July 11, 2020
Anger … Is It Good or Bad?
Anger: good or bad? The answer is that anger is good, and the answer is that anger can also be bad. Anger is a God-given emotional feeling or energy designed for good. But the way we use and express anger-produced energy can often be dysfunctional and lead to sin. But anger doesn’t have to lead to frustration, or even sin. With God’s help, we can control the thoughts and actions that come when an event produces angry feelings in us. We can actually utilize our anger in a productive way for a great outcome that honors God and blesses us.
The Bible tells of many times when anger was a positive force for achieving good: Moses’ anger when the Israelites worshipped idols resulted in their repentance (Exodus 32:19-35); Jesus’ anger motivated him to clear blasphemers and abusers from His Father’s temple (Luke 19:45-48).
Actually, it seems like God is angry and jealous during half of the Old Testament. Mankind, especially the Israelites, chronically rejected God and exalted themselves to the throne, doing their own thing. Remember why God sent the flood. Consider His response to the Tower of Babel. Think about the me-centered activities of Sodom and Gomorrah and God’s anger. Because we know God never sins, and God was angry many times, we know anger itself can’t be a bad or sinful thing. So then, what is anger and how can it be useful to us?
Our anger can be a positive force in many daily situations. Appropriate anger in response to our children’s wrong behaviors can motivate us as parents to exert firm but loving discipline. Anger against injustices and wrongdoing in our communities can motivate us to do something positive about those situations. Anger energizes and motivates us to take action when we might otherwise be passive in areas of struggle or conflict. Tomorrow, we will dig into anger’s best and most important role in our lives.
But we also need to be very careful. Our anger can also lead to sinful acts of selfishness, unkindness or even aggression. It is our responsibility to use our anger-induced energy in positive ways, even if it’s just walking around the block to cool off. Satan knows that we have a lot of trouble handling our emotions, so he is always trying to push our emotional buttons. Most spiritual warfare is focused on deception and pushing emotions, especially negative ones. This is why alcohol and drugs and even caffeine are so dangerous. These substances interfere with our control circuitry and allow our feelings to intensify or surface unchecked. This is why suicides, domestic violence, sexual assaults and physical fights often happen under the influence.
Today, if you experience anger, stop and remember that anger itself isn’t bad. It’s what you decide to do with your anger that determines a positive or negative outcome. When anger gives you energy to solve a problem, you need to figure out what the problem is, all the while thinking with your head, not with your anger. Whether you control your anger or you allow your anger to control you, is your decision, so choose well.
Dear Father God, forgive me for the times I have used my anger in sinful ways instead of as a positive force. I know I get irritated easily and for reasons that are so me-centered. Help me to control my thoughts and actions and to use my anger in positive ways. I am so embarrassed by how entitled I act and how easily I become angry when I don’t get my agenda. Teach me to take all thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ, not to the obedience of my own desires. Help me to develop eyes that see life more clearly and from a bigger perspective—Your view. I pray this and all prayers in the name of Jesus, who managed His anger perfectly—to glorify You. And all God’s children say AMEN!
“Go ahead and be angry. You do well to be angry … but don’t use your anger as fuel for revenge. And don’t stay angry. Don’t go to bed angry. Don’t give the Devil that kind of foothold in your life.” Ephesians 4:26-27