Reading Time: 5 mins read
Things done and said in anger are often regretted.
Anger is the feeling of displeasure because of something evil or unpleasant. It is produced by the reception of real or imagined injury. It is also an expression of displeasure, often resulting in the chiding, rebuking, or punishing of the offender.
Anger is natural. Everybody gets angry at one time or the other. God does not deliver men from anger. Neither does he hinder the natural expression of our emotions.
Natural feelings are not wrong when directed at their legitimate objects and when they are not allowed to exceed righteous bounds.
The problem arises if, and when, there is a perversion of God’s original design. What we need is the wisdom to know how to deal with our emotions and to control them in a way and a manner consistent with the word of God.
Looking unto Jesus
There were times when Jesus was very angry. He was angry when the religious orthodoxy of the Pharisees led them to object to the alleviation of the suffering of a man with a withered hand on the Sabbath. (Mark 3:5).
He was angry when He saw the moneychangers and the buying and selling in the temple court. (John 2:13-16).
Jesus was an emotional person. He felt sorrow, grief, frustration, anger, love, and compassion. The Holy Spirit often chooses our emotions as a means of expressing Himself in our lives.
Sometimes the Holy Spirit himself prompts a man to righteous indignation: “Then the Spirit of God came upon Saul when he heard this news, and his anger was greatly aroused.” (1 Samuel 11:6).
In some cases, anger is the duty of man. It is not enough that God’s people should love righteousness, they must also be angry at sin. A man who is incapable of being angry at sin cannot love righteousness.
Expect to be angry. Don’t let anger catch you unawares. Don’t be surprised if you express anger. Where the spirit of God is there is liberty. Go ahead and be angry. “Be angry, and do not sin.” (Psalm 4:4).
Anger is natural. Anger that is the sudden or immediate reaction to injury is legitimate. A driver pushed you into a ditch and you were angry. Your anger is natural and legitimate. It does not compromise or negate your faith.
A man tries to slap you and you are angry. You dash your foot against a stone and you are angry. This kind of reaction is natural, involuntary, legitimate, and healthy.
It is a self-defence mechanism instituted by God in our nature. But there its legitimate office ends. Taken further, it leads to wrath, bitterness, malice, and revenge. If anger is persevered in, it almost always leads to sin.
When we are angry, there is danger we may get beside ourselves. We may not be able to respond with sensitivity to the needs of others. We may lose in the moment of anger our ability to feel compassion. We may cause estrangement with others.
We may create strife and enmity in our relationships. We may cease to give generously. We may require unrealistically high standards of behaviour from others to compensate for the way we feel we have been injured or attacked. We may become highly judgmental.
Things done and said in anger are often regretted. This is because anger is a mild form of madness. You say what you don’t want to say and do what you would not have wanted to do.
Anger is the cause of so many regrets. You can build a relationship for ten years and destroy it in one outburst of anger.
Anger and lust are like fire which, if quickly put out, they die. But if you allow them to burn for long, they can destroy and consume everyone, including you yourself. Therefore the Bible enjoins us to deal with it immediately.
“Don’t let the sun go down with you still angry – get over it quickly; for when you are angry, you give a mighty foothold to the devil.” (Ephesians 4:26-27).
Unresolved malice soon leads to bitterness. You simply resent everything that the other person does. He cannot do anything right as far as you are concerned. This bitterness towards someone easily leads to outbursts of temper, which is called wrath.
Wrath becomes anger, which is a permanent state of emotional agitation. Anger can easily lead to clamour, which is quarrelling. And quarrelling leads to habitual evil speaking about the person you are quarrelling with.
“Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:31-32).
Many of our feelings are not our own but are there as auto-suggestions of the evil one. The devil will use every opportunity to get you to cherish and harbour ill-feelings towards others. He is always busy when we are angry, trying to embellish the wrong and to provoke us into sinful reactions.
Don’t fall for it. No man sins by restraining his anger. No man is certain that he will not sin if he indulges his anger even for a moment.
The devil in this case may be a talebearer or a gossip or a slanderer. These are human devils or human agents of devils. If you give place to him or her, he might plant anger and malice in your heart.
“Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8).
Slow to anger
A believer is a fool for Christ, but he should not be a fool. However, a believer who is prone to anger is a fool.
“Do not hasten in your spirit to be angry, for anger rests in the bosom of fools.” (Ecclesiastes 7:9).
A wise man does not keep malice. He does not let the sun go down on his wrath. Don’t let anger sleep in your heart, it will wake up when you least expect it.
An angry man is easily manipulated. He is easily provoked. He is like a city without walls, all kinds of riff-raffs can come in. It is easily subject to attack.
“Whoever has no rule over his own spirit is like a city broken down, without walls.” (Proverbs 25:28).
This makes him open to temptation and to traps. You can be deceived and you flare up and might have compromised your job, your marriage, or your future before you know the truth.
If we are in the wrong, we must pray to God to give us the grace to admit our wrongdoing. If we are in the right, we must equally ask for the grace not to be self-righteous.
Anger is wrong when it is excited without sufficient cause or justification. Jesus is not against anger, but against anger without a cause.
“I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire.” (Matthew 5:22).
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