My husband and I are huge college basketball fans. Like many of  you, we are saddened that there is no March Madness this year. But we certainly understand why this year is different.

Typically, when March Madness comes, we fill out our brackets and cheer for our teams. For some, that cheering gets out of hand. Anger flies toward the coaches, referees and even players at times.

Sports is just one arena in which we see angry fans lose control now and then. But anger is an emotion we feel often. It’s OK to feel angry, but how you express that anger matters.

Be angry but do not sin. That is our biblical directive. Therefore, think about your anger expression. As you reflect, here are 10 tips to help express anger in appropriate ways:

1) Press pause. Don’t respond immediately when you feel intense anger. Stop and don’t speak. Wait for control. Impulsive reactions usually don’t end well.  My dear brothers and sisters take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. James 1:19

2)  Accept the differences of other people. Stop trying to convert others to your point of view. Instead, listen and realize that not everyone thinks and feels like you do. Try to understand their point of view.

3) Wait until you are calm to speak. Stop the negative cycle of angry outbursts by not engaging in the negative behavior. A quick-tempered person does foolish things, and the one who devises evil schemes is hated. Proverbs 14:17 and Better a patient person than a warrior, one with self-control than one who takes a city. Proverbs 16:32 

4)  Stop talking about what made you angry. When you repeat the story over and over, you give it energy. You will continue to rev up your anger. Instead, distract and let it go.

5) Find the lesson in the anger. Is there something that needs to be corrected, changed, or dealt with better? Look for the lesson. Tremble and do not sin; when you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent. Psalm 4:4

7) Develop fighting rules that keep anger from escalating. When there is conflict or disagreement, know how to fight or disagree without escalating. Venting anger just makes it worse, not better. A hot-tempered person must pay the penalty; rescue them, and you will have to do it again. Proverbs 19:19 and Fools give full vent to their rage, but the wise bring calm in the end. Proverbs 29:11

9) Assess the damage of out of control anger. Is your anger worth the relationship? It is more important to be right then to be merciful? Are you building up your relationship and exercising self-control?  No one likes to be around an angry out of control person—not in a basketball game or during an interpersonal encounter. But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lipsColossians 3:8 and Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person ,do not associate with one easily angeredProverbs 22:24

If you feel your anger is out of control, seek help. And know the Holy Spirit in you produces love and the fruit of the Spirit. One of those fruits is self-control. So deepen your faith walk as well.


For more help with Breaking Free from Anger and Unforgiveness, check out my small book.


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