• Welcome to Talk Jesus Christian Forums

    Celebrating 20 Years!

    A bible based, Jesus Christ centered community.

    Register Log In

Forgiveness: God's Antidote for Anger

Staff Member

Forgiveness is God's antidote for bitterness, wrath, and anger. Thus, forgiveness is superior to "ventilation." Forgiveness also is a key to solving problems in communication, such as arguing. Thus, forgiveness is a key principle of Christian living.

Forgiveness is often a key for overcoming other problems: hurt feelings, guilt, depression, postpartum depression, sexual abuse, anorexia, bulimia, marriage, child rearing, and divorce.

People tend to be like pressure cookers. As offenses received from others are stuffed inside, the pressure inside increases.

In pressure cookers, steam is released periodically by a pressure control that makes a jiggling sound as it lifts and returns to its seat. But if the pressure control does not work, the steam pressure will continue to increase until the pressure plug melts, and then the steam will be released in one big burst.

Some people function like the pressure control. With each offense they receive, some of their anger comes out in words or actions that are anything but pleasant and edifying. Others function like the pressure plug. They hold the pressure of their anger inside for a while, and then blow up like a volcano.

One secular way of handling anger is to "ventilate" the feelings of anger. This fits the analogy of the pressure cooker and the "jiggling" pressure control. If it really helped, ventilating feelings would be a reasonable way to handle anger.

But ventilating feelings has one very serious drawback. It is addictive. Each outburst is practice in losing self control. When children ventilate their feelings, we call it a temper tantrum. When adults do it, the world calls it therapy.

Unfortunately, some Christians advocate mini-temper tantrums as a way of releasing anger, thereby supposedly preventing hurtful behavior. One writer teaches that mothers who are angry at their children should break some inanimate object, such as a pencil, to prevent harming them. But, after developing a habit of doing something violent, what if a mother gets to the child before she can find something to break?

God has a better way than ventilation. He has an antidote for anger that works. But, before we consider His way of handling anger, let's consider the nature of feelings, such as anger.

One pastor/counselor teaches that your feelings are like the indicator lights on the dashboard of your car.1 If the temperature light comes on, what is wrong with the bulb? Nothing. The bulb is faithfully doing its duty--showing you that something is wrong under the hood.

In like manner, when you are angry, your feelings are working exactly as God designed them to function. They are telling you that something is wrong "under your hood." That is why the Bible, paraphrased, says, "OK, so you are angry, don't sin" (Eph. 4:26). Your feelings of anger are not sinful. What you do when you are angry may be.

God's antidote for anger is forgiveness. The Bible says, "Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger . . . be put away from you, with all malice" (Eph. 4:31).

Since, as discussed above, you cannot control your feelings by acts of the will, it would not make sense to change Ephesians 4:31 to read: "Get rid of your bitterness, and wrath, and anger." And this change would obscure a very important biblical principle of Christian living. Unfortunately, one version makes this serious error.2

Understanding the conjunction "and" that connects Ephesians 4:31 and 4:32 is helpful in gaining an understanding of God's antidote for anger. This "and" in the Greek New Testament is not like "Jack and Jill went up the hill"--it does not connect two things in parallel. Instead, it show a sequential, causal, or consequential relationship between two ideas, thoughts, or actions.

Sometimes this "and" is translated "that is" to introduce an explanation. If we translate this "and" with "that is," then verses 31 and 32, paraphrased, say, "Let God put away your bad feelings. That is, do what verse 32 teaches."

Verse 32 says that the way to "let God" put away your anger, is to forgive. But how are you to forgive? About half of our English versions say that you are to forgive "as God . . . forgave you." Others say that you are to forgive "as God . . . has forgiven you." The Greek text of the New Testament will allow verse 32 to be translated either way, but the context demands that it be translated "as God . . . has forgiven you."3

"As God has forgiven you" conveys the idea of repetitive action. God has forgiven us, as believers, unconditionally, time after time. Jesus has interceded for us each and every time we have sinned (1 John 2:1.)

If we are to forgive "as God has forgiven us," then, even as God's repetitive judicial forgiveness of us, as believers, is unconditional, we must forgive unconditionally. We must forgive anytime we have anything against anyone (Mark 11:25). We cannot, we must not, wait for repentance of those who offend us (Luke 17:3-4).4

So what is God's antidote for bitterness, wrath, and anger? Forgiveness. Pray and release the penalty of the offense to God if/whenever you have anything against anyone, as taught in Mark 11:25.5

Perhaps you have noticed that the "clamor" (loud arguing) and "evil speaking" (slander) of Ephesians 4:32 have not been considered. Obviously, one way of avoiding sinful communications depends upon acts of the will in which your mouth is clamped shut. However, in practice, your mouth is likely to pop open at inopportune times.

