Moses got angry and killed an Egyptian man who was mistreating a Hebrew slave. David was angry with the prophet Nathan, with his sons and his enemies. Just like these men of God we all have problems with anger and express it differently. Some express anger strongly and readily hurting those around in the process. Others hide it and deny they feel it allowing it to build up inside and causing medical problems. Both behaviors arise from a common cause experiencing destructive patterns of dealing with anger.
An example of this was a man I know who claimed to be a recovering “rage-aholic” who by the grace of God changed his ways to save his family life. Before he gave up his rages, his family’s life revolved around trying to keep him happy and calm. Just like the life of a family distorted by alcoholism revolves around the behavior of the alcoholic. He confesses about screaming and threatening his wife and kids.
They lived in constant fear of his outbursts never knowing what word could set him off into a rage. This man had grown up in a home where his father had controlled everyone by inducing fear and he had carried that destructive pattern into his own family’s life. Those who witness angry outbursts will come to fear anger-others and their own. Anger may seem like an uncontrollable monster that might overwhelm us if we let it out so we keep it under an emotional lock and key. We may keep it so well hidden that we may be unaware it exists. Many people bury their anger and deny it expression because they are trying to be “good Christians.”
We seem to think that if we are deeply spiritual we do not become angry. The bible quotes does not teach us this. Our anger does not keep us from participating in God’s work. It did not stop Moses or David. Feeling anger is not wrong. Scripture does tell us to be slow to anger, as God is slow to anger and to always to be careful to show love.
The issue with anger is how we treat others as we express our feelings. Ephesians 4:26 tells us to let go our anger promptly, not letting the sun go down on it. In other words, to deal with today’s hurts today and not to hold onto grudges. This does not mean that we are free to rage at one another or mistreat one another. We can express our anger in ways that frighten others and limit their lives. However, we can “speak the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15) admitting truthfully what we feel, but doing so with care not to belittle another. Harsh and demeaning words do not deliver grace to our listeners.
We must train ourselves to deal lovingly with others when we are angry. Self control is a gift of the Holy Spirit. We must use this gift to help shape who we are. If we are addicted to rage or any other negative expression of emotion it may be difficult to admit we have a problem at all. If that is the case we must begin where we are by asking God to help us to be willing to be shaped by the Holy Spirit within us. Our emotions are part of who we are and as humans we experience them fully. We must learn to express those emotions in positive ways that bring life and growth to us and to others. Our tongue can be a blessing or a curse. The choice is really ours to make.
May all your ventures be blessed and successful,