The key to controlling your anger is not taking charge of it like you would a child, or an employee, or a car. Once you lose your temper, you are no longer in control. Controlling your anger means you find a way to control when and why you get angry. Anger is not necessarily wrong, so being in control isn’t the ability to suppress your anger, but deciding what you should get angry about.
The key to controlling your anger is placing buffers in your mind and emotions that makes you very slow to anger. It is the quick temper that is most dangerous. It is the short fuse that more often than not gets us into trouble. And it is that flare of anger that makes us react irrationally and do and say things that we regret.
But people who are slow to anger are in much more control of the result of their own anger. If it takes you a long time to get angry, you won’t allow your anger to cause you to do something you’ll regret. You will be in control of when and why you get angry.
I’ve found this principle to be true biblically and practically. Here are a few verses from the Bible that you might find interesting:
- Proverbs 15:18 — A wrathful man stirreth up strife: but he that is slow to anger appeaseth strife.
- Proverbs 16:32 — He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.
- Proverbs 14:29 — He that is slow to wrath is of great understanding: but he that is hasty of spirit exalteth folly.
- James 1:19 — Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:
There are many other verses along the same concept. In short, your ability to put barriers and buffers in your life that slow your rise to anger is the goal you are really after in controlling your anger. Anger is a natural part of our emotional makeup. Some things should cause us anger! But selfish anger leads to many of our problems. And it is this selfish anger that is so quick to surface. But if you can learn to be slow to anger, you’ll be in much more control over the results of your anger.
Trying to drive a car at 100 mph down a windy mountain road is probably going to get you killed. But if you drive the same car much slower so that you have time to analyze each turn in the road and prepare yourself to take the appropriate action, you’ll make it down safely.
Anger is much like that. The quick temper will drive us right off the emotional cliff. Many relationships are destroyed this way. But a person who comes to anger much more slowly is able to stay rational and thoughtful during the course of his anger. This will keep him from making a fatal mistake.
I don’t think anger is something that anyone will be able to stash away at leisure. You can’t flare up in anger, suddenly realize you’re making a mistake, and then turn the anger off like a light switch. We just aren’t built that way. That would be very much like loving someone and then removing your love when it was convenient. People just can’t do that.
But you can learn to be slow to anger. That is a much more practical goal. What barriers do you have in your life that keep your anger in check?
Practical Thoughts on Being Slow to Anger
- Know yourself. Know what makes you angry. In your calm moments, analyze your anger critically and try to understand it better.
- Prepare to be tested. One thing I’ve done is practice my reaction to that which stimulates my anger before I face a situation that I may react in anger to. You react as you have conditioned yourself to react. If you want to control your anger better, practice how you face what causes you anger.
- Develop the aspect of your personality that is not easily offended. This is largely a mental condition. When you think you are being attacked, you react like you are under attack. Find ways to learn to overlook slight and offense. Your life will be so much more enjoyable.