Anger is an emotion we all deal with in our personal, professional and romantic lives, and it’s not always easy to figure out the best way to deal with anger. When we face these difficult challenges, there is someone we can turn to: Jesus Christ. Jesus is not only the best psychologist, but He is also the best moral teacher. He understands anger and how to deal with being criticized or mistreated. In the Sermon on the Mount, He goes over His fundamental teachings on anger, contempt, and how to deal with interpersonal conflict.

Jesus’ way of dealing with anger is quite different than what we think today. If we begin to deal with anger in the way Jesus taught and modeled, we’ll begin to live more and more in God’s peace. The way Jesus helps us is by helping us to forgive, find security and strength in God’s love, resolve relationship conflicts, and be a blessing to others, even those who are difficult. But if we are looking at the way Jesus dealt with anger, we must be careful in our interpretations of what Jesus is saying and not saying because He is often misunderstood. Here are six ways Jesus dealt with anger.

He took quick and decisive action.

"Those who bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers, and the seats of those who sold pigeons” (Mark 11:15-18). Jesus’ emotion was described as “zeal” for God’s holiness and worship. Because these were at stake, Jesus took quick and decisive action. Another time Jesus showed anger was in the synagogue in Capernaum. When the Pharisees refused to answer Jesus’ questions, ‘He looked around at them in anger, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts” (Mark 3:5).

He responded in a Godly way.

Righteous anger is the godly reaction to sin or injustice. God’s wrath is His settled opposition against sin. In fact, most biblical references to anger refer to God’s anger, not human anger. Jesus was angry without sinning when He encountered unbelief and hypocrisy. The Bible tells us that Jesus, “After looking around them in anger, grieved by the hardness of their hearts, he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was restored (Mark 3:5). If we become like Him, we, too, will be angry and feel hatred toward sin, hypocrisy and injustice.

He turned it into a teachable moment.

Jesus said, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged…First take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye” (Matthew 7:1,5). When someone has a speck in their eye, it hurts. They need help getting it out. But you’re not in a position to help when you have a log in your eye. Usually, when we’re angry, we have a log in our eye that needs to be dealt with. Get help understanding and overcoming the issues in your life – like control, self-righteousness and unforgiveness – that arouse anger. After this, you will be able to see clearly and act compassionately.

He prayed and thought about it.

The Pharisees tried to trap Jesus into contradicting the law or His message of love by bringing him a woman caught in adultery and asking permission to stone her according to the law of Moses. In this situation, he responded incredibly. Jesus paused. There was a long silence, and then, with great wisdom, He affirmed law and grace by inviting whoever was without sin to throw the first stone. They all walked away, confronted by their sins, and Jesus released the woman (John 8:1-11).

He didn’t seek revenge.

Jesus said, “Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matthew 5:44-45). Jesus calls us to share God’s generosity and not to seek revenge when mistreated. If we continue to give in to angry feelings and justify them, the next thing we often do is act on them and get even. Jesus’ point here is not to seek revenge. God is gracious to us, so we should be gracious to others. We have the opportunity to treat conflict and injustice as an opportunity for God to bring out the best in us. Too often, we allow conflict and injustice to bring out the worst in us.

He addressed anger in love.

We learn from Jesus that it’s important not to let anger control us. We are called to address anger in love. Jesus said, “I tell you that anyone angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar, remember that your brother has something against you; leave your gift there in front of the altar. First, go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift. Settle matters quickly with your adversary” (Matthew 5:22-2).

Here, Jesus is not saying that the emotion of anger is sinful. He is saying that anger is dangerous and that we should be careful. One great way to deal with anger is to be the first one to say “I’m sorry” or to offer empathy and compassion. While this may not be fair, you should do it anyway because God does it for you. We have the power to “Forgive as the Lord forgave you” (Colossians 3:13).

When we get angry too often, we have improper control or an improper focus. We fall into certain anger traps. This is the wrath of man, of which we are told, “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires” (James 1:19-20). Jesus did not exhibit man’s anger but the righteous indignation of God.

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