But if God puts away your bitterness, wrath, and anger, together with your ill will, won't God also be putting away your sinful communications by taking away the pressure that all too often results in sinful communications?

Therefore, the unconditional forgiveness of Mark 11:25 is not only God's antidote for bad feelings, such as anger, but also His way to avoid sinful communications.6 It is biblical advice to say, "Don't use corrupt words" or to say, "Use edifying words" (Eph. 4:29). But the power to obey is taught in Ephesians 4:31, 32. Pray and release to God the penalty of offenses against you and against those that you love. Let God put away your unwholesome words ("clamor and evil speaking").


1. Pastor Bill Goode

2. New International Version

3. Although some translations render the aorist verb of "forgive" by the English simple past tense, the perfective aspect of the aorist tense is also accurately rendered by the English present perfect, and the context, in two places, demands the English present perfect. See: Chapter 10, "Overcoming Enemy Control " and endnotes 18-27 of Chapter 10, in Forgiveness: The Power and the Puzzles by Wendell E. Miller.

4. See Forgiveness: Obedience and Fellowship at Biblical Counseling Association for a discussion of the clear distinctives between the vertical forgiveness of Mark 11:25 and the horizontal forgiveness of Luke 17:3-4.

5. Vertical forgiveness, the unconditional kind taught in Mark 11:25 and Ephesians 4:32, releases the penalty of the offense to God. Horizontal forgiveness, the conditional forgiveness of Luke 17:3-4, is used to forgive the offender.

6. Although Ephesians 4:32 teaches God's primary antidote for bad feelings, such as anger, forgiveness "doesn't always work." See Chapter 12, "When Forgiveness Doesn't Work" in Forgiveness: The Power and the Puzzles. See also, Chapter 10, "Overcoming Enemy Control," and Chapter 11, "Extending the Power of Forgiveness."

Reference/Resource Material

The material in Forgiveness: Obedience and Fellowship follows, in general, one of the thirteen chapters of Forgiveness: The Power and the Puzzles, by Wendell E. Miller, published by ClearBrook Publishers, P.O Box 1534, Warsaw, IN 46581.
This is a tricky one, for me at least. Ideally, I love what this says. However, practically I have a hard time with it. Then again - I suppose nothing worth doing is easy, is it? :wink:

I looked at the references (most notably: Obedience and Fellowship at Biblical Counseling Association), but am still left with some questions.

I know by reading the rules of this forum I am supposed to back up with scripture what I write/say. However, my knowledge of the Bible is still limited, and while I know what I've read, I don't always remember where it came from specifically. I will do my best, though.

I guess what it comes down to, is how to recognize and when is it appropriate to draw the line between forgiving someone and allowing them to take advantage of you.

For instance chapter 18 of Matthew. I'm sure I just need clarification, but the story seems rather round about to me. With offense, forgiveness, then retribution - almost an 'un-forgiving' it seems.

Here is what I get from reading it: Matthew 18:15-17 Try to forgive, but if the offender refuses to work with you then forget him. But then Matthew 18:22 basically says forgive endlessly. Then it goes on to tell the story about how a servant owed a lord money, the lord forgave him his debts and all seemed well. The forgiven man then turned around and demanded payment from another who owed him money. The lord of the servant was informed of this and came down heavy on the servant, thereby basically 'un-forgiving' him.

So, I guess my question is, if you forgive, yet the person you are forgiving - even though they speak remorse and intend to make things right - still keeps offending, do you keep forgiving them and keep allowing yourself to be taken advantage of, or do you just walk away from the situation, even though you may have other obligations holding you to that person?
Praise the Lord...

Blessings !!!

There is a difference in "Asking Questions" than attempt to prove something in the Word, and when put on the carpet so to speak, fail to back what you attempted to Prove with Scripture..

For instance chapter 18 of Matthew. I'm sure I just need clarification, but the story seems rather round about to me. With offense, forgiveness, then retribution - almost an 'un-forgiving' it seems.

First off the Scripture says.. "Brother sinned against you" As in Brother and sister in Christ.... If they refuse to listen... take it to someone else... (Provide they go that far) If that fails... take it to the Church or Pastor.. If they refuse, then have nothing else to do with them.. More than you would a tax collector, or other people you have dealings with from time to time.

