Dealing with Anger

Proverbs 14:29
      He that is slow to wrath is of great understanding; but he that is hasty of spirit exalteth folly.

CHARLES BRIDGES (1794-1869): The world judges very lightly of a hasty spirit, except when it touches themselves: ‘it is a fit of passion, soon over and forgotten.’ But does God judge so? See how His Word stamps the native rooted principle: it is giving place to the devil [and] grieving the Holy Spirit, (Ephesians 4:26,27,30); contrary to the mind and example of Christ, (Matthew 9:29; Philippians 2:3-5; I Peter 2:23); inconsistent with the profession of the Gospel (Colossians 3:8,12,13); degrading human nature (Proverbs 17:12; 25:8; 29:20); a work of the flesh, that shuts out from heaven, and condemns to hell (Galatians 5:19-21; Matthew 5:22). Surely then to be slow in wrath―such a fruitful source of sin and misery―is a proof of great understanding.

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): Anger is temporary insanity…I have no more right as a Christian to allow a bad temper to dwell in me than I have to allow the devil himself to dwell there.

THOMAS MANTON (1620-1677): Nothing makes room for Satan more than wrath.

JOHN NEWTON (1725-1807): Our Lord’s admonition [of] Matthew 7:3-5 has always been too little regarded; and few are yet sufficiently convinced of the folly and absurdity of pointing out, and in an angry spirit condemning, the mistakes and faults of others, while we indulge in greater ourselves…I had rather be silent than plead, even for truth, in an angry, contentious spirit; for every year of my life strengthens my conviction of the importance of that [truth], The wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God, James 1:20.

A. W. TOZER (1897-1963): The fury of man never furthered the glory of God.

MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): The worst thing we can bring to a religious controversy is anger.

BENJAMIN KEACH (1640-1704): ’Tis not hard words, but hard arguments that must do the business; a soft answer (as Solomon saith) turneth away wrath, Proverbs 15:1.

ISAAC WATTS (1674-1748): Suppress rising passion early. If you are providentially led into argument and dispute, whether on themes of belief or practice, be very watchful lest you run into fierce contention, [or] into angry and noisy debate. Guard against every word that savours of malice, or of bitter strife; watch against the first stirrings of sudden wrath or resentment; bear with patience the contradiction of others, and forbear to return railing for railing…Bury resentment [and] be deaf to reproaches.

C. H. SPURGEON: There was one woman in [the village of] Waterbeach who bore among her neighbours the reputation of being a regular [scold], and I was told that, sooner or later, she would give me a specimen of her tongue-music. I said, “All right; but that’s a game at which two can play.” I am not sure whether anybody reported to her my answer, but, not long afterwards, I was passing her gate one morning, and there stood the lady herself; and I must say that her vigorous mode of speech fully justified all that I had heard concerning her. The typical Billingsgate fish-woman would have been nowhere in comparison with her. I made up my mind how to act, so I smiled, and said, “Yes, thank you; I am quite well, I hope you are the same.” Then came another outburst of vituperation, pitched in still a higher key, to which I replied, still smiling, “Yes, it does look rather as if it is going to rain; I think I had better be getting on.” “Bless the man!” she exclaimed, “he’s deaf as a post; what’s the use of storming at him?” So I bade her, “Good morning,” and I am not sure whether she ever came to the chapel to hear the deaf preacher who knew it was no use to give any heed to her mad ravings.

WILLIAM ARNOT (1808-1875): The best practical specific for the treatment of anger against persons is to “defer it.” Its nature presses for instant vengeance, and the appetite should be starved. A wise man may indeed experience the heat, but he will do nothing till he cools again. When your clothes are on fire you wrap yourself in a blanket, if you can, and so smother the flame: in like manner, when your heart within has caught the fire of anger, your first business is to get the flame extinguished.

MATTHEW HENRY: Most of our sinful heats and disquietudes would soon vanish before a strict and impartial enquiry into the case of them. “Why am I wroth? Is there a real cause, a just cause, a proportional cause for it? Why am I so soon angry? Why so very angry, and so implacable?”

JOHN CALVIN (1509-1564): Intemperate anger deprives men of their senses.

JOHN TRAPP (1601-1699): Anger may rush into a wise man’s bosom, but [it] should not rest there.

C. H. SPURGEON: On one occasion, when [John] Wesley was preaching, he said, “I have been falsely charged with every crime of which a human being is capable, except that of drunkenness.” He had scarcely uttered these words before a wretched woman started up and screamed out at the top of her voice, “You old villain!―will you deny it? Did you not pledge your bands last night for a noggin of whiskey, and did not the woman sell them to our parson’s wife?” [Then she] sat down amid a thunder-struck assembly. Wesley lifted his hands to heaven, and thanked God that his cup was now full, for they had said all manner of evil against him falsely for Christ’s name’s sake.


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