If you haven’t already read it, please read the first post in this series, “What Place Does Hatred, Rage, and Violence Have in Our Lives as Believers in Christ?”
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 when we need to confront those who 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. I think it is key for us to watch our motives. If we are seeking to hurt the other person, that is a sign we are involved in sinful anger.
HOW DO I GET RID OF SIN IN MY LIFE? (These steps work for any sin. Of course, you must belong to Christ for God to hear your prayers. If you don’t have a relationship with Jesus, please check out this post first.)
- Confess your sin to God.
Agree with God that this is sin and that God hates it and it is repulsive to Him. Realize that every single sin separates us from God. Focus especially on learning to recognize and shoot down pride – it is generally the root cause of all other sins. (If I believe I am above God or above others, I can justify any sin in my heart.)
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)
- Repent to those you have hurt.
Humbly apologize without blaming the other person. “I want to apologize for X. I shouldn’t have done that./I was wrong to do that.” Be sure not to add a “but.” It is not a real apology if I say, “I’m sorry that I did X – but if you hadn’t done Y, I would never have done X.” Take responsibility for your sins against those you have hurt – even if they have some responsibility, too. Ask for forgiveness.
Try to make restitution for anything you have done wrong against them (Matthew 5:23-24). You can ask someone to forgive you. But you can’t force someone to forgive you. That is each person’s choice. But you can take care of your part of things and trust God to work with them on their end. Keep in mind that if you have engaged in rage or violence or very hurtful words against someone, it may take time for them to trust you again. Trust will need to be rebuilt. If there are serious issues, please seek trustworthy, experienced counsel to help you.
- Know your security, purpose, strength, power, acceptance, love, worth, and everything good is in Christ alone!
- Put on the armor of God daily – Ephesians 6:10-17
- Commit to absolute surrender to Christ as Lord.
Recognize there may is a spiritual battle against a spiritual enemy who wants to take your thoughts, mind, and soul captive who wants you to walk in the power of the flesh and to cause division and broken relationships. But we can walk in Christ’s victory over sin…
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. James 4:7-10
- Stay in God’s Word daily.
Your Word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. Psalm 119:105
I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Psalm 119:11
- Live in a constant spiritual posture of humility before God and prayer.
“These are the ones I look on with favor: those who are humble and contrite in spirit, and who tremble at my word.” Isaiah 66:2
- Cast your cares upon the Lord. Trust Him fully.
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:4-7
- Depend on God’s wisdom, power, and strength, don’t trust your own wisdom, strength, or self-effort.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5.
- Desire to walk in obedience to God and seek to walk in obedience out of gratitude for all God has done – not to earn salvation, but out of thanksgiving for the salvation Jesus bought with His blood on your behalf.
To obey is better than sacrifice I Samuel 15:22.
- Ask God to empower you to take your thoughts captive for Christ.
As soon as you realize there is anger, resentment, or negative feelings – separate yourself from the situation if possible and go write down your feelings. Separate truth from lies by examining your thoughts in the light of God’s Word. Write down every negative thought and kick out all of the lies. Embrace God’s truth. Write down His truth. Receive it into your heart. Memorize His Word. Ask him to help you see as He sees and to shoot down every sinful thought immediately.
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5
- Sing praises and focus on things to be thankful for to God. Think about good things.
My soul makes its boast in the Lord; let the humble hear and be glad. Psalm 34:2
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8
- Trust God to take any vengeance that is necessary. It is His place to take revenge. He will repay.
Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 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 12:17-21
- Focus on God’s sovereignty and realize that He can and will bring something good out of even the most awful situations we experience.
That is His promise to us as His children – Romans 8:28-29. Examine the example of Joseph in the Old Testament whose brothers sold him into slavery. This was his response later when he saw them again and was in a position of great power and could have them imprisoned or put to death:
You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. Genesis 50:20
- Take up your cross and follow Jesus. Deny yourself. Self will, self-effort, self-exaltation, and human wisdom have no place in our lives as followers of Christ.
