Rotten Roots

Rotten Roots

  “Do not hasten in your spirit to be angry, for anger rests in the bosom of fools” (Ecclesiastes 7:9 NKJV).

 Our country is hurting. The airwaves have reverberated with news accounts of killing rampages in schools, parking lots, movie theaters, and homes. Interviewed witnesses react in surprise at the actions of the perpetrator because problems are not evident to citizens. Authorities overlook warning signs that could have averted a disaster. Anger simmering under the surface went unnoticed until it was too late.

In other cases, the violence is evident in a person’s life and deeds, but nothing is done to subvert the results.

Godly Anger

When Jesus cleansed the temple of the moneychangers by driving them out with a whip, He was angry at the way His Father’s house was being treated. Greed was the motive behind the selling of animals, not the requirement of the sacrificial law. His anger was justified because He was not thinking of Himself; He was honoring His father.  He knew the corrupt hearts of those doing the selling. When Paul wrote in Ephesians 4:26, “In your anger, do not sin,” this is the type of anger he was talking about. We need to keep a holy anger against sin, but not against the sinner.

Anger at injustice is godly if the anger is diverted into a good cause to fight the wrong. MADD, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, is an organization formed by parents who lost their children to drunk drivers. Rather than seek revenge, they sought to prevent others from experiencing the same hurt by making the public aware of the frequency of these tragedies and by seeking to keep intoxicated drivers off the road.

The Root

Whenever we feel anger it is because something inside us was triggered by an event or spoken word which may have started out small, but over time escalates into volcanic reactions.

It’s hard to admit, but we become angry because something invaded self. Why is it such a big deal to us when we get cut off in traffic? Because we are made less than valuable by a stranger who thought his or her right to our space on the pavement was theirs.  We feel unimportant and anger surges against the violator.

Children and youth are bullied at school and want vengeance against their tormentors. Crude comments and threats form feelings of unworthiness when compared to the offender. When the victim doesn’t value themselves, hurtful comments take root and become truth to their mind. Hurt people spend the rest of their lives becoming defensive as a way to protect from further pain. Angry outbursts and actions are the result.

When a person is abused as a child, years of being unloved can surface. Over time, these feelings translate to voices that tell the victim he or she is not worth loving and defensive emotions rise.  As these individuals become adults, explosive actions, such as the violent tragedies occurring in society today can be the result.

The Solution

The solution is to recognize anger as a fruit growing from a deeper root and cut the connection off by knowing who we are in Christ.

If we know we are loved, and know we have been made worthy by the blood of Christ, then the root is not allowed to grow. Instead, the fruit of the Spirit can come out of us instead of the fruit of the flesh. The key here is to have divine revelation through spending time with the Father who loves us more than we can ever comprehend. The Holy Spirit teaches us who we are in Christ and what our inheritance is. We are made valuable by the blood He shed, and no matter how someone else treats us another’s actions do not lessen our worth to Him.   Anger can still rise up, but learning we are not inadequate, unloved, or unworthy can override the emotions.

Realizing the actions of others are caused because they themselves do not feel valued can shine a new light on the situation. The responsibility of hurtful actions is not eliminated, but they can be understood. It is up to each one of us to become aware of our position in Christ and not determine our value by other’s opinions, treatment, or the circumstances of life.  But when we direct rage at someone because of what they did to us, it is really selfishness because we feel our rights have been violated in some way. The tragedies we hear about today happen because a seed of anger was allowed to grow in a person’s life for a period of time.

No matter how big or small the circumstance is, recognizing and replacing the source of anger with God’s opinion will disintegrate the root before it can grow.

What can I do when I feel anger rise up in me? I can ask God to help me think before I act, search my heart for the root of anger and use the His word to extinguish it.





Barbara Latta About Barbara Latta

Barbara Latta’s desire is to help others find intimacy with God through a deeper understanding of the power of the Word. She writes a monthly column in her local newspaper and contributes to devotional websites and several anthologies. She is a board member of the East Metro Atlanta Christian Writers. Barbara posts on her blog.


  1. Knowing who we are in Christ is the solution to so much of the mess we face in life, isn’t it? (Anger, shame, anxiety, etc.)
    Thanks for your great advice.

  2. Yes, anger can cause so many messes in our lives. Thanks for your comments.

  3. Barbara, I’ve been working really hard to control my anger over stupid situations! I’ve learned to seek God’s help and really think through whether anger would do a single thing to solve the problem at hand (usually the answer is absolutely not!).

    Thanks for this post.

  4. I can relate to this so much, Barbara. Very true! God is the answer to our internal (and external) peace.

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