Anger – good, bad, or both?

I’ve been thinking about anger quite a lot recently, and have chatted about it with a few people, raising some interesting insights. I’ve not been feeling angry at people, which is surprising as I reckon nearly all anger is aimed at people one way or the other, but at the world in general, at idols and lies that are prevalent in society. For instance, how is it acceptable, even honoured, in our society for people (Christians even) to buy cars worth upwards of £30,000 when right next to where they park their cars, people are sleeping rough. That is a simplistic view of the situations – for all I know the people with those cars are millionaires and give 95% of their income away – but  then again anger is a simplistic emotion, isn’t it.

In thinking about anger, some people pointed me to some quality stuff in the bible on it. In addition a guy I’ve never met, or even heard of before, called David Winters has written some great stuff on Christianity and anger.

James 1:19-21 addresses anger and has led me to a couple of questions:

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.

Firstly, is there a difference between Gods anger and man’s anger? A friend of mine made an interesting point – “surely one cannot feel compassion without first being enraged by injustice”. David Winters contends that anger in its simplest form is a desire for change. I think I agree with this and if you look at it like that it’s easy to see how when God gets angry it’s right, and all too often when we get angry it’s wrong. Another question- is it possible to feel anger without being angry? I was trying to explain what I meant by this to Kat and didn’t really succeed, so forgive me if this doesn’t make sense. Is it possible to experience anger, and for it not to consume you, not to give into it, but to master anger and see what needs to change in that situation? I think it is. This only makes sense when you consider that Jesus’ anger was just, and our human anger is all too often born out of selfish pride (well mine is).

From talking to people and reading up on it, I think anger is one of the things we are always likely to struggle with. I’m just glad that I worship a god of power, a god who hates injustice. Jesus was pretty badass.

I would be interested in your opinions on anger – it’s certainly not a subject I consider ‘closed’. I fully expect to encounter anger as I try and find out what apostolic living looks like. When it comes, I pray for self control and for the knowledge of what God wants to change.

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~ by jgebrown on 8 November 2010.

6 Responses to “Anger – good, bad, or both?”

  1. “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.” Ephesians 43:26-27 (ESV)

    There are few things that give opportunity to the devil as uncontrolled anger. It can boil on the inside and outwardly no one knows. That is why Paul warns, “be angry and sin not.” According to Paul, it is absolutely possible to be angry and void of sin. The key to getting there? Don’t let not the sun go down on your anger. It is an emotion that must be dealt with fast before it boils. Otherwise opportunity is given to the devil. I’ve seen men lose their ministries over an angry careless moment—not good! What was boiling deep down finely blew up

    jrh

    • Great stuff, thanks for commenting J – making sure we don’t go to bed angry is something me and Kat maintain in our marriage, even if we haven’t sorted out what’s made us angry.

  2. “There will be no peace on Earth until My Son’s Kingdom. I will crush every kingdom now standing and rock the earth off its foundation. I Yahweh will destroy every enemy to My throne, and who can stop Me? Who can turn back My anger? No one.” – Yahweh

    Matthew 10:34 “Don’t assume that I came to bring peace on the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.”

    Exodus 15:3 “The LORD is a warrior; Yahweh is His name.”

    Yahweh, our God and Creator pours out His wrath upon mankind leading up to Armageddon. It is His will that you all know exactly where it is coming from.

  3. Clearly there are different types of anger, some righteous and some not. I would take issue with the quote that you mention, claiming that you cannot have compassion without first being angry about injustice. I would flip that round and say you can’t be angry (not in a righteous sense) without first having that compassion.

    Once you’ve been through that process though, shared your life and destiny with the poor you can’t go back. The anger bubbles, inspires and motivates me towards change.

    I think it was the great philosopher(!) Zack De La Rocha that whispered “your anger is a gift”. That sums up my thoughts on the matter. That righteous anger, is a gift, (it doesn’t come from you), but it is entrusted to you and you need to make good use of it.

    • Righteous anger is a rare thing eh, should it increase as we draw closer to God? HA – yes I’m pretty sure that’s a Rage song. I might go listen to it now!

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