How Might a Brother Consider His Anger as a Christian vs. an “Angry Black Man”?

Pastor Tony Carter
Pastor Tony Carter

I’m angry, and I don’t really care what they say
(I don’t really care what they say)
I’m angry, nobody better get in my way
(nobody better get in my way)

– “Anger Management” by Lecrae

I grew up around angry men. My father, my uncles, my brothers all at some time or another demonstrated what is commonly known as the “angry black man” syndrome. Some were seemingly able to control it and didn’t get in to too much trouble. Others however (too many in fact), tragically hurt others and themselves out of anger. I have known my own share.

I recall (not so fondly) a few years ago having an argument with my wife over something frivolous. While I was busy making my point and demanding my rightness, she looked at me and said the words I have never forgotten, “Honey you are right, but why do you get so angry?” I have never forgotten those words. They cut me to the core. It was as if the Lord himself spoke them to me. And in one sense, he had. I pledged on that day to fight that sin head on.

Anger kills. Few things sap your spiritual vitality and eat at your ability to live in obedience to God than anger. Anger can undermine your faithfulness, sideline you, and make you and your testimony of none effect. Anger is a disabler. It disables our ability to live in the grace we have received from God. It disables our ability to extend that grace to others.

As a black man, I have often been excused from dealing with my anger because after all in America, “All black men are angry.”  First of all, that’s not true. Secondly, to whatever extent you and I might think it is true does not justify my anger, nor make it right.

As a Christian I am called to examine myself. I am called to look honestly at my heart and motives and acknowledge and confess the sin that is there. Admittedly, when examined, I have too often found anger unchecked. Thankfully, in dealing with my anger, I have found the following principles personally helpful and encouraging.  I share them with you, not to insist you proceed along these lines, but to offer some encouragement in dealing with an insidious sin that is crippling too many men I know.

1. Admit that anger is a problem. Until you see your anger as a problem and consequently call it what it is—sin to be put away, you will continue to justify it. You will continue to allow it to eat at your spirit and corrode your relationships. Be willing to listen to others if you can’t seem to listen to yourself. And when they speak, consider it may be the voice of God to you.

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SOURCE: The Gospel Coalition
Tony Carter