or hateful. If we are seeking to hurt the other person, that is a sign we are involved in sinful anger. 

SOME BASICS ABOUT THE HOLY LIFE TO WHICH GOD CALLS ALL BELIEVERS IN CHRIST:

God desires all of us to receive Christ as Savior and LORD of our lives and to live in victory over sin. God calls “sin” anything that would hurt our relationship with Him, or that would hurt us or others.

Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife, and in striking each other with wicked fists. You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high. Isaiah 58:4

The Lord tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence. Psalm 11:5

Not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. I Timothy 3:3 (qualifications for a man who is to be a leader in the church) 

  • He gives us the example and definition of love in how He loves us unconditionally. This is how we are to love others.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

  • He commands us to love each other and He measures our love for Him by the way we love other people. 

We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister. 1 John 4:19-20

“The King (God) will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'” Matthew 25:40

  • God commands believers not to take revenge when they have been wronged because that is His responsibility. We are to overcome evil with good.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse… Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil… If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:14, 17-21

  • God commands believers not to argue, complain, quarrel, or fight. 

Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil… 2 Timothy 2:23-24

It is an honor for a man to keep aloof from strife, but every fool will be quarreling. Proverbs 20:3

“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire. Matthew 5:21-22

What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. James 4:1-3

  • Pride says that we are above other people or we are above or equal to God – and when we believe our pride, we can justify any other sin. When we crucify our pride with Christ, we are free to live humbly before God and we see ourselves in proper relationship to God and to other people.

Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the Lord; be assured, he will not go unpunished. Proverbs 16:5

Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. Proverbs 16:18

“God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6

  • God calls followers of Christ to be gentle with everyone.

To speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. Titus 3:2

But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect… 1 Peter 3:15

But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. James 3:17

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

With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love… Ephesians 4:2

Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Philippians 4:5

WHAT DO I DO IF I HAVE MESSED UP?

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. James 4:7-10

Let God know you can’t do this on your own and you desperately need His power to walk in holiness and obedience to Him!

THE OLD HAS GONE AWAY, ALL THINGS ARE MADE NEW:

  • Believers in Christ are to live as though we are dead to sin and this world and alive to God through Christ (Romans 6:3-14).
  • We are to not allow the sinful flesh to rule in our lives anymore, but we are to be filled with God’s Spirit and live in the power of His Spirit at all times (Galatians 5:13-25).

We will be talking about living in victory over hatred, anger, rage, and violence in the next post.

YOU CAN HAVE A SAVING RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS CHRIST AND HE CAN RADICALLY CHANGE YOUR HEART AND LIFE!

SHARE:

If God has empowered you to overcome hatred, sinful anger, rage, or violence, please share your story with us. I may even ask you if I can share it anonymously as a post.

NOTE – This post is written to help those struggling themselves with hatred, sinful anger, rage, and/or violence.

  • If you are not safe because of your spouse’s violence or rage – please safely reach out for appropriate help if you or your children are in danger. (Some resources may be – Focus Ministries, The Salvation Army, National Hotline for Domestic Violence – please evaluate everything any person says in the light of Scripture.)
  • Also, please reach out for help if you believe that your husband and/or children are not safe with you because you struggle with rage or violence. You may need to separate from others until you know that you are able to control any rage/violence. Celebrate Recovery may be able to help you find God’s victory over rage. Or please seek a trusted godly counselor to help you one-on-one ASAP!

RESOURCES:

Absolute Surrender by Andrew Murray – explains how to give up all of self so that God may fill us with His holy power and victory daily. This is a link to a free download of the book.

Righteous Anger VS Sinful Anger

Confronting Our Husbands about Their Sin

Verses on anger to study and memorize this week in your quiet time with God.

Verses about quarreling

Verses about violence

Verses about pride

Verses about humility

Verses about gentleness

Verses about fools

Verses about dying to self

How to Respond to Rebukes and Insults

Nina Roesner has an e-course for women in very difficult marriages – Becoming a Woman of Strength and Dignity

 

Killing Anger by John Piper

32 thoughts on “Where Do Hatred, Rage, and Violence Fit in Our Lives As Believers in Christ?

  1. Amen! Kindness matters. A heart full of anger and bitterness won’t have enough room for Christ’s love. Our culture is filled with a lot of conflict and sometimes gender wars between men and women. In the midst of all that however, there are men and women who have forgiven absolute atrocities, who have allowed Christ’s mercy and healing to repair those wounds and to replace what was lost ten fold. “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”

    1. insanitybytes22,

      I think it can be helpful to realize that we must choose sinful anger and bitterness or Christ. We can’t have both. That helped me, anyway, as God revealed my bitterness to me and I had to face giving it up.

      What stark contrast there is between the wisdom of the world and the wisdom of God. Love it!

