Control Your Anger – Exploring the Passages

Below are some preliminary questions to assist in the study of this passage. For a comprehensive study of the passage, download the Study Guide (PDF download).

1. What does Proverbs 14:17a (printed below) tell us about “a quick tempered man?”

A quick-tempered man will do foolish things… (Proverbs 14:17a)

When you lose your temper you also lose your reason and your long-range perspective. Later, when the flames of your anger have been extinguished, when you return to your senses, you regretfully survey the damage: hurtful words that leave deep wounds, broken relationships cut off by deep and wide chasms, stupid decisions that sometimes can never be undone. When you surrender to your temper, remember what else you are surrendering: your reason, your long-range perspective—and remember what you are getting in exchange: the painful consequences of foolish behavior, some of which consequences may last for a lifetime.

2. What does Proverbs 19:19 (printed below) tell us about “a man of great wrath?”

A man of great wrath shall bear the penalty, for if you deliver him, you must do so again. (Proverbs 19:19)

When you surrender yourself to your temper you are handing yourself over to the devil for his destructive use; but afterward you receive “the bill” for damages done! Often times you must deal with such consequences as remorse, regret, guilt, shame, and alienation. The latter part of this proverb indicates that this pattern will continue to repeat itself unless the root cause is dealt with. Unless your temper is harnessed and surrendered to the control of Christ, it shall continue to run roughshod wrecking havoc, no matter how many times your friends pick up the pieces and do damage control.

3. Consider Proverbs 15:1 (printed below.) What is “a contrite answer?” What affect does it have?

A contrite answer turns away wrath; but a harsh word stirs up anger. (Proverbs 15:1)

In a highly charged emotional situation, the response that is gentle, kind and contrite is the kind that turns away rising anger. The Hebrew term sometimes translated “a soft answer” literally means “a contrite answer.” In other words, the admission of guilt when one is at fault and the seeking of forgiveness from the offended party. When wrath is stirred up against us our first reaction is to defend ourselves and justify ourselves; but if we pause to listen and reflect, we will often times discover that there was some just cause for the anger directed against us. If upon making such a discovery, we respond with a humble and contrite reply—honestly admitting our fault and expressing our regret and seeking forgiveness—we will be doing a great deal to alleviate the situation and open a door for reconciliation.

4. What does Proverbs 16:32 (printed below) tell us about the man who is “slow to anger?”

He who is slow to anger is greater than the mighty, and he who controls his spirit is greater than he who conquers a city. (Proverbs 16:32)

Note that in Proverbs 16:32 the one “who is slow to anger” is further described as the one “who controls his spirit;” i.e., being slow to anger is an exercise in self-control. It is an evidence of spiritual and moral maturity (2 Peter 1:5-8). Furthermore, it should be pointed out that self-control is a fruit of the Holy Spirit (note Galatians 5:22-23), an attribute that is developed as we yield ourselves to the Holy Spirit and His work of grace in our lives.

5. According to Proverbs 20:22 (printed below), what must we do when we have the desire to avenge ourselves for a wrong committed against us?

Do not say, “I will repay evil!” Wait for Jehovah, and he will deliver you. (Proverbs 20:22)

We may not engage in personal acts of vengeance and retribution; because by so doing we are sinfully usurping a prerogative God has reserved for Himself (note Romans 12:19). We are to be imitators of our Lord Jesus Christ: “When they insulted him, he did not insult them; when he suffered, he did not threaten; rather, he committed himself to him who judges righteously.” (1 Peter 2:23)