25th September 2023
'Got Questions Ministries' asks
"What does the Bible say about anger?"
Handling anger is an important life skill.
Christian counsellors report that 50 percent of people who come in for counselling have problems dealing with anger.
Anger can shatter communication and tear apart relationships, and it ruins both the joy and health of many. Sadly, people tend to justify their anger instead of accepting responsibility for it.
Everyone struggles, to varying degrees, with anger. Thankfully, God's Word contains principles regarding how to handle anger in a godly manner, and how to overcome sinful anger.
Anger is not always sin.
There is a type of anger of which the Bible approves, often called "righteous indignation."
God is angry (Mark 3:5), and it is acceptable for believers to be angry.
Two Greek words in the New Testament are translated as "anger."
One means "passion, energy" and the other means "agitated, boiling."
Biblically, anger is God-given energy intended to help us solve problems.
Examples of biblical anger include David's being upset over hearing Nathan the prophet sharing an injustice and
Jesus' anger over how some of the Jews had defiled worship at God's temple in Jerusalem.
Notice that neither of these examples of anger involved self-defence, but a defence of others or of a principle.
That being said, it is important to recognise that anger at an injustice inflicted against oneself is also appropriate.
Anger has been said to be a warning flag - it alerts us to those times when others are attempting to or have violated our boundaries.
God cares for each individual.
Sadly, we do not always stand up for one another, meaning that sometimes we must stand up for ourselves.
This is especially important when considering the anger that victims often feel.
Victims of abuse, violent crime, or the like have been violated in some way.
Often while experiencing the trauma, they do not experience anger.
Later, in working through the trauma, anger will emerge.
For a victim to reach a place of true health and forgiveness, he or she must first accept the trauma for what it was.
In order to fully accept that an act was unjust, one must sometimes experience anger.
Because of the complexities of trauma recovery, this anger is often not short-lived, particularly for victims of abuse.
Victims should process through their anger and come to a place of acceptance, even forgiveness.
This is often a long journey.
As God heals the victim, the victim's emotions, including anger, will follow.
Allowing the process to occur does not mean the person is living in sin.
Anger can become sinful when it is motivated by pride, when it is unproductive and thus distorts God's purposes, or when anger is allowed to linger.
One obvious sign that anger has turned to sin is when, instead of attacking the problem at hand, we attack the wrongdoer.
Ephesians 4:15-19 says we are to speak the truth in love and use our words to build others up, not allow destructive words to pour from our lips.
Unfortunately, this poisonous speech is a common characteristic of fallen man.
Anger becomes sin when it is allowed to boil over without restraint, resulting in a scenario in which hurt is multiplied, leaving devastation in its wake.
Often, the consequences of out-of-control anger are irreparable.
Anger also becomes sin when the angry one refuses to be pacified, holds a grudge, or keeps it all inside.
This can cause depression and irritability over little things, which are often unrelated to the underlying problem.
We can handle anger biblically by recognizing and admitting our prideful anger and/or our wrong handling of anger as sin.
This confession should be both to God and to those who have been hurt by our anger.
We should not minimize the sin by excusing it or blame-shifting.
We can handle anger biblically by seeing God in the trial.
This is especially important when people have done something to offend us.
Nothing happens to us that He does not cause or allow.
Though God does allow bad things to happen, He is always faithful to redeem them for the good of His people.
God is a good God.
Reflecting on this truth until it moves from our heads to our hearts will alter how we react to those who hurt us.
Un-edited version, more on anger and Bible references avaiable, on request
Got Questions Ministries
is comprised of dedicated and trained servants who have a desire to assist others in their understanding of God, Scripture, salvation, and other spiritual topics.
We are Christian, Protestant, evangelical, theologically conservative, and non-denominational. We are a para-church ministry, coming alongside the church to help people find answers to their spiritually related questions.
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