  2. This post came at the perfect time. Recently, I have been battling through some of these bad habits. Especially complaining. And I have felt for a while that I haven’t been the best me possible. And I have fallen bad. I feel bad but my flesh fights me. Now I feel even worse because I feel at times I’ll never be able to overcome this. I had been very pessimistic and negative lately. I just feel like that’s my first instinct and how it’s always been. Like they say I’m a realist. But I know thats not good either. I have my down moments and this is one of them. Not proud of myself at all. Feeling like a failure actually.

    1. Kat,

      These scriptures really are encouraging, aren’t they? But remember that we are ALL imperfect in our efforts to achieve God’s perfect standards, so please don’t be overly hard on yourself. Know that our Father knows each of us intimately and appreciates every effort you make to please him. April suggested something that really helps me when I’m feeling down, to make a list of your blessings, your strengths, what you appreciate. When I did, it helped put my distress over other things–including my own wrong thinking and reaction to my husband’s “sins”–in perspective. Instead of only seeing the negative, I began to see, focus upon, and appreciate even more all the positives in my life. It had a calming effect, and thinking in a balanced way became much easier. I tend to be a “realist” too, but have come to realize that “whatever you water grows.” This doesn’t mean denial, it means focusing on whatever is good, true, and virtuous (Phil. 4:8) so negative thinking won’t have a chance to shroud our lives with misery. I hope this helps a little today. Sending you much love and a big hug, my sister!

    2. Kat,

      Yes, this is a spiritual battle that rages for all of us. None of us can overcome this in our own strength. It is only the power of Christ in us that can do this. But He is more than able. 🙂
      You may want to check out – <em>A Challenge for You, Ladies about not complaining.

      And you may want to also read this post about taking our thoughts captive.

      Pessimism and negativity do come naturally to our sinful nature. But that old sinful self is crucified with Christ, dead, and buried, if we are in Christ! WOOHOO! Now, we can learn to allow God’s nature to shine through us as we focus on Philippians 4:8 things and submit completely to Christ as Lord.

      When we realize we are failures, we are able to humble ourselves before God and understand that we are 100% dependent on Him to do any good in us. We have NOTHING good in us. All self-effort is futile and destructive.

      The book Absolute Surrender, that I have a link to in this post, would be a great place to start.

      Much love! 🙂

  3. Thank you. I commented on another post about my husband reacting in rage when I finally found courage to apologize for an ongoing issue that was my fault. He’s still very bitter and unforgiving. It’s a pattern with him, not just toward me but toward his mom and stepmom and others he believe have wronged him. I look forward to your next post about how to overcome.

    1. Anna,

      It is difficult for many people to give up their bitterness and unforgiveness. It becomes an idol – the core of our identity – the longer we hang on to it. It is PAINFUL to tear it out! But that stuff is SO toxic.

      You can also search my home page for:

      – bitterness
      – forgiveness

      But do please keep in mind, that he may not be able to hear these things from you. Only the Holy Spirit can convict him of sin. Please be very sensitive to God’s Spirit about whether to share or not and how to share and how much to share and when to share. If God’s Spirit is not directing you, you may only repel him farther.

      Much love to you!

  4. My husband and I have our first couple’s therapy session next week. Please pray for open lines of communication and that we both listen to hear not to speak. 🙂

    1. Nikki,

      I pray God’s Spirit will work in his heart, your heart, and the heart of the counselor to accomplish His healing and His will for each of you and for your marriage.

  5. Dear April,
    I noticed in your comment to Kat that you referred her to the post “A Challenge to Ladies about not complaining”
    and I went there to read that. I too need to work on this and was just wondering if there was a follow-up post after this from any of your readers on how it went for them on this challenge. I believe the post was dated May 2013,,,,I checked some after this and couldn’t find any follow-ups.
    I enjoy your blog so much…you have helped me tremendously and I feel and know that God has His hand on you in helping and encouraging us ladies to love and respect our dear husbands. Thank You!
    Kay Walker

    1. Kay Walker,

      I think most of the follow up was in the comments. I don’t believe I had a specific follow up post. But, you may want to search “complaining” on my home page search bar – there are 2 other posts about it.

      So thankful that God has used some posts here to bless you.

      Much love to you!!! 🙂

  6. Hi April,

    Prolific writing here at the moment, but as the walls come down, my goodness, the truth seems to come out and just start flowing. I’m doing a 21 day fast. Daniel fast, but it’s still pretty intense. I have fasted before to “move” God and to “fix” my marriage – this time I just want to HEAR.

