Essay on Controlling Anger, Hatred, and Resentment

Angry People

  • Anger! Joe burns with fury against the drunken driver that struck his wife's car, killing her and their three young children.
  • Hatred! Mary hates her father for sexually abusing her, stealing her childhood.
  • Resentment! Louise harbors deep resentment against her supervisor for firing her unfairly.
  • Self-hatred! Franco can't stand the sight of his own face when he shaves, knowing that his drug habit has cost him his loved ones, his job, his home, everything that made life worth living.
  • Rage! Jenny rages against the doctor who failed to diagnose the brain tumor that led to her infant son's death.

Anger Kills!

Whatever you call it -- hatred, resentment, rage, or self-disgust -- long-term anger will certainly harm your health, and very possibly may cause you to die an early and lonely death. God designed human beings in such a way that sustained anger will cause you to have immediate physical and spiritual changes.

BAD changes!

When you get angry...

  • Your adrenaline surges.
  • Your heart beats faster.
  • Your palms sweat. Your face flushes.
  • Your stomach pumps great gushes of ACID.
  • You have trouble sleeping.
  • You get depressed, moody, introverted.

Staying angry is DEADLY dangerous to your life and health! -->


  • Digs a chasm between you and your loved ones.
  • Drives away your friends.
  • Turns your home into a cold, unhappy place.
  • Creates a gulf between you and God.

What the World's Philosophy Teaches about Dealing with Anger

The world's philosophy advocates several "systems" for dealing with long-term anger.

One popular philosophy says, "Don't get mad. GET EVEN!" "Revenge is sweet," so they say.

Not sweet at all! Revenge will land you in the dark prison of your own guilt and self-disgust, eating away at your insides like a cancer.
Whether or not that prison has bars of steel, you will not escape it!

Another world philosophy advocates ventilating your anger.

  • Tell people off! Bang the wall! Go into the closet; close the door, scream to the top of your lungs!
  • "Let it out," they say, "and it will go away."
  • But your deep-seated anger will not run from your tantrums.
  • Yes, your body may enjoy a momentary rush of adrenaline, and the subsequent feeling of release, but any such enjoyment is only momentary. The anger remains unabated.
  • AND tantrums are habit-forming. Worse yet, witnesses to your tantrums will react with fear, disgust, pity, or their own anger. You are worse off than before!

What God's Bible Teaches about Dealing with Anger

Talk it out
Your anger can sometimes be resolved by talking about the problem with the person who wronged you...

  • By communicating, you might find you have misinterpreted what the other person said or did to you.
  • The other person might even ask for your forgiveness.
  • If either of these fortunate circumstances occurs, your anger may be eliminated.
  If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you.

If he listens to you, you have won your brother over.
Mt 18.15
Unfortunately, however, communication doesn't always work. The other person may even react in such a way that your anger becomes more, rather than less. What then?

Let's see what further counsel God's Bible has to offer...
Question: Why did God design you in such a way that long-term anger, hatred, and resentment cause you to feel so bad?

Answer: He did so for the same reason that your hand hurts when you put it on a hot stove. God put those painful symptoms there to tell you that something bad is threatening your life and health, and you must stop what you are doing RIGHT NOW!

God's message in Eph 4.26-27: "I understand why you're angry. But don't let that anger cause you to sin. Put away that anger quickly. Don't let the devil be the one who guides your reactions."
  Be angry, and do not sin.

Do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil.
Eph 4.26-27
Anger itself is not a sin. Sin occurs only if you harbor your anger, or allow it to lead you to evil actions.

In other words -- You can't stop a bird from landing on your head, but you CAN stop that bird from building a nest in your hair!

God's Prescription for Healing Your Anger

God's prescription for healing your anger comes in two parts...

  • Part One prescribes the pill that you must swallow.
  • Part Two tells you how you can swallow that pill (it isn't always easy).

Part One- The Pill...

  • God's get-well pill for anger is forgiveness.
  • Eph 4.31-32 says, "Put away your bitterness, wrath, and malice. FORGIVE one another."
  Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted. Forgive one another, just as God in Christ also forgave you.
Eph 4.31-32

To what extent must you forgive the person who wronged you?

