DOES ANGER HAVE A PLACE?
Anger troubles many people today.
You will hear of someone losing their temper and assaulting someone, or even killing them in a moment of madness.
In PNG if you’re driving a vehicle and kill someone in front of the eyes of family members you are being killed on the spot before the Law of the land comes in. The payback system too takes place anytime at all. Anger is the cause of all this and it can be traced back to the beginning of creation – Cain killed Abel, his brother (GENESIS 4: 5-8). So Anger is human nature’s ugly side.
The Bible tells us to show the love of God in the midst of an angry society. When we receive the Holy Spirit, God equips us to control and manage anger. The fruit of the Holy Spirit is long-suffering (GALATIANS 5:22). Long-suffering – having a long fuse and putting up with injury or inconvenience without getting angry or getting even.
If we’re mad at someone for something that happened a week, a year or ten years ago, we’re choosing to stay angry. It’s a sign and it’s destructive emotionally and spiritually. We’re grieving the Holy Spirit (EPHESIANS 4:30).
The most effective weapon against anger is forgiveness. Forgiveness says we no longer seek revenge. Forgiveness frees us to live in an imperfect world with imperfect people – just like us. It’s grounded in the fact that Jesus forgave us and told us to forgive people who offend us.
When we’re angry and hold grudges we act as though God is not doing his job. The Apostle Paul tells us not to avenge ourselves, but to leave it to God, because “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord” (Romans 12:19).
Anger is a powerful emotion. We must learn to recognize and deal with anger to grow spiritually.
There are two kinds of anger. One is righteous anger and is acceptable.
Bible examples are:
- Moses was angry when Pharaoh had a hard heart and refused to let the Israelites leave Egypt. (EXODUS 7:11).
- God was angry when Moses came down from Mt. Sinai with the Ten Commandments and the Israelites were worshipping a golden calf. (EXODUS 32).
- Jesus was angry when the merchants and money changers were selling things in the temple (MARK 11:15-17).
- Paul was angry because false teachers were deceiving the Galatian Church (GALATIANS 1:6-9).
We may be angry when people used the Lord’s name in vain or denigrate God or the scriptures when people are persecuted for spreading the gospel….This is righteous anger.
“Be angry….” the Bible says (EPHESIANS 4:26).
The other is self-centred anger, or sinful anger and is unacceptable. Frustration can cause sinful anger. You know – you don’t get what you want or people don’t do what you want them to do. We feel angry, helpless and frustrated.
The Apostle James says sinful anger is the wrath of man and not the righteousness of God (JAMES 1:20). It’s about having our feelings hurt, our pride wounded or our ego deflated.
Short tempers and long grudges make for unhappy lives and can affect the Church. If anger isn’t handled correctly, it can be destructive for you and the people you love.
Seek the Lord in prayer, be kind, long-suffering and forgive each other, even as God for Christ’s sake forgave us (EPHESIANS 4:32). If we do this we won’t be troubled by anger, and our lives will be blessed.
“A soft answer turns away wrath; but a harsh word stirs up anger” (PROVERBS 15:1 RSV).
Here are seven ways to deal with offence:
- Be spirit-filled – gain access to spiritual solutions
- Pray – develop Godly attitudes (proactive) and seek Godly wisdom (reactive)
- Delay your response – be slow to anger
- Let it go – let God administer justice, become thick-skinned and long-suffering
- Use Appropriate language – speak in a spirit of love, a soft answer turns away wrath
- Deal with it – Don’t let the sun go down on your wrath
- Forgive – forgiveness heals, healing works first in our hearts