    I guess this is a quite a different slant on anger and I understood it can really control a person but good can come out of it too.The other day my wife let loose at me in a way i had never seen before, it was anger, it was frustration, it was fear and it was loud….but it was real to her so I really listened. I wouldn’t have done that before, I would have taken it personally and defended or deflected. I have thought, as have others, that my wife has blinders and can’t see the changes and all that sort of thing and I will often agree but I’m starting to get something. I was brought up to say nothing, show no pain, deal with it, that sort of thing but whilst its admirable it doesn’t communicate and if someone is in pain or fear they have to be able to communicate it.

    I’m not disagreeing with the Bibles directives about anger, hate etc – they are damaging in every sense but they are often a road to something better also.
    I feel so privileged that she can express herself now, there is still so so far to go….but I hope that I continue to listen and to learn so that she doesn’t have to continue to feel that pain but by His Grace it will go….in the meantime it is still an important part of her communication.

    1. Gary,

      It is not wrong to feel anger. There is even such a thing as righteous anger. And it is important to express anger at times. But as believers we can express it without sinning – does that make sense?

      But I am glad you were willing to listen to the hurt behind your wife’s anger. There is usually pain or fear fueling anger – that is the stuff that needs to be communicated.

  7. I wanted to add this verse to the do not quarrel, fight and argue because I think some people might interpret that if we do have conflict with someone then we are to do nothing which is not true.

    I use to interpret the whole aspect of being loving as if we should not cause any conflict even when someone sins against us. I thought we were just suppose to bottle it up and deal with it. Never mention it to the other person.

    “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.” -Matthew 18:15-17

    I do want to note this verse is specifically among believers and not among a believer and non-believer.

    We can talk about it when someone wrongs us. We are supposed to respond in love and talk to them in love. It is not about pointing fingers and yelling at the other person. We are to discuss it. Possibly get someone else involved.

    This is why my wife and I choose to see a counselor even though we have a healthy marriage. Sometimes it takes another person to tell you that you are wrong.

    The last part of the verse about making them a Gentile or Tax Collector does not mean you should shun them, forget about them, and be mean. I think it means the exact opposite. It means they need the love of Christ that much more. After all, Christ came for the broken and the sick.

    1. Alex Craig,

      I appreciate you bringing these things up! I actually have a post about confronting our husbands that talks about these exact things.

      I love your understanding of God’s Word and how to handle conflict and anger. I’m so glad you and your wife are seeking to build a healthy, godly marriage. That is awesome!

      And yes, God describes how we are to treat our enemies and unbelievers who mistreat and persecute us in Romans 12:17-21 – we are to overcome evil with good and we are to love those who hate us and pray for those who mistreat us and bless those who curse us.

      Thank you very much for this!

  8. OCM,
    I did a couple of things today I normally wouldn’t have done. I make a point of being sure I don’t bother my husband….this is huge for him. Last night, though, after dealing with a child who threw up, plus another who had a pretty nasty cold, he was still assuming I’d take them all to church….finally I did, but furious because he was so incapable of seeing that this was not really feasible because of the two sick kids. I dropped off the older kids and came rushing back home, and he was angry that I had done that….I got quite the talk about it.
    This is also after being constantly refused (I’ll leave it at that) and then his always “putting it off” until a later, which never comes.
    This morning he leans over, gives me a peck on the cheek, and then says, “Well, let’s get these kids up for church!” and I just sat there bemused and seething, thinking, “If the tables were turned and I was the one who refused him for over a year, my oh my how I would be rebuked and scolded! And he gets away with it.” But I said nothing. Just got up and got the laundry, made the bed, got the kids up and then when he asked me if I was ready I said, no, I am not going to go to church with someone who does not live up to his promises, you don’t have a thought about the fact that you are constantly putting me into a near occasion of sin. It is not fair to me, and it won’t be fair for all of you to come home ravenous with me having gone to church with you, and then yelling at me because I can’t get breakfast done fast enough — not to mention the fact that our kids have activities they must be on time for on Saturday mornings.
    First time I finally took a deep breath and said it. Now I’m waiting for the fallout. I have to admit it scared me to death to say all that. But in the long run I’m glad I did.

  9. Hi April,

    I am feeling really burdened by my situation with my boyfriend.

    I’ve always known him to have a temper. He has extreme road rage, he snaps at me especially when he’s bothered about something, when we fight he shouts at me. But he’s never physically hurt me and I trust that he’s not capable. Somehow he still has that boundary.

    Just yesterday I experienced his road rage again. All I could do was sit on the passenger’s seat, be quiet and pray while he screamed at the other driver and cussed at him. I was so afraid (you’ll never know what other drivers could do). I felt so ashamed to be there.

    After the everything, I calmly told him the other driver was definitely wrong. But he shouldn’t have to fight with him. I told him to just let things go. He apologized but still continued to justify his anger.

    This isn’t the first time I experienced him like this. I know that he was already like this even before we became a couple but I started asking myself if this is really the kind of person that I want to be with. If we were married, I wouldn’t have a choice but to stay and be gracious and forgiving. But since I’m not bound by marriage yet, shouldn’t I be able to decide if I can be safe around him or not?

