Dealing with Anger Biblically
THE REV. DR. BRIAN M. ABSHIRE, PASTOR
Anger is not necessarily sinful because anger is a communicable attribute of God (i.e., a characteristic we share with Him)
The Father Gets Angry Psa 7:11, Rms 1:18
The Son Got Angry Jn 2:17 when He drove out the moneychangers Mark 3:5 with Pharisees
The Holy Spirit Gives Anger 1 Sam 11:6
Anger or “wrath” is God’s righteous response to sin which is an attack against His glory (Rms 1:18ff)
Because we are made in His image, we also experience anger when we perceive our own glory, honor, security or safety being attacked.
God’s anger is always righteous and the correct response to sin.
However, because of the stain and curse of sin, we are apt to become angry inappropriately or use the powerful emotion of anger to protect our pride.
Yet, even so, there is a clear distinction between being angry and sinning Eph 4:26.
Medical insight; anger is an emotion caused by the release of adrenaline stimulated by stress;
Angry feelings are merely the subjective evaluation of the physiological effects; rapid pulse, increased breathing, blood moving to the extremities.
Adrenaline also causes feelings of fear and excitement
Working Hypothesis; Anger is God’s way of motivating us to deal with problems.
Anger only becomes sinful when we use it to respond to problems sinfully by;
Using destructive speech Eph 4:29
Practicing foolish behaviors Pvbs 14:17,29
Causing rather than resolving problems Pvbs 15:18
Quarrelling, arguing, disputing, having divisions 2 Tim 2:23
Breaking down our defenses against sin Pvbs 25:28
Becoming bitter Hebs 12:15
People most commonly misuse anger by either blowing up (turning anger towards others)
Or clamming up (holding anger in, becoming bitter)
Our responsibility as Christians is to direct all of the energies of anger to a solution to the problem rather than at others or ourselves.
Separate the person from the problem; do not let a problem destroy a relationship.
Be solution oriented rather than problem oriented; problems occur, rather than get “hung up” on the injustice or inconvenience of a situation, develop a creative problem solving mindset.
Identify the “trigger” factors; e.g. what about this situation do you find threatening to your pride, dignity, security, etc.?
Identify sinful responses; e.g., blame shifting, gossip, brooding, screaming!
Use the emotion as a motivating force to confront others
Matt 18:15 privately
Gal 6:1 gently, humbly
2 Tim 2:23-4 kindly, patiently
Phil 2:3-4 with the other’s best interest in mind
Take Responsibility for Your own Character; Seek forgiveness for wrong uses of anger., immediately
Don’t blame others for “making” you angry; no one can make you “feel” anything; YOU choose how to respond to whatever happens to you
Give Appropriate Responses to Stressful Situations;
► Recognize the sovereignty of God; if God is in control, then providentially, he allowed this circumstance to occur in your life. Rms 8:29, 1 Thess 5: 18
► Ask, what is God trying to teach ME and how does He want Me to handle this situation to His glory?
► Reprogram your thought life Phil 4:8; brooding on past offenses, hurts, humiliations, indignities or injustices only makes you a victim of the past.
► Forgive others for their offenses against you; rather than focus on what others have done against you, instead focus on what God has done for you.
Practice being kind, gentle and compassionate Pvbs 15:1
THANK God for this opportunity to develop the character of Christ-as frustrating, irritating and annoying as it may be (Eph 5:4, 20, 2 Cor 4:15, 1 Thess 5:18, etc.)
Final Thoughts On Anger
1. When something occurs that “makes” us angry, we often try to find a reason outside of ourselves. “You said this and it made me mad…”
2. However, if something “made” us “mad” it was because inside our heads we THOUGHT that is was threatening to our pride, dignity, safety or security.
3. Often, people become angry not because another person intended them harm, but because they assumed that someone intended them harmed.
4. Too many people start with their feelings of anger, and then try to find a justification for that feeling. Instead, be honest with yourself and God- we can only be forgiven if we confess our sins, not hide them, rationalize them or blame them on others (1 Jn 1:8-9)