Pressure Points: Anger
Along with the challenges of life comes pressure. Pressure impacts us physically and emotionally. Physically, our bodies have pressure points that when stimulated, create reactions that can be desirable or undesirable. In similar manner, there are pressure points that touch us emotionally eliciting certain reactions. One of those reactions is anger.
In today’s world, we are seeing people behave in ways that we never imagined, including Christians. It’s as if we’ve been given permission to allow the worst parts of ourselves to be unrestrained. A recent Time magazine article I read asserts that anger has become the dominant cultural force of our time. Whether this is true or not, we may never know. However, it is noticeable that in this country, people are angry.
In the first few pages of the Bible we are introduced to the harmful nature of anger when reading about Cain and Abel. The Bible has several other accounts of the dire consequences of unbridled anger. God’s Word warns us about this:
Ephesians 4:26-27 NLT
26 And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 for anger gives a foothold to the devil.
To me anger is similar to a hurricane. When anger sets in, if you move forward to properly resolve it, it’s like dissipating hurricane force winds that start big and quickly lose strength. But when anger is not addressed timely and left unresolved, it is like hurricane force winds that sit over the ocean, becoming bigger, picking up speed and gaining strength. By the time it hits land, it destroys everything in its path. Anger left to fester has unintended consequences….much like a hurricane.
Here’s what we need to understand: Anger is not automatically a bad thing. You can be angry and not be in sin. God’s Word makes several references to the anger of God. But His anger is a righteous anger directed to the sin nature of mankind. Jesus had occasion to be angry. Yet, it was a righteous anger directed toward those who would defile God’s house.
When anger is misguided, it leads to self-indulgence – it becomes about you. We have a tendency to get angry when we feel helpless; when we feel abused; when we feel rejected; when we feel neglected or abandoned; when we feel ridiculed; or when we feel inadequate. When it becomes about you, you run the risk of excess – things gets blown out of proportion – feelings of resentment and revenge can set in. Often, your remedy is worse than the offense itself and you open the door to be a “pawn” of the devil. Nobody likes to think of themselves as a pawn, but that’s exactly what can happen according to the scripture we just read. Your anger gives Satan access and he will do all he can to influence you by conjuring up all kinds of scenarios and resolutions that are ungodly.
Christians must safeguard against the abuse of anger. Do you know what the best safeguard is? It is LOVE. Only those who love much can make a wise use of anger. If we are merciful, tender-hearted, and kind, we will be able to see people as imperfect, love them in spite of their imperfections, as Jesus does us, and abandon our own personal agendas. [Read Colossians 3:12-14]
If you’re struggling with anger, you can be set free. If it has become a stronghold in your life, it can be torn down through the power of Jesus Christ according to 2 Corinthians 10:3-5. Don’t become a slave to anger but take it captive and let it become a slave to God’s Word in you. Remember what the Bible says in Romans 6:16 NLT– that you are a slave to whatever you choose to obey.
You’ve got to take captive those outbursts of anger; that rage; that tendency for violence; those thoughts of revenge; and that lack of civility. In its place, you need to learn to forgive as Christ has forgiven you; learn how to love as Christ has loved you; learn how to be gracious and Christ’s grace has been given to you.