I think sometimes I’ve become an angry person and it scares me how quickly I can rush to judgment concerning a situation or voice my direct and often harsh opinion without taking in all the facts and processing things. Is it human nature? Medication? (For me, maybe) True colors? I’m not sure but this I do know, I don’t like me sometimes. I know, I know, Scripture has a lot to say about anger. It’s definitely NOT one of the fruits of the Spirit and it will consume you if you let it. So why am I thinking about this subject? Here are some musings…
There seems to be a lot of anger in the world today. Folks are angry at one political party or the other, or angry about gas prices being too high, or the stock market going south, or angry because their favorite team didn’t win the national championship. But lately I’ve been wondering if folks are angry just because they enjoy being angry. I know that sounds strange, and the only reason I float that idea out there is because I feel like I’ve been there lately. For whatever reason, being angry becomes an accepted state of being for a lot of folks. It’s easier for them to live as an angry person. It takes a lot less work to be angry than to be rational or easy-going.
Maybe it’s easier to live as an angry young man, or woman, because it takes less intellectual effort too. You know it’s true, you’ve seen it in individuals you’ve had to deal with. Rather than stop and try to reason, or think through their reaction they just get mad. For many, it’s the path of least resistance because they know if they get angry most folks will leave them alone or won’t continue to confront them. Of course the real problem arises when two angry people collide, then the sparks really fly. So why choose to live as an angry person?
Perhaps it’s a shield, a defense mechanism, perhaps it’s human nature rising to the surface, unfiltered, uncensored, unchecked and unleashed. Whatever the case, pure unadulterated anger is not pretty and is unproductive. But is there ever a scenario where anger is healthy and needed? Does God ever get angry? Can anger be healthy? Does good ever come out of being angry?
One example that comes to my mind quickly is Jesus’ clearing the money-changers out of the temple in New Testament scripture. I don’t believe for a moment that Jesus was smiling when he was carrying out this act, he was angry at what they had turned his Father’s house into. You can also read scripture after scripture in the Old Testament about God’s anger being kindled against His enemies, or even sometimes His people. Do you think God ever gets mad at us?
I don’t believe anger is healthy at all, in fact there are scriptures that speak to this specifically:
Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; Do not fret—it only causes harm. Psalm 37:8
He who sows iniquity will reap sorrow, And the rod of his anger will fail. Proverbs 22:8
And the Bible tells us to avoid anger:
Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. Ephesians 4:31
But anger itself isn’t necessarily “un-Christian we just shouldn’t be angry to the point of sinning:
“In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry. Ephesians 4:26
The short of it, in my opinion, is this, the emotion of anger is God-given but we, as sinful man, have distorted it and abused it. We can’t control it on our own without the intervention of the Holy Spirit…we’re not capable. Like most things, we tend to mess it up! Yes, emotions are God-given but abuse of them can occur very easily and distort our reality of things quickly.
So, will I still get angry? Yes. For the wrong reasons? Yes. But I think I know now that righteous indignation, or I’ll call it righteous anger, when channeled properly and used constructively is not a bad thing. I think we need more Christians who “get mad” at this world and the way people are thumbing their nose at spiritual issues, distorting the Truth of God’s Word, perverting our society with filth and shutting God out of every aspect of our nation. But as for me, I know that I need to pray and ask the Holy Spirit to fill me with Himself in order that I might live by the Fruits Of the Spirit and walk in the light of Christ and His presence!
Go ahead, get mad, get mad at sin, get mad at evil and get mad at wrong, just don’t make it your default mechanism for life!