Should I Fight Anger?

Should I Fight Anger?

Some psychologists say that it’s unhealthy to stuff down your feelings. They advocate freely expressing your anger. If you are upset, communicate it to others! Otherwise you’ll be emotionally blocked and paralyzed. Our culture tells us we have a “right” to be heard, and they protest in the streets to express their outrage.

Anger is a God-given emotion, intended for good purposes. But it became distorted and misused once sin entered the world. It’s comparable to other God-given gifts that have been similarly warped;  such as work, food, sex, and rest.

TYPES OF ANGER

Righteous anger is a reaction to violations of God’s laws and character. It is concerned with offenses against God. It’s expressed in godly ways, and cares for those who are victimized or oppressed. Its goal is helping, healing and restoration.

However, most of the time we are dealing with the sinful version of anger, not the righteous kind. My sinful anger is a reaction to a wrong or perceived wrong against me. I’m concerned about how I was offended, mistreated, or ignored. My anger is expressed in harsh words or angry outbursts that harm others. My ultimate goal is getting my own way.

THE FRUITS OF ANGER

So the result of my anger is an attempt to bully others to get the results I want. I yell, berate, plead or threaten. Sometimes it’s more subtle in the form of manipulation or passive-aggressive behavior, but my desire is the same. I want what I want, how and when I want it.

Is this appropriate behavior for us, beloved children of the King? Many times public protests end with violence or looting. Even if the cause that prompted the march is just, the outpouring of anger often wreaks havoc.

The Bible tells us that man’s anger doesn’t result in the righteous life God desires for us (James 1:20). We’re warned to let go of our anger quickly and not let it simmer, lest we give the devil a foothold (Ephesians 4: 26-27). A foothold is a perch or a position of safety while climbing. From his firm perch, the enemy can attack us more easily. We open ourselves to further temptations when we hold onto anger. Sin, left unchecked, always leads to more sin.

The end of Ephesians 4 also warns us about unwholesome words, slander, wrath and malice. In contrast, we’re told to be kind, forgiving and tenderhearted towards others. These are the polar opposites of angrily demanding my own way.

Ephesians 4:32

MY STORY

In my life, the enemy had firm footing for years. I wallowed in anger, resentment and bitterness towards others. I believed I had good reasons, and held firm grudges. But the anger turned to resentment (re-living the offense), and then bitterness.

You may have heard the old adage: “Bitterness is like drinking poison and hoping your enemy will die.” I can testify to the truth of this. In Hebrews 12:15 it’s called a root and is said to defile many. Not only was my own life poisoned, but I “defiled” those around me with my attitudes and actions. The eventual outcome of anger is the dark slimy pit of bitterness, and it’s a terrible place to be.

But, praise God! He heals and forgives and restores. He transforms our minds when we turn from our sinful thoughts and actions. He gives us a soft, forgiving heart in place of the hard and bitter one. This is what He did for me! And He brings glory to Himself as we show evidence of His Spirit at work.

So, fight anger and forgive those who hurt you. Ask Jesus to heal you and give you power to love others as He loves us.

“And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.” -I John 4:16

Linda Graf About Linda Graf

Linda Graf is the author of  Bitter Truth: My Story of Bitterness, Grace and Repentance. She wrote it after the Lord freed her from a lifestyle of anger and bitterness. She is a musician, a mentor and mother. Being an author was never on her radar, but during her journey from bitterness to joy in Christ, she was compelled to write about it. Check out her website where she blogs regularly.

Comments

  1. What you describe in your personal life I see in the streets of our nation. Oh, how I wish people with the same goal would sit down together and agree on a few methods of helping the helpless! We won’t agree on everything, but we can start with one small united effort.

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