I am a young man who married a woman with two daughters. One of the biggest problems I have is that I am bad‑tempered: I get angry easily. But I have never hit her. When we go out, the youngest daughter always comes back crying, and this bothers me more than it should.
I want you to give me advice on how I can change my disposition.
It is interesting that you have come to realize that you have the desire to change, but you haven’t been able to change on your own. The anger is there inside of you, and you haven’t been able to keep it under control.
Anger is not always a bad thing. We should be angry because people around the world die from hunger and because corrupt leaders persecute and murder their own people. And we should feel anger when criminals are not punished for their actions and when children are abused.
But the anger that is inside of you is not righteous anger; it does not serve a good purpose. Instead, it causes problems in your family. So why haven’t you been able to control it? The apostle Paul answered your question two thousand years ago when he said, “Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.”1
Sin is not a popular word. Some people think it is old‑fashioned or judgmental. But sin is what causes each of us to do things we don’t want to do. And it causes us to not do what we do want to do. It is the product of the sinful nature that each of us was born with. You described perfectly the symptoms of that sinful nature: to be unable to change what you want to change.
There are anger management classes you can attend, and exercises that you can perform to practice controlling your anger. However, the most effective step that you can take is to ask God to forgive you of your sin and ask Him to take over your life. After He cleans out all the sin, you will still have to work on controlling your anger. But God will be there inside of you to help you. He will remind you of what is really important. He will remind you that little things like crying children can be annoying, but they are to be expected. He will help you remember to focus on the good things instead of the bad. And He will help your entire outlook on life to change, which in turn will minimize the anger that you feel.
God loves us enough to provide solutions for our problems. Those solutions can be found when we have a personal relationship with God. He sent His Son Jesus Christ into the world to die on the cross in your place, for your sins, and in our place, for our sins. Take advantage of what He offers!
We wish you well,
Linda and Charles
1 Ro 7:20