For the past couple of weeks, my One Day at a Time email devotions have focused on how to deal with anger. I have *SO* needed to hear some truth from God about anger right now. Anger is an emotion, and it is sometimes justified. God Himself becomes angry at certain behaviors and situations. Jesus displayed anger when He cleared the temple. So, clearly, anger itself is not a sin. The goal is to not let anger control you or sin in your anger.
Here are some excerpts from the past few weeks that have really helped me to process and move through my anger at certain situations and people.
Anger can root deeply, grow quickly, and choke out your emotional health. Unless you cut away at your anger and learn to express it in a healthy manner, it can cause great harm to you and to others around you.
A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control (Proverbs 29:11).
Your feelings are going to be overpowering sometimes, but . . . people are much worse off if they don’t let those feelings rage through their bodies. You have to rage, pounding your fists. You have to scream, whine, moan, and complain to your nearest and dearest friends; you have to do whatever you can to let it pass through your system.
Jesus showed righteous anger when he saw people buying and selling their goods in the temple, making a profit from religious activities rather than revering God.
Do not feel guilty about your anger. Instead, express your feelings straight to God. Rant and rave and cry out to Him, but then realize that He is God. He loves you very much, and He is not the one to blame for your circumstances.
In the Bible, Job was a righteous man who underwent great pain, loss, and suffering. Job was not afraid to express his confusion and despair to God.
I loathe my own life; I will give full vent to my complaint; I will speak in the bitterness of my soul. I will say to God, ‘Do not condemn me; Let me know why You contend with me; Is it right for You indeed to oppress, to reject the labor of Your hands, and to look favorable on the schemes of the wicked? . . . According to Your knowledge I am indeed not guilty, yet there is no deliverance from Your hand’ (Job 10:1-3, 7 NASB).
Although Job did not understand why he had to live through this horrific pain, he did not waver in his faith.
Though He [God] slay me, I will hope in Him (Job 13:15 NASB).
(I am doing Kay Arthur’s Job study Trusting God in Times of Adversity right now. It has been AMAZING so far.)
Having anger means standing up for your own worth, needs, and convictions.
You don’t get angry when folks are kind, pleasant, or understanding. Anger shows up when someone has rejected you or is being uncooperative, or when a person is being critical, harsh, or difficult to get along with. When anger appears on the scene, it arouses your sense of self-preservation. You want to preserve one of three things. You want to preserve your worth as a human being; your anger can be your way of wishing to say, ‘Please, show me some respect, will you?’ Anger can be your way of preserving your basic needs: ‘Recognize that I have needs, and acknowledge them, please.’ Or anger can be a way that you stand up for your deepest convictions. It is your way of saying, ‘I believe in things, and I don’t want to back away from them.’ – Dr. Les Carter
Do not try to deny or suppress this emotion. God does not condemn you for your anger when it is justified. God Himself is described as “slow to anger”—not “never angry.”
And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, ‘The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness’ (Exodus 34:6).
When your self-worth is threatened or your convictions are being trampled on, you will want to lash out. Anger deriving from self-preservation can be justified as long as you are expressing it in a way that is healthy. Start by bringing your anger to God. He can handle it.
Casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you (1 Peter 5:7 NASB).
Most people are quick to point out the negative aspects of anger, but being angry is not always bad. Some people have been taught that anger is sinful, that it is not pleasing to God. Anger itself is not a sin; it is a natural, God-given response.
Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity (Ephesians 4:26-27 NASB).
God tells us in this verse to go ahead and get angry, but He also tells us not to sin in our anger.
There may be times when the anger can be fully appropriate. There may be times when the anger is necessary or required. It all depends on why you’re angry, what you’re doing with your anger, and what the purpose of it is. You need to be judicious in your use of anger. – Dr. Les Carter
If God says to be angry but not to sin, how do you know when your anger has crossed the line of sin? Anger is sinful when it rises up quickly, taking over rational thought.
Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools (Ecclesiastes 7:9).
Anger is a sin when it is accompanied by bitterness, blame, and unforgiveness.
Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger (Ephesians 4:31).
Anger is wrong when it stirs up arguments and produces controversy.
An angry man stirs up dissension, and a hot-tempered one commits many sins (Proverbs 29:22).
Anger must not be stored up within you for any extended period of time.
Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry (Ephesians 4:26).
(The) deliberate act of expressing anger in a safe place should be done in private, just between you and God. Use it as a time to really talk out your issues with God. You never have to worry about saying the wrong thing with God. . . . As weeks and months go by and you have spent regular time with God expressing your emotions, you will find that the worst of your anger has been effectively spent.
Cry out from anguish of heart and wail in brokenness of spirit (Isaiah 65:14).
Therefore groan, son of man! Groan before them with broken heart and bitter grief (Ezekiel 21:6).
David expressed his deep pain, frustration, hurt, shame, and confusion, but he always ended his cries of despair by declaring that God is good, He is still in control, and He is worthy to be praised and honored. . . . He was not worried that he would shock or offend God. He said exactly what he was feeling.
O my God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer. . . . All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads. . . . I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart has turned to wax; it has melted away within me. My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth. . . . I can count all my bones; people stare and gloat over me. . . . But you, O LORD, be not far off; O my Strength, come quickly to help me. Deliver my life . . . Rescue me . . . save me. . . . . For he has not despised or disdained the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help. . . . . They who seek the LORD will praise him (Psalm 22:2, 7, 14-15, 17, 19-21, 24, 26).
Anger can stem from several sources. One source is an overdependence on other people. You were born dependent on others for many things, including affirmation and love. As you grew, you learned that some people are dependable and some are not. You may also have discovered that too much dependence on another person can be unhealthy.
Depend on God. He knows that you need love, affirmation, and a human touch. He will make sure that you get it and that it comes from the right source.
This is what the LORD says: ‘Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the LORD. . . . But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in Him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit’ (Jeremiah 17:5, 7-8).
I just looked ahead online, and it looks like the next week or so also deal with anger and appropriate responses. God knew I’d need to camp out here for a while. 🙂