Anger is a powerful emotion that be both motivating and destructive. A good definition of anger that I have heard recently is, “A passionate emotional response of displeasure.” I like this definition for two reasons. Firstly, it alludes to the fact that being angry doesn’t mean you are a evil, wicked or sinful person. Secondly, it is good to be passionate, emotions are God given, and there are definitely things in this world that we shouldn’t be pleased about. The question of anger is not one of how to get rid of it completely but to channel it for good.
In my family, my brother and I came up with this concept called the “Wood Switch”. Basically, from our experience, the wood family are normally a quite, calm and reserved kind of people. However, back us into a corner and behold, the “Wood Switch”. We become explosive. Often it is uncontrolled, it is harmful and it is not necessary. This is not godly anger.
Paul writes in Ephesians 4:26 “In your anger do not sin”. We follow a God who is loving, but also angry. How can the two exist, love and anger? It is God’s love for the world that sees a passionate emotional response of displeasure when injustices are committed.
A classic example of this is Jesus’ response to the religious leaders when they were oppressing the people. One time Jesus makes a whip, begins whipping people and flips over tables in the temple. Crazy… However it was his love for those who weren’t having access to the worship of God that drove him to such extreme measures.
So what to we do when we have a passionate emotional response of displeasure towards something? i.e. We are angry:
- Is our anger righteous?
- Meaning are we angry about what God is angry about or are we just complaining about 1st world issues, preferences or petty things.
- Is our anger productive?
- In a moment of anger you have a choice to hit the “Wood Switch” or work about directing your anger into motivation.
- How are you going to make the situation better?
- Is your anger Glorifying to God?
- Meaning when people look at you do they say God is with this person.
- Does God look good in your moment of anger?
- Is your anger defending God’s honour or your own?
Anger is God given but like anything can be miss used. I pray we would be a people who use our anger to eradicate social injustices to the glory of God.