Let’s be clear; emotions are a gift from God. He didn’t create robots; He created mankind with choices. One of those choices we face daily is how to respond to people who frustrate, hurt, don’t meet our expectations, and maybe touch on our insecurity: anger.
It’s fascinating how technology has tapped into emotions even though they’re emotionless. We’ve developed emojis (Japanese for ‘picture character’) to express ourselves, even anger, without actually speaking.
Jesus experienced anger at hard-hearted leaders and remained sinless:
He looked around at them angrily and was deeply saddened by their hard hearts. Mark 3:5a NLT
He was frustrated and angry but he didn’t sin. Hmmmm. It seems that anger, your response to emotions can be positive or negative: your choice.
There’s always a deeper issue when you get angry and it’s your job to determine what triggered you. What was the underlying cause of your anger, bring light to it, and com-mun-i-cate!!! Did you sense my emotion?
Chip Ingram writes that anger is a secondary emotion, a symptom, therefore, we must pursue the primary one, the trigger. Did we experience unmet needs, consequently, we’re hurt? Were our expectations unmet and we became frustrated or disappointed or both? Finally, Chip encourages us to evaluate if an attack was perceived or real. Could your insecurity trigger your emotion and anger is your reaction?
God’s Word speaks a clear warning to this emotion:
A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1 ESV
Don’t befriend angry people or associate with hot-tempered people, or you will learn to be like them and endanger your soul. Proverbs 22:24-25 NLT
An angry person starts fights; a hot-tempered person commits all kinds of sin. Proverbs 29:22 NLT
Hot-tempered people must pay the penalty. If you rescue them once, you will have to do it again. Proverbs 19:19 NLT
God also gives instruction in the New Testament to teach us how to handle our anger:
First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Matthew 5:24b ESV
In every place of worship, I want men to pray with holy hands lifted up to God, free from anger and controversy.
1 Timothy 2:8 NLT
Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.
James 1:19-20 NLT
Finally, God desires us to maintain a pure heart in the midst of strong emotion. So go ahead and be angry but don’t let it control your relationships, identify the cause and acknowledge it. Allow anger to lead you closer to God and not closer to your enemy.
… don’t sin by letting anger control you. Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil. Ephesians 4:26-27 NLT