Proverbs 19:3 (NLT) “People ruin their own lives by their own foolishness and then are angry at the lord.”
Matthew 5:22 (KJV) “But I (Jesus) say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment…”
Have a short fuse, about to go off, blow your top, have a hair trigger temper, lose your cool, lay your religion down…these idioms are expressions of how we describe an angry reaction. When someone or something has caused this reaction, it could be detrimental to the situation or relationship. This emotion was first recorded in the Bible in Genesis 4 with Cain and Abel. Cain’s anger resulted in the murder of Abel and the banishment of Cain. Proverbs 19, verse 3 describes Cain’s situation perfectly. He ruined his own life and accused God of putting him in danger by exiling him to the land of Nod (verse 14). However, God was merciful and protected Cain by putting a mark on his forehead.
Exactly what is anger? Dr. Gary Chapman in his book, Anger: Handling a Powerful Emotion in a Healthy Way, defines it as “a response to some event or situation in life that causes us irritation, frustration, pain, or other displeasure. It pits us against any person, place, or thing that sparked this reaction” (16). Notice that Dr. Chapman uses the pronoun “us” because no one is immune to anger. No matter how calm you may be, you are subject to this emotion because we all have our “triggers” or incidents that cause us to react sometimes in ways that do not glorify God.
Cain is an example of anger at its worst, but can anger be helpful? Jesus in Matthew 5, verse 22 talks about anger without a cause. Is it possible to be angry with a cause? The answer is “Yes.” Many times anger has been the impetus to change when an injustice has been done to us or to a group of people. We realize that the injustice cannot continue to exist because it takes us or a section of people away from being what God created us for, and our anger is the root cause for action. This is sometimes called “righteous indignation” (Micah 7:9). Everyone is created in God’s image and likeness (Genesis 1:26), but society has reduced some of them to nothing. This powerful emotion has caused society to take a look at itself and to institute legislation to protect those impacted. Surprisingly, revelation is another characteristic of anger.
Anger flows in two ways: the path of destruction or the path for change. The choice is yours as to which path is dominant in your life. You can either use anger or be used by it. In excess, anger can bring death; therefore, following God’s advice in Deuteronomy 30, verse 19 to “choose life” is a way of escape from this lethal emotion. Let God reveal to you how to use anger in a positive way that leads to life.Back to Blog