Dear angry Christian, you have a problem and therefore have become one to others. Not sure if you qualify? Finishing the following sentence will help you know whether this post is pointed at you.
You might be an angry Christian if…
- You clinch your fist when you watch/read the news.
- You blame everything on actors and politicians.
- You rant on social media about, well—everything.
- You assume I’m writing this to someone else.
Your anger is not unique, but it is annoying and distracting. I’m sure you are tired of it too, so my motive is to help you destroy anger before it whithers your soul, drives away your family, or damages your testimony.
Although anger is a normal emotion, there is an invisible line we cross when our healthy anger becomes harmful to others. Here are a few solutions that I have found helpful.
Guard your heart.
Jesus is the only cardiologist who can solve this heart issue. Since patience is a fruit of the Spirit, God can extinguish the anger we don’t have the ability to manage. So when my blood begins to boil, I release control of the situation – and myself – by simply praying for patience.
Be angry and do not sin; on your bed, reflect in your heart and be still…and trust in the Lord. (Psalm 4:4)
Control your tongue.
Even as I write this in an airport terminal, I am waiting on my second delayed flight of the day. My last trip included so many delays and cancellations that I arrived home a day and a half late! The temptation to transfer my frustration onto innocent airline workers is real, but it is it never helpful.
The intelligent person restrains his words, and one who keeps a cool head is a man of understanding. Even a fool is considered wise when he keeps silent, discerning when he seals his lips. (Proverbs 17:27-28)
I finished this post on the actual plane, which sat on the runway for two more hours. No one blew their cool, so I’m guessing others were praying for patience also!
Protect your testimony.
All Christians need to carefully guard our hearts, tongues, and posts— and pastors even more so. What we say on stage is even more heavily measured both on earth as well at a “stricter judgment” in heaven later (James 3:1).
A young deacon once told me that his church was having “multiple dumpster fires.” He was not wrong. The term “dumpster fire” was just added to Miriam-Webster as part of a batch of 850 new words and phrases added to the dictionary website. As a noun, a dumpster fire is defined as, “an utterly calamitous or mismanaged situation or occurrence: disaster.”
All churches have dumpster fires; just make sure you are not the arsonist.
Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you should answer each person. (Colossians 4:6)
Change your ways.
More than a decade ago, I was well on my way to becoming the angry preacher I am warning about here. I committed the following passage to memory by mentally getting dressed every day for almost a year.
Put away all the following: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and filthy language from your mouth…since you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self…Therefore, as God’s chosen ones, holy and dearly loved, put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a grievance against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you are also to forgive. Above all, put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. (Colossians 3:8-10,12-14)
I am embarrassed to admit that it took that long to get my heart right, but I was unwilling to let that anger grow. Christians have the Holy Spirit of God living within us. Jesus’ resurrection power enables us to “put off” our old self instead of merely putting up with it.
If you are an angry Christian, I strongly encourage you to get serious about rooting out that anger every single day before bitterness takes root in your heart, home, and ministry.