5 Things To Do Before Your Anger Becomes A Sin

by Sin

We all have experienced anger.  Everyone has been on the receiving end of somebody else’s anger.  Anger is a response, a reaction when our ego is being attacked, a reaction when what we want to happen happened otherwise, or a demand for justice because we have been wronged

We have seen God angry at His people in the Old Testament.  We have seen Jesus angry with the merchants at the temple for turning it into a robber’s den.  We’ve seen anger from Peter, from Moses, and the other figures we have known in the Bible.  While there is a righteous anger like that of God’s, often our anger is due to pride and our desire to play god.

5 Things To Do Before Your Anger Becomes A Sin

While anger is a common response because life will not always be how we want it to be, we must not sin – we must not act on our anger harshly and ignorantly.  Anger becomes sin when it turns into wrath where we cultivate this feeling of anger, turning it into hatred and resentment with the desire for revenge.  What must we do then to overcome anger before it goes out of hand and becomes a sin?

Practice the Pause.  Take a deep breath before you say or do anything.  As you inhale, focus on your breathing; when you exhale, imagine your anger being breathed out of you.  Repeat until you feel your body calming down.  It has been known that controlled breathing lowers our blood pressure and heart rate and reduces stress hormones.

Say A Prayer. One of the prayers I most often use when I am angry, anxious, or in pain is the Jesus Prayer.  This prayer is very apt when you practice the pause and deep breathing.  As you inhale, you pray, “Jesus, Son of David,” and as you exhale, you pray, “Have mercy on me.”  This is also a way for you to remember that Jesus has forgiven us our sins because of His mercy, and in the same way, we can be merciful towards others.

Change The Scenery.  If you can, take a short walk around the block, go to the nearest park or by the river or flowing stream if accessible, have a short drive in the neighborhood.  Leave the place where your anger has been stirred.  While you take a stroll, focus on the scenery you see, the sounds you hear, the feel of the wind on your skin.  When we get angry, our attention narrows in and our mind tends to focus on what caused the anger.  By intentionally diverting our attention to other things and walking away from the very thing that caused our anger, it will help clear our minds and calm our bodies.  

The Practice of Thinking “Maybe”.  Once you have calmed down, or when you have practiced the pause, tell yourself “Maybe this happened because…”, or “Maybe this person did that because…”. It is not excusing the other, but it is shifting our perspective from our hurt ego to the other person’s situation and giving us a better perspective of the incident.  This way, it will be easier for us to approach the other person with consideration and compassion rather than lashing out or acting out of anger.

Go to Confession.  Confessing the thoughts and situations that make us angry can give us clarity and make anger lose its hold on us.  By bringing our anger to God, we surrender to His will by releasing the anger to Him.  By acknowledging that we have sinned and asking for His forgiveness, we also acknowledge that we are forgiving the other who has hurt us and made us angry.  “Forgive us our sins as we have forgiven those who have sinned against us.”  In this way, we invite God’s mercy to heal and free us from this bondage.  

In instances where the anger in you begins to disrupt your daily life or starts to consume your everyday thoughts, please seek spiritual and psychological assistance to address your anger issues.

Remember, Even if you are angry, you must not sin: never let the sun set on your anger or else you will give the devil a foothold. – Ephesians 4:26-27 The Jerusalem Bible

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