  • Eph 4.32 says you must forgive that person to the same extent and degree that God in Christ forgave you!!!
  • That means you must forgive completely, and you must forgive forever.
  • Forgiving another person has nothing to do with whether or not that person *deserves* or even *wants* to be forgiven.Your wrongdoer might even be rejoicing in his injury to you and planning more mischief.
  • Even so, God's unconditional command is that you MUST forgive that person.

Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.

Be kind to one another...

  • Tenderhearted
  • Forgiving one another
  • JUST as God in Christ also forgave you.

Eph 4.31-32

It is indeed a tough pill God has COMMANDED you to swallow!!!    

Part Two- How you can *Swallow the Pill*

  • Humanly speaking, forgiving your enemies is well nigh impossible.
  • You can only swallow this pill with the supernatural help of Christ.
  I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philip 4.14

Pray! God WILL enable you to forgive those who hurt you.

  • Some say that God has three answers to prayer: "Yes," "No," and "Wait."
  • In my experience, asking for the ability to forgive is a prayer God ALWAYS grants.
  • He may say "Wait," but He NEVER says "No!"
  • The following panel describes how I pray when I am angry with someone.
  • *My way* isn't a secret formula. You must express your own heart to God as the Holy Spirit leads YOU.
  Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Philip 4.6-7

How I pray about anger

  • First I tell God I am angry. Then I tell Him WHY I'm angry, and in no uncertain terms.
  • In other words, I *DUMP* on God.
  • I tell God: "Here is my anger. I give it to You. I'm done with it. Now it's Your problem!"

I think one of the reasons God included Psalm 109 (and other so-called "imprecatory Psalms") in the Bible was to let you know that dumping your anger on Him is okay.


Do not keep silent, O God of my praise...

  • The mouth of the wicked and the mouth of the deceitful have spoken against me!
  • They have spoken against me with a lying tongue!
  • They have surrounded me with words of hatred!
  • They have fought against me without a cause!!!

In return for my love they are my accusers, but I give myself to prayer.
Ps 109.1-4

Next I claim the promise of Philippians 4.7...

  • I ask God to heal me of my anger.
  • I ask God to grant me peace and forgiveness towards those who wronged me.
  • I *grab hold* of God's promise that He WILL fill my mind with His peace.
  Let your requests be made known to God, and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philip 4.7

Next I wait...

  • My prayer to be able to forgive may not be granted in the first five minutes, or even the first 5 weeks.
  • So I continue my prayer every day until God grants it. I wait upon the Lord!
  Those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings like eagles! They shall run and not be weary. They shall walk and not faint. Isa 40.31

I *hang in there*...

  • How LONG do I wait? How long do I persist in asking God to give me a forgiving heart? As long as it takes! Not 24 hours daily, but often and consistently.
  • I keep on asking, and seeking, and knocking at God's door.
  • I do NOT let go of the horns of God's altar until He frees me from my anger and bitterness.
  • God has never failed to grant me a forgiving heart.

Why does God make me wait before He helps me? I think He does so because I am a very unforgiving person. Ergo, making me wait is sort of a *meat tenderizer* for the gristle of my heart.


[Jesus said...] Suppose that you have a friend...

You go to him at midnight and say, "Friend, lend me some food; for a friend of mine has come to me on his journey, and I have nothing to set before him."

Your friend answers, "Don't bother me. The door is shut, and my children are with me in bed. I cannot rise and give to you."

Your friend will not give to you because of friendship. However, if you persist, he will rise and give you as much as you need. And I say to you...

  • Keep asking -- and it will be given to you
  • Keep seeking -- and you will find
  • Do not cease from knocking -- and it will be opened to you

Lk 11.5-9, paraphrased

In Conclusion

Forgive your enemies and your anger will disappear.
The life you save will be your own!

May God heal you of your anger and grant you *supernatural* strength to forgive. Amen

Click HERE to read a related study about dealing with your anger, grief, depression, or anxiety.


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