If they ask you to forgive them... then do so.... If they have to ask again.. do it again... They continue to see they have a issue and ask you to forgive them....

Being forgiven, Means your not taking any Revenge............
The Body of Christ has been in Bondage to this concept....

Once again.. forgiving someone, means your not taking revenge.... Or selling their family and children for money.

It does not mean that person Holds the same place in your life they once did.......

If I come to your house... and always leave with a few of your items... like a TV, or some DVD's.... You can completely forgive me...for those sticky fingers...

However, Me being forgiven, does not mean you letting me back inside your house. I have lost that place with you. You have to be faithful with the things God has given you, and that means not allowing others who can't be trusted in your life to distract, or even diminish what you do have.

You can still pray for me... and even help me If your heart tells you to, but that does not mean I get to come back over for a visit.

Pro 25:21
If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink:
Pro 25:22 For thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head, and the LORD shall reward thee.

So, I guess my question is, if you forgive, yet the person you are forgiving - even though they speak remorse and intend to make things right - still keeps offending, do you keep forgiving them and keep allowing yourself to be taken advantage of, or do you just walk away from the situation, even though you may have other obligations holding you to that person?

Anyone keeping you From Serving God, Destroying Your Joy, Keeps offending you... It's time to cut them off. Spouses included.

Jas 3:16 For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.

Repenting means to turn around..... change... No change, they never repented.... It's time to say to them.. "Hey, Your not hurting me any more... God never designed me to endure this."

That person needs to be someplace else... You can still pray for them, love them, and even help them... but they lost the place where they can keep hurting you....

When to let them back in??

We are not God, and it's up to them to get with God, and for God to let us know if and/or When then can have that place back they once had with us..

If they are OK with God, they are OK with me......

Rom 12:17
Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.
Rom 12:18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.

Once Again..... Forgiveness, means you not holding hatred in your heart, You pray for them every time unforgiveness creeps in your thinking... your not to get back at them. This does not mean, they still have a place though...

Jesus Is Lord.
What if you not angry at a person but just angry at the situation you are in? How can you forgive a situation?
What if you not angry at a person but just angry at the situation you are in? How can you forgive a situation?

Great question, and one that I've often wondered about. When someone does something do we act out at that person in bitterness because they are the ones who did the act, or is it because we are angry with the situation, and they are a convenient to place the blame on? This article below is the conclusion I've come to in my own walk..


So many today are living in fear. These are indeed fearful times that are coming upon the earth. Even now suicides are on the increase, drug and alcohol abuse is skyrocketing among the youth and others. Hope for the future is looking hopeless.

From the Mayan Calendar predictions to the Book of Revelation we see news story after news story of nothing but calamities, tribulations, and a picture of a world gone mad. And the only thing in store, is more and worse of the same.

Paganism and New Age are also on the rise due to the need of so many who are at the end of their own endurance. They are seeking for a good word, that we can somehow turn the course of events and everything will be OK. That there is some higher power that can come and fix all the wrongs, and bring utopia.

Talk and dreams of invasions of the West from Russia, China, and even aliens are added to the list daily. Nightmares of being imprisoned much like the Jews and others in The Holocaust are confirmed by conspiracies of prison camps springing up seemingly overnight. Predictions and speculations of the rise of the one world government, the Anti-Christ, and the mark of the beast are in no short supply. The threats of earthquakes, hurricanes, and a worldwide economic collapse are on the minds of weather trackers and economists. It seems everyone these days has an ominous feeling of the other shoe about to drop. That these are the good ol’ days, and the world will never be the same from here.

With all of this, what should the Christian response be. We are in the world, not of it, but does that immunize the mind from fear of what is ahead? Even though we are Christ’s, we still are human and have concerns for our, family, friends and self.

The Christian Response

So many passages and verses from scripture are set before us to encourage us, and draw us to Christ. Of which 1Pe 4:12 is one of the most popular: Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: 13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.

There is no doubt that judgment falls on the righteous and unrighteous the same, but that trial, tribulation, and uncertainty should work a different response from those who’s Lord is Jesus. The fires of affliction that come upon us can be used to purify our own lives, but they can also be used to bring others to Christ, and to strengthen those around us.

Isa 48:10
Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.

2Co 8:2 How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality.

There is one book of the Bible that shows how the response of a great trial of affliction worked toward a saint becoming an encouragement for other Christians, and the reason some unbelievers came to Christ all the while he is talking about the process of becoming perfected in Christ (Php 3:12).

The book of Philippians was written by Paul while imprisoned in Rome.

