Everyone struggles with anger, that hot under the collar feeling when someone cuts us off in traffic. But what is anger? What is anger for? How are we supposed to deal with our anger? What is righteous and unrighteous anger?
Yes, we all experience anger but anger is a very misunderstood emotion. In church we learn that it is wrong to be angry. But doesn’t it seem like God was always angry about something in the Old Testament. Is He angry now? How come it is okay for God to get angry and not us?
So many questions. First, let’s take a closer look at anger.
Anger is a normal human emotion with a wide range of intensity from mild irritation to rage. Whatever the level, it is a reaction to a perceived threat against ourselves, loved ones, our self-image or some part of our identity. It is a warning siren that goes off to tell us that something is wrong.
With a threat imminent, the human body reacts with a rush of adrenaline, increased heart rate and blood pressure, and muscles flexing for the fight or flight response. To determine the response, our minds want to search out the source of threat. Our behavior then expresses our anger.
Therefore, our anger is a pain response. If you hit your thumb with a hammer, you will have A) a sore thumb and B) anger. Sometimes the pain is in the present but more likely the pain we feel is in our store house of pain memory. All it takes is the mere threat of pain and we react.
Psychology and society says to manage your anger. Change bad behavior responses to better responses. Well-meaning Christians teach that it is OK to be righteous in our anger over injustice and sin but not to be angry when someone hurts our feelings. But is anger sin, in and of itself?
No, anger is not sin. We are told in Ephesians 4:26 to be angry but do not sin in our anger and not to give place to the devil. Paul has given us a pattern to follow concerning anger.
First, acknowledge your anger. This emotion is given to us by God our Creator as a signal that something hurts. Determine whether it is a physical wound or an emotional wound. If it is a physical wound, then tend to that wound’s needs. If is not a physical wound, then it is an emotional wound which needs to be healed. When you leave an emotional wound unhealed, like a neglected physical wound, it will fester and cause even more emotional pain and damage.
Just look at any average church. The reason Christians can’t get along is because we are reacting to the emotional wounds we carry. People bump into each other’s wounds and blame others for the pain they feel. The true source of our anger is the wound we already carry. The present conflict is just poking a stick into old wounds.
We then have a choice to make. Door number one is to choose a human reaction: fight or flight. But as a king in the Kingdom, we have another choice. Door number two is a Kingdom choice. That choice is to choose to heal. Anytime life bumps into our wounds it can become a “Wholeness Moment.” That hurtful situation can give us an opportunity to choose to run to Father to experience His healing rather than nursing our wounds and giving a place for the enemy to steal, kill and destroy.
In part 2 of KingdomAnger Management I will tell you about Father kissing our boo boos away!