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Summary: Belligerent people often struggle to control their anger. Their harsh words and sharp tone of voice tend to escalate feelings of hostility in some situations. 70% of arguments are caused by a harsh voice tone. "A harsh word stirs up anger, but a soft ans


Illustration:Whatever is begun in anger ends in shame.

B. Franklin.

Belligerent people often struggle to control their anger. Their harsh words and sharp tone of voice tend to escalate feelings of hostility in some situations. 70% of arguments are caused by a harsh voice tone. "A harsh word stirs up anger, but a soft answer turns away wrath" (Proverbs 14:1).

Faith has a way of turning anger to love. Proverbs 10:12 says, "Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all sins." The Lord’s love enables us to turn our hatred to real love for our enemies.

One family turned their hatred into love as an example of how to turn a tragedy into a triumph.


In Janurary of 1981, Chester Bitterman, a Wycliffe Bible Translator was kidnapped, tortured and killed by terrorists in Columbia, South America. You could well imagine the hatred felt by his family toward the captors. However, Bitterman’s family did not project their anger against the murderers. Through faith, the family, their community and church decided to do good to the murderers of the friend they loved.

In April of 1982, the family decided to apply Christ’s commandment, "Love your enemies and do good to those who despitefully use you. Then your reward in heaven will be great" (Luke 6:35,36).

The entire Lancaster county of Pennsylvania contributed money to buy an ambulance for the State of Meta in Columbia, where the young linguist was brutally murdered. Chester Bitterman’s parents even traveled to Columbia to present the ambulance to the people. During the ceremony, Chester’s mother struggled with her emotions, but spoke these words, "We are able to do this because God has taken the hatred from our hearts!"

Only God is able to help us substitute hatred with love. Jesus gave us the perfect example of one who returned love for hate. Only through the power of the Holy Spirit are we able to return blessings for curses. With the power of God we are able to return good for evil.

For this reason, the following suggestions may also prove to be helpful in those times when anger seems to be getting the best of peoples’ minds, wills, and emotions:

1. Recognize the damage that fleshly anger can bring. "Anger is the chief saboteur of the mind, a significant factor in the formation of many serious diseases.

It is the leading cause of misery, depression, inefficiency, sickness, accidents, loss of work, time wastage, financial loss in industry, marital conflicts, hyper-tension, alcoholism, frigidity, impotence, children’s defiance, rebellion, and many physical illnesses.

Elimination of hostility is a key factor in solving many of life’s serious problems." (Gary Collins, Christian Counseling: A Comprehensive Guide, page 100, Zondervan). Proverbs 15:1 - A harsh word stirs up strife, but a soft answer turns away wrath.

Illustration:A person who is angry on the right grounds, against the right persons, in the right manner, at the right moment, and for the right length of time deserves great praise.

Bits & Pieces, May 27, 1993, p. 1.

2. Understand the righteous causes of anger. Anger may be caused by injustice as when Jesus saw how the moneychangers were turning the temple into a house for profiteers. Jesus said,

"My Father’s house is for prayer, but you have turned it into a robber’s den" (Matt 21:13). Paul said in Ephesians 4:26 - Be angry, but sin not, do not let the sun go down on your anger."

In other words, there are times when we should be righteously indignant, but do not let anger become a regular part of your thought process or it will destroy you from within.

Illustration;The fastest horse cannot catch a word spoken in anger.

Chinese Proverb in Bits & Pieces, July 25, 1992, p. 5.

3. Appreciate the reasons why some people struggle with anger. When people are rejected or put down or feel unjustly criticized or humiliated, they may react with anger. When Jesus was unjustly persecuted He entrusted Himself to the one whose judgment is best. Jesus said,

"Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake."

A. People who are hurt or threatened often want to take vengeance into their hands. The Bible says, "Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.

Greater is He who is in you than He who is in the world. Vengeance is mine, says the Lord I will repay. Do not be overcome with evil, overcome evil with good."

B. Some struggle with maintaining a healthy self-esteem. These folks are vulnerable to hurt and often use anger as a defense from the natural difficulties of life.

C. Pride plays a big part in anger. When people point out our faults, we naturally react with anger.

D. Conditioning contributes to those who have learned angry responses from their environment.

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