I must confess. Anger has found its way into my life more than ever before. I am surprised by what gets me angry. My anger can be triggered by something as large as social injustice to something as small as my daughter rolling her eyes at me.

Anger is simply an emotion. It is neither bad nor good.

But what I decide to do with my anger can be bad or good. I have been learning how to keep my anger in check and utilize it for good. Ephesians 4:25-31 gives some great advice on how to utilize anger in the right way.

Here are four tips that I have learned through experience:

Original Photo by ~deiby

Original Photo by ~deiby

Tip #1: Speak Truth, Don’t Exaggerate (v. 25)

It is extremely easy to lose control of your tongue when you are angry. Anger has a way of turning you into its puppet. It will control your thoughts, your words, and your actions. It is easy to speak out of turn, cut people down, and put together stories to support your argument. Don’t do this. Speak the facts. Speak respectfully. Speak in love.

Tip #2: Act Quickly, Don’t Get Bitter (v. 26-27)

Don’t let the sun go down on your anger. In other words, don’t hold on to your anger. Go resolve the issue as soon as you can. Just because you don’t yell, speak out, or fight doesn’t mean that you are not angry. Being passive-aggressive or being shady is just another form of being angry. Don’t do this. Holding on to your anger will only make you bitter. Go, squash it, quickly.

Tip #3: Build Up, Don’t Tear Down (v. 28-30)

Remember that you are not fighting people, but you are battling against the unseen. So don’t be angry at people. Be angry at the problem. Build up people. Then tear down problems. Don’t bring up issues from the past — not cool. Instead, keep short lists and forget the past. Focus on reconciliation. The Holy Spirit wants us to benefit from one another in community.

Tip #4: Respond, Don’t Just React (v. 31-32)

One thing that makes you human is that you can put a pause between a stimulus and a response. You don’t have to react. You can choose. This takes discipline. Don’t fight, slander, gossip, or become bitter — these are low-level reactions. Instead, pause, reflect, and respond. Respond with kindness, compassion, and forgiveness. Learn to respond, not react.

Anger can be used for good.

In the story of Cain and Abel in the Bible, Cain reacts out of anger. He kills Abel. It’s a sad story of anger taking over someone for evil. But Jesus walks into the temple and flips tables because He was angry. But not angry at people — He was angry at the injustice.  Jesus responds to make things right.

I believe that you and I can be less like Cain and more like Jesus. I believe the aforementioned tips will help us accomplish that! Let’s use anger for good. You are an everyday world changer! Start today!

How have you dealt with anger? How will you use anger for good? Please comment below or send me an email!