Being called emotional isn’t a compliment, but emotions aren’t all bad. They’re indicators of what we feel, signposts our souls put up that we can either adhere to or ignore based on how they relate to Truth.
Generally, anger is viewed as negative. We associate the word with conflict, violence, arguments, and division. But God himself feels anger, wrath even. So, for humans made in His image, can anger actually be a constructive emotion?
It encourages me to know that Jesus wasn’t always calm and collected in expressing His convictions. He was “emotional” too. I mean, come on. He literally flipped tables and cracked whips in the temple because it was filled with corruption and greed, and He was angry.
I feel less like a monster for being human knowing He was too.
As Ryan Martin said, “To feel angry less would mean that on some level I stop caring about some things that are really really important to me that I don’t want to let go of.”
Think about that. When you’re angry, oftentimes it is because you care about something. Care about being understood, care about something enough to disagree fervently with what you believe to be untrue.
I would argue that the Bible doesn’t say not to be angry, but it encourages us to examine our motives for feeling angry and whatever we might do out of that fiery conviction.
The first time a man felt anger was when Cain was angry with his brother Able for putting in the effort required and pleasing God while he didn’t. Instead of going and improving himself, he placed the blame on his brother. It’s here God finds Cain and asks him, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it,”” (Genesis 4:6-7 NIV).
Anger can fuel good things, can fuel us to “do what is right”. The questing is “WHY are you angry?”
What is the reason behind the anger? Is it because someone hurt you? Is it ego?
Or is it because someone beat down on someone who can’t fight for themselves?
God hates evil. Hate is anger. We should hate what God hates, and that ensues oftentimes in emotion, in anger.
The second thing God says is about sin. It coordinates with what Paul says in Ephesians 4. ““In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold,” (4:26-27 NIV)
If anything outside faith in sin (see Romans 14:23), then we have to ask the question: is this emotion coming from a place of “being sure of what you hope for and certain of what you cannot see”? (Hebrews 11:1).
The idea here is that anger is only good when it’s towards the unseen entity of evil, sin, death, the thing that is opposite of goodness, truth, love.
So, if we can answer the question of why we’re angry and it coincides with God’s word and heart, what next? What do we do?
A friend and I were talking about her passion for justice. She has a strong sense of honor and zeal for what is right.
Letting anger burrow deep inside us only allows it to release itself in unrelated realms of our lives.
All of a sudden, because we didn’t deal with our anger in a healthy way, we’re yelling at our spouses and taking it out on the nearest person or thing that happens to have the misfortune of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Now I don’t like confrontation, and if you’re like me, you won’t like what I’m about to say .
But the best way to deal with anger is to process it with God, agree with truth and find the love, the thing you care about that’s fueling that anger, and speak to that.
Anger can be an indicator for us to take a closer look at what our hearts hold dear.
Confrontation is messy, but it’s one of the most Christlike things we can do with our anger.
To come face to face with what or who makes us angry, see the love fueling that anger we feel, and speak the truth from that core motive of love—it’s the healthiest and potentially most disagreeable thing we can do.
Be angry but don’t blow it. Don’t sin in your anger. Find the love behind the anger. Find the why.