    Won’t I be self righteous by breaking up with him? I know I myself have anger issues too which he knows about. Not as violent as his, but anger nevertheless.

    Should a few incidents be enough for me to see it as a red flag? Or consider them as isolated cases?

    If I decide to stay, I’m afraid of the thought of him not ever changing. And I know we shouldn’t expect others to change. But he does actually know that this is a problem for him. He knows this doesn’t please God. He does accept correction, I guess it’s a matter of being consistent and choosing to act like a Christian when a situation arises.

    He’s been a Christian for only a few years. He’s not serving in the church yet, or accountable to a group or being discipled. But he reads the bible and prays.

    I know the Holy Spirit changes us progressively but should I stay and wait around for him to be freed from his anger? I feel like now that we aren’t married it’s imperative for me to decide whether he will be good for me or not.

    I know I won’t ever find a perfect man, so how should I move forward in my relationship?

    I really hope you can give me advice and guidance about this.

    Thank you very much in advance. I’m very blessed by your ministry through this blog.

    1. Confused,

      I think this is a really important issue to prayerfully consider now. I’m glad you are seeing things clearly and that you realize if you marry this man, he may not change.

      No, it would not be self-righteous to break up with a guy who has a rage problem. It is your responsibility to determine if you can respect and honor a man as he is with the character he has before you get married. Yes, you have the right to decide if you feel safe with him and can trust him or not. And – please do keep in mind – rage like this CAN escalate to physical violence. I’m super glad he has not been violent yet – but out of control rage can easily turn into violence.

      This much rage now is a problem. This doesn’t mean you can’t ever marry this guy – but I would love to see you both address this issue BEFORE you get married.

      I think a lot of prayer would be in order before you would attempt to approach him – and then, God may prompt you to say something like, “I really love you. There are so many things I admire about you like… But I have to be honest, I am scared about the road rage thing. I’m not sure I can do this. I want to be able to feel safe when I am with you. But there are times when I don’t feel safe.”

      Celebrate Recovery has resources that may be very helpful.

      God CAN change him, yes. But when you are determining whether to marry a person – it is good to be able to accept him as he is right now, even if he never changed.

      I think some godly mentoring/counseling might be a great step if he is willing.

      Much love to you!

      1. Thanks very much for getting back to me.

        You said – – – but I would love to see you both address this issue BEFORE you get married.

        What would this mean? Talking with a counselor/mentor?

        He would always acknowledge his mistake, and knows that he needs to control. He admits it and doesn’t excuse it.

        Is that something i can consider as a good sign that he wants to change?

        1. Confused,

          The fact that he acknowledges his mistake is good. I’m thankful he is humble enough to admit his issue with rage. Of course, admitting it is not the same thing as turning away from it and seeking to allow God to change you.

          If he cannot get control of this on his own, yes, I would want to say something like, “I know this is not the man you want to be. I know as you trust God, He can change you. But I need to see this change before we can continue on in our relationship. If you can pray about it and study about it on your own and change that way, awesome. But if that doesn’t work, I would like to see you reach out for help from Celebrate Recovery/an experienced Christian counselor. I don’t want to be married to a man whose anger is so out of control.”

          And, you may want to ask him about the issues he feels you need to work on spiritually that he is concerned about, as well. Or you could agree to find some resources on anger together and read them together because you can talk about that you know you have work in this area, as well, and y’all could approach it as a team.

          Much love to you!

          1. Thank you April.

            A part of me is afraid of wanting to continue on in this relationship. Seeing him explode that way is traumatic for me. 🙁

            I hope that he will decide to get help.

            This will mean him stepping out of his comfort zone, right? You see, I’ve been encouraging him a number of times for us to join a discipleship group, but eventually dropped it after he said hes not ready yet to open up to a group. Would saying yes to joining a group and being accountable to the leader be something i can request him to do? Wont it be a manipulative move on my part? Or me forcing him?

            1. I appreciate how clear and direct your responses are.

              I will read those posts and reflect and pray about them.

              The thing is, he says he prays about it already. He reflects on bible verses. But as of late, he still wasnt able to show restraint.

              I wont really know the changes and decide whether he is safe or not until another situation arises where he loses his temper.

              When that happens, How will i know when to give him another chance? I myself know the process turning away from a certain sin takes time.

              1. Ok. I’m really sorry for so many questions! Thank you very much for taking the time anyway to answer them and bringing insight into my situation. You are a very wise woman. God bless you!

              2. Confused,

                I don’t mind questions at all! But I do know my limits. 🙂 You are most welcome. I pray those posts might be a blessing. I pray for God’s wisdom for you and that you will seek Christ with all your heart. That is the key!

                Much love to you!

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