Php 1:10 That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ;
Php 1:11 Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.
Php 1:12 But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel;
Php 1:13 So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places;
Php 1:14 And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.

How were the brethren waxed confident by Paul’s bonds? It was because of his response. His continual faithfulness in speaking the Gospel. He was not afraid of trusting the Lord no matter what the outcome of his own self was.

Php 1:20 According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death.
Php 1:21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
Php 1:22 But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not.
Php 1:23 For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:
Php 1:24 Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.
Php 1:25 And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide and continue with you all for your furtherance and joy of faith;

This is going to have to be our response as followers of Christ. This type of attitude can not be faked, nor can we find it in our own mind, feelings and emotions. It can only be had through surrendering to the Lord. Giving Him all things, and asking for His faithfulness and ability to be placed in us. It is only by His Spirit that we will endure these type of tribulations that Paul went through, and is coming. Things will be worse than even at this time of Paul. How much more surrender will it take for us to stay faithful?

Then there is the temptation of wanting to give up. Wanting to die because that really is the better life with Christ. But what spurs Paul on is his love for Christ’s people, his brethren.

1Ti 6:12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.

There is always a reason to continue the good fight.

Php 2:13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
Php 2:14 Do all things without murmurings and disputings:
Php 2:15 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;
Php 2:16 Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.
Php 2:17 Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all.
Php 2:18 For the same cause also do ye joy, and rejoice with me.

Sounds like Paul was describing our very own state of affairs. A crooked and perverse nation. This is the sacrifice and service of faith. To shine as lights in the world, to be purified and set as an example and witness where ever we are placed. What ever state we are in, to remain faithful.

Php 3:8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,
Php 3:9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:
Php 3:10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;
Php 3:11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.
Php 3:12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.
Php 3:13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
Php 3:14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Php 3:20 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:
Php 3:21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.

Suffered the loss of all things. That is what the trials and afflictions can do. Burn off all the dross. Being made in His image through a process.

There is a method of glazing pottery called Sodium Vapor Glazing.

Sodium Vapor Glazing

Salt Glazed Pottery incorporates a unique method of glaze application.
Salt glazing is a process where pots are engulfed in a sea of sodium vapors and fire. Salt is inserted into the kiln at 2000 degrees, releasing sodium which acts as a flux on the silica in the pots. This action creates a unique glaze. The entire process is called "vapor glazing"
The Pottery is actually glazed by sodium vapors in the kiln, rather than by a coating of glaze minerals applied to the surface of the pot before firing.

The amount of salt used, depends on the intent of the potter.
Adding a pound of salt per cubic foot of kiln volume
is usual for potters seeking deep texture.

Please notice that the glaze is applied while the pot is in the kiln. And it is the Master who applies the salt at the right time. We can trust that our Lord knows what He is doing.

But there is another application to this. Through the affliction, where we are weak, He is strong. In our own weakness, we ask for His strength, and He provides. It is a glaze of provision through the afflictions. The more of His provision, the deeper the texture, or the less of the original state of the pot is seen. It is a process of glazing that the salt is added at the end of the firing. The more salt added the hotter the fire. The deeper the texture.

Quite the picture as we race toward the end of the age.

Php 4:5 Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.
Php 4:6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
Php 4:7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Php 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
Php 4:9 Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.

Php 4:22 All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Caesar's household.
Php 4:23 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen. To the Philippians written from Rome, by Epaphroditus.

The most striking thing about this story is that Paul was talking about the brethren in Ceasars court! No matter where the guy landed, he preached the Gospel, and counted not his life.

The most important thing we can be is a light to the world. When things start to get very hard, and people are terrified...who are they going to look to? Someone who is faithful and steadfast in the Lord. A person who is not falling apart because the ride is uncertain.

That does not mean that we will not die, or some family members, friends wont die through these things that are coming, but it means that to remain faithful strengthening those around us by His Spirit within us. The only way Paul and the other early Apostles, and many others through history were able to face their own tribulations was because of their faith in the Lord to see them through. Stephen comes to mind as one of the best examples in scripture of remaining faithful. Somehow I think that Paul's witnessing, and actually applauding that saint's death had more of an impact on Paul's life than is evident in the scriptures.
Many terrible deed are done out of anger. The secular world does not teach self-control well; it is something that we must learn through God and faith and perserverance. It is difficult not to take our anger out on someone or something in the heat of the moment, but by praying and forgiving we are less likely to act on our feelings. Though forgiveness is sometimes easier said than done, it is the best way of dealing with anger. If you find it hard to forgive and people make you angry, Jesus said in Matthew 5:11, "God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers."