<<fury, rage>>

Anger or ill temper is always a secondary emotion, a reaction to what caused it. As an emotion in itself, it is neither right nor wrong. The rightness or wrongness depends on the reason for the anger and the way it is expressed. It is sinful when selfishly directed against others – arising from wounded pride, disappointment, needs or rights not being ministered to, personal insult, irritation or bitterness,

This emotion must be under firm control

our will is opposed, comfort disturbed or opinion questioned. We give way to frustration as our wants, needs or expectations are not met because of inadequacy, inferiority or failure. Anger is a dangerous emotion that can easily get out of control with serious consequences that violate God’s command to love so the Bible instructs, “Refrain from anger” and “Do not make friends with a person who easily gets angry as you may learn their ways” for temper is never the means of achieving God’s true goodness, rather using gentle words will defuse anger (Ps 37:8; Prov 15:1, 22:24,25; Jas 1:19,20).

Rights are something we can legitimately expect to receive from another. It is the other person’s prerogative to extend them to us. Expectations are what we believe we should receive from another. Responsibilities are the obligation we have to fulfill the rights of others. Yet the Bible instructs us to yield our rights and expectations to God in meekness which is the opposite of anger and focus on our responsibilities to others (2 Tim 2:25).

God, Himself, can be angered but it is never selfishly motivated or from pride. When we, His people, refuse to go His way, it is the righteous response of His holy nature to our sin (Deut 29:25-28; Josh 23:16; Jdg 2:11-14; Mk 3:5, 11:15-17). God, who is slow to anger, is against those who forsake Him (Ezra 8:22; Jer 4:4; Nah 1:3). We too should be angry about sin, causing us to pray and stand against Satan the real enemy. While our anger directed at sin or the mistreatment of others is not wrong, it must not add to the problem by being destructive in action or words, by taking the situation into our hands and dealing out the punishment which God says He’ll do (Neh 5:6,7; Rom 12:19).

Anger can be handled in three ways

1/. Repressed – buried, denied or hidden. This approach does not resolve anything.

2/. Expressed immediately – letting fly with verbal or physical outbursts of violence. Such action is without any thought of the impact and damage that will result from such indiscriminate abuse in one form or another. This may bring relief, but if not directed at the real cause it only dumps the anger onto someone else.

3/. Processed properly – the best response. Admit you are angry, and figure what is the trigger point that needs addressing. As this is your problem, own responsibility and deal with it. After acknowledging the inner emotion consider what is the best expression or means to resolve the issue. Sometimes this can be to deny it’s expression as an act of service to God. So when experiencing this emotion don’t vent it immediately but try and hold steady so you can deal with it in the most appropriate way. At other times, the process may require confronting the person, forgiving them or giving up our own expectations that are causing the problem. The Bible’s advice is “In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry” – so deal with it by directing the energy of this emotion towards a solution – not towards yourself or others which allows Satan to get a hold in your life (Eph 4:26,27)

Unresolved anger causes us to focus on the bad character traits of others, blinding us to their good points, while breeding resentment and preventing closeness and growth. Anger causes damage to the container in which it is stored! We are never more vulnerable to evil than when angry – self-control is needed not to react with words or actions that we will later regret. Reason decreases as emotions rise.

Do I repress, express or process my anger?

We are given the choice and responsibility to master all such wrong emotions – “What right have you to be angry?” (Gen 4:6,7). You can control what you get angry over if you can control your thinking!

In humility we can constructively bring about a positive change by praying for those who mistreat us or others, returning good for evil, extending forgiveness and love while seeking to point them to Jesus which is the ministry of reconciliation (Mt 5:44; 2 Cor 5:18; 1 Pet 3:9-12). Responding in the opposite spirit is not a natural response for our fallen humanity yet it is the new nature and is a powerful antidote to any negative emotion directed at us. Exercise restraint and tolerance, cool down and look at the situation in logical light – commonsense functions only at low temperature! This is not to excuse sin, rather address it when you can deal with it rationally (Prov 14:29, 15:18, 16:32). When you know you are wrong but refuse to admit it, this is dishonest and sinful.

Practically, be aware that you are more prone to anger when you are stressed or hungry because of low blood sugar levels.

See also: abuse, conflict, emotions, frustration, irritation, not being ministered to, opposite spirit, reaction, responsible/responsibilities, rights, self-control, temper, thinking/thoughts, tongue, violence, wrath of God.