And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it.…” Luke 9:23-24
- Get rid of any addictions to anything – drugs/alcohol/gambling/porn/food/etc…
Addictions often greatly exacerbate our anger, hatred, and rage against our loved ones. We are not in control, the addiction is. Seek help from Celebrate Recovery – link at the bottom of the page – or another reputable program, preferably one that honors Christ and biblical principles. Celebrate Recovery may be able to help you find God’s victory over rage, as well.
“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but I will not be mastered by anything. 1 Corinthians 6:12
- Understand what you control and what is not your responsibility.
- Know your triggers and prayerfully ask God to help you develop a plan to handle them rightly.
- Examine the examples you observed when you were a child and choose to reject any ungodly examples and rebuild your life on the truth of Christ and His Word alone. Allow God to completely and radically change you to make you more like Jesus. Look for godly examples to follow.
- Don’t justify rage/violence/any sin to yourself, rationalizing how it is “right” and “understandable” in your case. God gives no one a free pass to sin against Himself or anyone else even if we are sinned against.
- Realize that responding calmly and gently will feel “foreign” and “weird” if you are used to responding in rage or sinful anger. That is normal.
- Picture Jesus on the cross, paying for your sins in agony and seek His help to overcome temptation.
- Whisper or sing instead of yelling (yes, I actually do these things sometimes with our children – it seriously helps).
- Take a deep breath and calm down when you begin to feel the adrenaline rise and the rage start to boil.
- Listen and seek to understand others before reacting and making wrong assumptions.
- Be willing to be wronged rather than to react in rage or with violence. It is better to suffer for doing right than to do what is wrong and suffer for it. (I Corinthians 6:7)
- Ask for a few minutes to compose your thoughts and cool down. Go spend time journaling or praying before you attempt to address someone if you are not in control.
- Go for a run or lift weights to burn off some of that rage as you seek to clear your thoughts and allow God to speak to your heart.
- Seek to respond with warmth, patience, love, and kindness by God’s Spirit’s power. It will feel weird and awkward at first, that is okay! It is like learning a new language.
- Find some examples on old TV programs of people responding to each other in conflict in respectful ways.
- Listen to or read trustworthy, biblical sermons and articles about managing anger, rage, and violence. Share what you are learning with us so that others may learn and benefit, as well!
- Practice in front of the mirror or on video responding calmly. Write down a few possible ways to respond calmly in the future.
- Practice with family members – maybe even write out some sample scripts and walk through them together of godly ways to handle conflict to prepare for future conflict if you believe that may help.
- Meet with a godly mentoring wife to help you work through this who will keep you accountable and pray with and for you.
- Contact Celebrate Recovery for help in overcoming an addiction to rage.
- Talk with your husband and even your children about how you want to change and perhaps even ask them to help keep you accountable with a signal or a word if you begin to lose control that means you need to have a break to calm down.
- Realize that hatred – once it is full grown – eventually leads to violence which can even lead to murder. We must catch our thoughts as soon as the first drop of hatred begins to seep into our minds. God views us as “murderers” when we hate other people.
We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer; and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. 1 John 3:14-15
- Picture all of the consequences of rage and violence – the lifetime of guilt, the possible ways others might be permanently hurt or killed, the damage to your relationships, and imagine the pain you will suffer, God will suffer, and others will suffer if you go through with the sin that tempts your soul. Imagine seriously injuring or even killing someone in your rage and violence and having to face your family members and those who love this person. Imagine having to face God with the guilt of someone’s blood on your hands.
- It may be necessary to separate for a time if you are not in control and your spouse and/or children are in danger if they are with you. It would be better to separate and seek appropriate counsel and healing alone and then get strong enough to be able to come back and begin to live in a right relationship with your family than to stay, lose control, and hurt someone.
I can’t wait to see all that God has in store for your life and your family as you trust Him and walk in the power of Christ!
If God has radically changed you and helped you find victory over some of these things, please share your story with us in the comments.
Kill Anger Before It Kills You or Your Marriage – John Piper
If you want to overcome a habit of rage or violence but feel that you need help and that you are not in control, please contact a trusted pastor or Christian counselor.
Please check out Absolute Surrender by Andrew Murray about how we are all to live in total surrender to Christ as Lord every moment.
Confronting Our Husbands about Their Sin (if you are not safe, reach out for help and do not try to do this alone)
Posts on bitterness
Posts on forgiveness