Lord Over Anger

A devotion on Psalm 37:8

Cease from anger, and forsake wrath. Don’t fret; it leads only to evildoing.
–Psalm 37:8

Aggression is common in the animal kingdom.

From the giant grizzly to the gnat, species of all sizes get angry. Research shows that even the tiny fruit fly will winch up its wings and charge for food and breeding rights.

Anger raises the heart rate, elevates testosterone, and causes brain activity to skyrocket. While it might aid in the preservation of those creatures unable to negotiate, for humans, it can trigger heart attacks, end friendships, and destroy bodies.

Humans can reason through their reactions, and they need to.

The Mayo Clinic, a nonprofit academic medical center, has some great research-based advice on how to manage anger:

  • Think before speaking,

  • Exercise,

  • Take a timeout,

  • Turn your focus to solutions,

  • Use “I” statements when explaining feelings,

  • Practice relaxation skills,

  • Use humor, and ultimately,

  • Be forgiving.

Much of their advice mimics the wise words of both King Solomon and Jesus, but diffusing anger is only half the battle.

Over and over, the Psalms encourage us not to get angry at all. Turn your focus to other people’s good. Don’t insist on your own way and your own time. Give grace. Respond with gentleness.

If tensions around you rise like wild animals, turn the other cheek. Instead of giving in to aggression, give in to God.

Prayer

Dear Lord, Thank You for the good advice Your Word gives. You know what situations make me angry. Please erase my anger and help me to convey love to others. I pray in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Reflection

What people or circumstances tend to lead to my own anger? What can I do to help control my emotions?