What makes you angry? What makes you really, really mad? While the answer to this question is probably different for everyone, it does seem that most people get angry when they feel that something wrong has been done to them. If someone believes that an injustice has been committed against them, it can often result in feelings like anger, bitterness and resentment.
Is it wrong to get angry? Well, let’s look at an example of anger involving Jesus Himself and see what we can learn from His experience…
“While in Capernaum Jesus went over to the synagogue again, and noticed a man there with a deformed hand. Since it was the Sabbath, Jesus’ enemies watched him closely. Would he heal the man’s hand? If he did, they planned to arrest him!
Jesus asked the man to come and stand in front of the congregation. Then turning to his enemies he asked, “Is it all right to do kind deeds on Sabbath days? Or is this a day for doing harm? Is it a day to save lives or to destroy them?” But they wouldn’t answer him.
Looking around at them angrily, for he was deeply disturbed by their indifference to human need, he said to the man, “Reach out your hand.” He did, and instantly his hand was healed! At once the Pharisees went away and met with the Herodians to discuss plans for killing Jesus” (Mark 3:1-6).
Now we said earlier that most people become angry when they sense that some injustice has occurred to them. So what was the injustice that occurred in the Scripture above? Well, the injustice was that Jesus’ enemies were more concerned about their tradition than they were about this man’s physical condition. This total lack of consideration on their part caused Jesus to become angry.
If you think about it, there is one important difference between the anger shown by Jesus here and the anger that most people experience today. The difference was that Jesus wasn’t angry over something wrong that was done to Him but over a wrong that was done to someone else.
Because of this, The Doctor believes that there can be such a thing as justifiable anger. As we see in the example with Jesus above, an injustice committed against someone else can definitely result in legitimate feelings of anger. These feelings are not wrong in themselves, but the Bible’s book of Ephesians tells us that all anger -even justifiable anger- must be handled in a healthy, God-honoring way. Here’s how you do it…
“If you are angry, don’t sin by nursing your grudge. Don’t let the sun go down with you still angry– get over it quickly; for when you are angry, you give a mighty foothold to the devil” (Ephesians 4:26-27).
If you are angry over some circumstance or situation, the right way to handle it is to deal with it quickly. People who don’t do this often allow some small injustice to simmer and go on until it grows into an outburst of uncontrolled anger. Most people usually don’t lose their temper all of a sudden unless they have let feelings of anger build up inside them over time. Once this happens it usually takes only some small offense to trigger a larger explosion of anger.
The Godly person knows that it’s not wrong to become angry over injustices committed against others but they also know that any kind of anger can turn into sin if it’s not dealt with properly. The proper way to handle anger is to put it away before the day is over. Now if you have trouble doing that, you need to ask God to help you deal with your anger in a constructive way. Remember, you can always be honest with God about the way you really feel because you can’t hide anything from God anyway.
If you’re angry, go to God in prayer. Be upfront with God about the people who have made you angry and the reasons for it. Ask God to help you channel those feelings of anger in a constructive way that honors Him. You can do this as many times as you need to- remember, God never gets tired of hearing from you even if it may seem like you are discussing the same old subjects over and over.
Don’t let your anger to grow intro something unhealthy that can hurt you or other people. God can help you deal with feelings of anger if you are willing to go to Him and ask Him for help. Ask God to help you to forgive those who have done wrong in your situation and ask Him to help you apply Scriptures like these…
“A wise man controls his temper. He knows that anger causes mistakes” (Proverbs 14:29).
“But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive you your sins too” (Mark 11:25).
“Stop being mean, bad-tempered, and angry. Quarreling, harsh words and dislike of others should have no place in your lives. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God has forgiven you because you belong to Christ” (Ephesians 4:31-32).
“My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires” (James 1:19-20 NIV).
Remember that anger is just like any other emotion- it can be controlled by the power of the Holy Spirit if you are willing to let God work in your life. Deal with your anger quickly and take this little tip from the book of Psalms…
“Don’t sin by letting anger gain control over you. Think about it overnight and remain silent” (Psalm 4:4 NLT).