If you control your anger you will have no plans to retaliate, no matter what the source of your anger was/is. That also means that you have neither malice nor hatred toward any person, even against the one who arouses your anger. Take as your example, Jesus Christ. When he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously. (I Peter 2:23) Bear a wrong in patience rather than in sin by taking acts of vengeance. God instructs us, Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. (Romans 12:19)
Leave it to God to work out what is right. Even if yours is a righteous indignation in the purest sense of the word, you and I are neither qualified nor authorized to execute vengeance. Bear no spirit of malice toward any person. Let God set things right according to his wisdom.
Keep your emotions unselfish. Direct your anger at the wrong done, not at the person who did the wrong. You continue to love yourself even when you have done wrong, therefore, continue to love another person when he has done wrong to you, or yours.
Suppose that someone stole a valuable item from you. You must hate theft without hating the thief. If someone told a lie on you, you must hate lying without hating the one who did the lying.
Suppose that a child disobeys his parent, willfully and repeatedly disobeying. The parent might become angry. But check the nature of the anger. Is the parent angry because his personal wishes and instructions were ignored? Or is the parent angry because the child is setting a life pattern which will bring great harm in his later life? The first response is selfish and unworthy. The second response is proper and honorable. It is not easy to keep anger directed against the wrong and not against the person who did the wrong. However, it is essential if we handle anger correctly.
Respond with positive and constructive actions to right and also to wrong. President Abraham Lincoln saw the slave market and resolved to do something about it. He did not attack the slave owners. He attacked the institution of slavery. He sought to cut the tap root of the evil practice and by so doing put a stop to the growth of the plant.
It has been said, It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness. Apply that to the subject of anger. It is better to correct the problem than to complain about the consequences. Anger alone is never constructive.
I read of a certain location where the highway ran very close to the edge of a cliff. Once and again an automobile failed to make the curve and ran over the cliff. Someone suggested that there should be an ambulance kept at the bottom of the cliff to hasten the transportation of people to the hospital. One other suggested there should be a guard rail built beside the road. Which solution was better? Head off the danger before it occurs, of course.
I suggest that you do not wait until the anger has lashed out and done its damage. Head it off. Do the positive and the constructive things to remedy the problem of anger.
Kelton F. Richardson has a doctorate in social psychology and has worked with individuals and families experiencing marital problems. A student of the Bible, he lives in Cortez.