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Session 6 – Biblical Approach to Counseling Sinfully Angry People (Sept 2011)

For twenty-five years, Dr. Ernie Baker served as a pastor and equipper of pastors and laymen in biblical counseling. Since 2005, he has been a Professor of Biblical Counseling at The Master’s College and is a certified conciliator with Peacemaker Ministries. He has Level II Certification with the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors and is currently seeking Fellow status. He and his wife Rose Marie have been married since 1981 and are thankful parents of six children.

Dr Ernie Baker at the Biblical Counseling and Discipleship Association of Southern California’s (BCDASoCal) 1st Annual Fall Basic Training Conference

Anger is a natural human emotion, but when it spirals out of control and leads to sin, it requires careful attention and guidance. In the realm of Christian counseling, addressing sinfully angry individuals involves a compassionate yet firm approach rooted in Biblical teachings. This article explores how counselors can effectively guide those struggling with sinful anger, helping them find healing and transformation through faith-based practices.

Understanding the Nature of Sinful Anger

In the Christian context, sinful anger is distinguished from ordinary anger by its intensity, duration, and outcomes. It often results in behavior that harms others and oneself, straying from the teachings of Christ. Ephesians 4:26-27 cautions, “In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.” This scripture highlights the importance of resolving anger quickly and righteously, preventing it from leading to sin.

The Role of the Counselor

Christian counselors serve as navigators who guide the angry individual through their emotional turmoil by grounding their techniques in scriptural truth. The counselor’s role involves several key responsibilities:

  • Listening and Understanding: Counselors must first understand the specific issues and triggers of the individual’s anger. This involves active listening and empathy without condoning sinful behaviors.
  • Biblical Instruction: Providing Biblical instruction is crucial. Counselors use scripture to show both the destructive nature of sinful anger and the redemptive path offered through Christ.
  • Prayer: Integrating prayer into sessions invites divine intervention and helps both the counselor and the counselee focus on God’s ability to transform hearts.
Biblical approach to counseling angry people

Biblical Strategies for Managing Anger

  1. Promote Forgiveness: Forgiveness is a central theme in Christianity, vital for resolving anger. Colossians 3:13 teaches, “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Counselors encourage individuals to forgive those who have wronged them as a step towards healing their own hearts.
  2. Encourage Humility: James 4:6 reminds us, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” Humility is essential in managing anger, as it allows individuals to see situations from others’ perspectives and reduce personal pride, which often fuels anger.
  3. Develop Patience: Patience is a fruit of the Spirit that directly counters the quick, thoughtless reactions typical of sinful anger. Galatians 5:22-23 outlines the fruits of the Spirit that believers should cultivate, which can mitigate and eventually replace sinful responses.
  4. Teach Constructive Communication: Proverbs 15:1 states, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Counselors can teach communication techniques that prevent escalation and promote understanding and peace.

Case Studies and Role-Playing

Using Biblical narratives and modern case studies, counselors can illustrate how anger was handled righteously or poorly, and the consequences that followed. Role-playing different scenarios can also help counselees practice responding to anger in ways that align with Christian teachings.

Continuous Spiritual Growth

Counseling sinfully angry individuals is not a one-time fix but a process of continuous spiritual growth. Counselors encourage regular participation in church activities, Bible studies, and personal devotions to strengthen the counselee’s spiritual foundation, which is critical in overcoming sinful habits.


Counseling sinfully angry people through a Biblical approach requires a balance of truth and grace. By grounding their methods in scripture, promoting spiritual disciplines, and providing practical tools for managing emotions, Christian counselors can guide individuals toward a life where anger is controlled and expressed in healthy, God-honoring ways. This not only benefits the individual but also their relationships and communities, fostering environments where love and peace prevail.

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