This Sunday, we talked about Anger at church in our Emotion and Devotion series. It was so good! Pastor Daniel shared that so often we don't know what to do with anger, we either stuff it down or we explode, and boy is he right. We forget that God gets angry, and it is a God given emotion. It's learning how to handle it that is tricky since often our anger stems from things not happening the way we think it should. He also said that anger is a fruit of love, not the opposite, which again is good to remember. God gets angry when His people break His law because He loves us and wants our best. As humans that's not always the case with our anger, but many times it is. Anger comes from something not living up to the ideal.
So how do we steward our anger?
Raw Pain: Admit Your Anger (v 1-16)
We want to know why good things happen to bad people and bad things happen to good people. Evil is mysterious and often does not make sense. We need to take these Questions before God and ask for help. Pour out everything in your heart in your raw, unprocessed pain. God is the One who can help us work through it. It is often pride and fear that keep us from expressing our anger. Anger shows our desires and helps us in knowing our passions. It is good to be angry at injustice, crime, pain, etc.
Who has betrayed you? Who has hurt you? Tell God about it and let Him work through it with you.
Reflective Pause: Break It Down (v 15-17)
What is going on beneath the surface when you get angry? Some argue that anger is a secondary emotion and really we are sad, hurt, etc. Whether primary or secondary, we need God's grace to break down the anger that we are experiencing. We also need to see the implications of our anger. Take time to consider your responsibility as a believer if you simply respond in anger, instead of taking a time out to bring it before God. Everybody has power, and if we simply react that power can have lasting negative effects. Pastor Daniel suggested, "Write it out, don't fight it out", which resonated with me as I frequently write out my feelings to God. But I can also fight it out, which has had great damage at times. Weigh what you say. We never move beyond talking it out with God (and if you're married, your spouse) and we need to do this first and foremost when we are angry. Teach yourself short sentence prayers to ground yourself in those moments.
Real Praise: Conform Your Anger (v 17-28)
We need to conform our anger to the character of God. He is just. He is our ideal. He is what we long for. Wickedness is delusional and promises things that are not real. It is outside of reality. Choose to live in reality, which is always better, because reality is where God is. Our anger is a call to communion with God, through Jesus, who did this perfectly. Jesus got angry and did not sin.
Passive Anger: Apathy, Avoidance, Defeatism, Manipulation, Resentment
Aggressive Anger: Blow up, Destructiveness, Unpredictability, Vengeance, Abandonment
How do you deal with anger? Do you push it down? Do you blow up?