A Christian’s Guide to Anger – by Eliezer Gonzalez

Nov 9, 2015 1439

  1. angry-fistWhat is anger? Here is the real definition of anger: Anger is how human beings respond when our gods are threatened.
  1. Jesus is described in terms that we may recognise as “being angry” in the gospels when he defends the honour of his Father in the face of human misery and bondage . The “anger” of Jesus was entirely selfless and pure. It is not what we typically know as “anger” (See Mark 3:1–6; John 2:15–17)

Anger is Idolatry

  1. In almost all situations, anger is the response of our sinful, selfish natures, when our personal idols are threatened. Anger is therefore idolatry.[1] The Bible tells us to “flee from idolatry” – 1 Cor 10:14. It is easy to respond to someone else’s anger with anger; then that becomes a “battle of the idols” – one person’s idol against another, and we will be the casualties.
  1. To feel angry at times is part of our sinful human natures – “The acts of the flesh are obvious: …fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions… and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God” – Gal 5:19–21. Although it is our natural response, the Bible tells us that, “human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires” (James 1:20). Our anger is a reflection of our own falleness and self-centred brokenness.
  1. Anger can lead us into sin, depending on whether we reject it when it arises, and on how we manifest it to others.
  1. Anger that is harboured in the life can lead to a “root of bitterness.” Not only can this destroy the lives of others and cause their eternal destruction, but this can also lead to your own separation and condemnation from God – See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many” – Heb 10:5.

What To When You Feel Angry

  1. When we feel angry, the Christian response is to see it as a call to examine ourselves, and to prayerfully follow these steps:

Step 1 – Ask God to show you what is your personal idol that is being threatened in this situation.

Step 2 – Confess your sin, and repent, giving up that idol to God.

Step 3 – Ask God to show you how to deal with this situation in a way that puts Him on the throne of your life and honours Him – “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” – 2 Cor 10:5.

  1. Recognise anger for what it is, and follow the steps above quickly as soon as you do. Go for a walk, go somewhere where you can be alone and talk with God, and where you won’t harm others. If you do this, you will fulfil what the Bible says, “In your anger, do not sin” (Eph 4:26). The advice of the Bible in the rest of that verse is the best advice – “Do not let the sun go down on your anger” (Eph 4:26).
  1. If, after examining your conscience before God, you are convicted that your anger is only according to the heart of God, for His honour alone, entirely selfless, and will result in only blessing and no hurt to others, then ask God to show you what mission He has for you so that you can bless the world with the passion He has given you. This may legitimately be to help the helpless, to defend the defenceless, and to heal those who have been hurt. This is the mission of Christ – See Luke 4:18–19.
  1. Never use the concept of “righteous anger” (this is not a Biblical term) as an excuse to pull down or condemn others. There is no such thing, if it results in harm to others. The overwhelming majority of what we experience as anger, while feels right to us, but is sinful and destructive.

How To Deal With An Angry Person

  1. If you are faced with someone who is angry, the immediate response is a “gentle word” – “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Prov 15:1).
  1. The way to deal with the anger of another person is to forgive them from your heart – “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you” (Col 3:13).
  1. If you have recurring personal anger issues, or if you are finding it difficult to deal with the recurring anger of others, seek help from a Christian counsellor who can help you recognise and deal with what is happening in a way that honours Christ.
  1. Persistent anger can create a situation of abuse. In situations of ongoing abuse, you may need to remove yourself, whether you are the perpetrator or the victim. God is not honoured by the enabling of these situations. Abuse can be physical, emotional or sexual. In the case of physical and sexual abuse, you are urged to obtain professional help, and to notify the relevant authorities.

– Eliezer Gonzalez

[1] I owe this insight to Elenne Ford of Peacewise, a Christian ministry which promotes Christian peacemaking.

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