Of all our emotions, anger is perhaps the rawest, strongest, and potentially the most destructive. Anger is created by our thinking. It begins with an event that we notice and the
interpretation we place on it. The result of your interpretation is a feeling that leads to emotional action. (Turner) Anger is the result of emotional frustration or hostility.
The expression of anger is on the rise. Today we have people shooting each other over incidents that ten years ago would have just produced an expletive or two. People feel no hesitancy today in taking out their rage against another person in ways that end up sending them to jail or prison. Anger for many people is an uncontrollable emotion. Ironically, anger can often do more harm to the person who expresses it than to the person who is on the receiving end of it. A quote attributed to several different people:
“Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to the person on whom it is poured.”
Anger is mentioned as the precursor of sin throughout the Scriptures. (Genesis 4:3-7; Proverbs 22:24, 29:22, 30:33,
Jesus experienced anger and yet did not succumb to sin. He lives within us to help us. Our relationship to Christ gives us hope and power to deal successfully with anger.
Types of Anger
Rage – vicious, explosive anger that seeks to hurt others verbally or physically. “Fits of rage” is one of the works of the flesh in Galatians 5.
Resentment – inner turmoil that seethes and boils. It can be a response toward someone who wronged you or an unjust situation that hurt you or your loved ones. Hebrews 12:15 says, “See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.”
Righteous Indignation- This is the kind of anger we feel when we witness certain forms of injustice and wicked acts. It should motivate us to become positively involved by our love for God and regard for His honor in opposing social or personal evils. We must be careful for even our good intentions can be sabotaged by Satan.
A man who is angry on the right grounds, against the right persons, in the right manner, at the right moment and for the right length of time deserves great praise. ~Aristotle
The Effects of Anger
Physical ailments. Anger can produce a host of physical problems ranging from ulcers to hypertension. If entertained on a sustained basis, anger can be very detrimental to your physical health.
Emotional ailments. Probably the most common companion of anger is depression. Depression is often anger turned inward.
Anger is usually displayed in one of two ways:
*Physical or verbal outburst. A person may throw a punch, pound a fist against the wall, slam a door or phone receiver, swear, or shout, among other physical manifestations. Every form of abuse—sexual, physical, emotional, verbal—has anger at its root.
*Brooding silence. The person internalizes the anger and allows it to seep into the subconscious. The person who broods in silent anger may manifest an eruption of that anger at a later date.
There are other manifestations of anger, including…
*We cannot respond with sensitivity to the needs of others.
*We lose our ability to feel compassion.
*We cause estrangement.
*We require unrealistically high standards of behavior from others to compensate for the way we feel we have been injured or attacked
*We become highly judgmental.
What Not To Do With Anger (Ephesians 4:31-32) David Jeremiah offers these thoughts
from this passage:
Don’t Nurse Your Anger. While sundown is used here as a figure of speech, it is an excellent way to assess the state of your anger.
Don’t Rehearse Your Anger. When we verbalize our anger to another person all we are doing is confirming it, making our convictions deeper.
Don’t Converse about Your Anger. Conversing about your anger to others takes the form of corrupt communication coming out of your mouth (verse 29). In the NT, the word “corrupt” was the word for “cutting.” Paul is saying don’t let words which have a cutting effect come out of your mouth. The kind of speech we are to be characterized by is edifying speech, words that impart grace to the hearers (verse 29).
Don’t Disperse Your Anger. Nor your bitterness, wrath, clamor, evil speaking, or malice (verse 31). Sinful anger is just one of a number of sinful responses and behaviors that is not to proceed from the life of a Christian, a person controlled by the Holy Spirit.
Do Reverse Your Anger. Do that with forgiveness and lovingkindness and tenderness. Go to the person towards whom you have directed your anger and you minister to that person. (Romans 12:20-21)
Dealing with Anger
Remember that not all anger is sinful or even bad. Over 500 times in the OT God is said to be angry. The Creator of man is moved when His creation rebels against Him. We, too, should be moved by the ungodliness of the world. We remember, too, that God’s anger is free from malice, injustice, unethical and hasty qualities. It is a natural expression of his nature. There are occasions when it is appropriate to express our feelings to one another.
Acknowledge your anger to yourself and God. Have you been honest with God and yourself regarding your anger, or have you tried to hide it under a layer of superficial Christianity? (1 John 2:9-11). Scriptures are clear that God has given us a new life. Galatians 2:20; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Romans 6:6; Colossians 3:5-10. Trust Him enough to live it.
Identify the source of your anger. Is it a person? Are you taking out your anger on someone else? Identifying your source of anger will keep you from hurting others who are innocent. Perhaps you are angry at someone at work and take it out on your family. Psalm 37:8 Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do fret—it leads only to evil.
Trust God to set things right. Romans 12:19-21 / James 1:19-20.
Pray About Your Anger. 1 Timothy 2:8 Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing.
God wants you to experience an abundant life. Suppressed anger or ongoing rage and resentment is a spiritual barrier reef erected against the love of God. People or circumstances may have hurt you, but you can respond in forgiveness through
your new life in Christ. You are not a victim of your circumstances but a victor through Jesus Christ.
Thanks for reading,
Stanley, C. F. (1997). Dealing With Life’s Pressures (electronic ed.). Atlanta: In Touch Ministries.
Stanley, C. F. (1997). Becoming emotionally whole (electronic ed.). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.
Jeremiah, D. (2001). Facing the giants in your life: Study guide (pp. 67–76). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.
Jeremiah, D. (2001). Slaying the giants in your life (pp. 104–120). Nashville, TN: W Pub.
Turner, J. J. How to Win Over Emotions