Anger is a Blessing from God
Anger in our lives is essential and can be a very positive thing. We have all experienced the negative side of anger but t
1. God commands us to be angry
The Bible tells us to be angry but sin not (Ephesians 4:26)1 26 “Be angry, and don’t sin.”. I have focussed on the ‘sin not’ bit in my life probably because of my legalistic tendencies but have gradually realised there is something quite positive in this command.
2. We need anger to enter into the Kingdom of God
Jesus tells us that the Kingdom of God suffers violence and violent take it by force (Matthew 11:12)2 12 From the days of John the Baptizer until now, the Kingdom of Heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.. In other words, those who would be part of the Kingdom of God have to forcible choose to enter into it. This is a lifelong commitment to follow God no matter how hard or difficult this may be. This is aggressively believing the Good News.
3. Anger motivates us to defend both ourselves and others
Rulers are urged to defend the poor and the fatherless (Psalm 82:3)3 3 “Defend the weak, the poor, and the fatherless.. We also have a responsibility to do this when it is in our power to do so. When we see an injustice and we become angry this can motivate us to right actions. The angry man who sees a child being attacked by a gang and leaps to the defence of the child is using anger rightly.
4. Christians need to fight for the truth
Jude commands Christians to contend for their faith (Jude 1:3)4 3 Beloved, while I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I was constrained to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.. As a student I was late joining a group where some young believers had had to listen to a couple of people who had shredded their new confession and beliefs. I became very angry and answered the points that had been raised by these cynics. This both helped the new believers and gave an opportunity for these people to think again about what they believed.
5. Anger keeps us safe in danger
God has made us to react to physical danger with fight or flight reflexes. This response can preserve us in difficult circumstances. It can be physical, mental and emotional. We need to react to threat with passion and vigour, anger can energise us to do so. Moses left the presence of Pharaoh with great anger and this was the prelude to the Children of Israel escaping slavery in Egypt (Exodus 11:8)5 8 All these servants of yours will come down to me, and bow down themselves to me, saying, “Get out, with all the people who follow you;” and after that I will go out.’ ” He went out from Pharaoh in hot anger..
6. Anger helps us to reject evil
Jesus was angry with the hypocrites in the synagogue when He was healing the man with the withered hand (Mark 3:5)6 5 When he had looked around at them with anger, being grieved at the hardening of their hearts, he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was restored as healthy as the other.. These hypocrites valued their religion more than this needy man. Sin should anger us especially our own failure. This can be a powerful motivation to change. Paul talks about us revenging our disobedience (2 Corinthians 10:6)7 6 and being in readiness to avenge all disobedience when your obedience is made full..
7. Anger can help us assert ourselves
Nowhere in the Bible are we encouraged to be doormats for others or to willingly expose ourselves to humiliation. Jesus tells His disciples to go elsewhere when they are rejected (Matthew 10:23)8 23 But when they persecute you in this city, flee into the next, for most certainly I tell you, you will not have gone through the cities of Israel until the Son of Man has come.. Paul tells Timothy to let no one despise his youth (1 Timothy 4:12)9 12 Let no man despise your youth; but be an example to those who believe, in word, in your way of life, in love, in spirit, in faith, and in purity.. Some years ago, when in a job someone made a determined effort over a period of years to ruin my reputation and have me removed from my position. I was angry about this and this energised me in right ways to defend myself and assert my integrity.
8. Anger warns us there is something wrong
Some people classify anger as a secondary emotion. We feel angry for a reason and when we are angered it is important that we identify the reason for this. In talking with someone in a group who had a reputation for being angry with the group it turned out he was really feeling rejected by some people he used to live with. In identifying the true cause of the emotion, it helped him to handle his anger correctly.
9. Anger can provide us with energy.
This can be true physically, spiritually, mentally and emotionally. Sometimes we need to aggressively tackle the issues we are facing. We are not directing this anger at people but at the problem we are wrestling with. I have been known to get angry with a room I am decorating and this has helped me complete the task. Synonyms for anger include passion and zeal (Titus 2:14)10 14 who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity and purify for himself a people for his own possession, zealous for good works..
10. We need to be angry about the things that God is angry about
As Christians we want to follow God. Ultimately this means we should think and feel as He does increasingly. We cannot escape the fact that some things really anger Him. Should we be unmoved and blasé about these things? I think not. God commended those who shared in the emotions He was feeling in Bible times (Isaiah 66:5)11 5 Hear Yahweh’s word, you who tremble at his word:.
Next time we feel angry let us not immediately feel guilty and accuse ourselves of having messed up. It may be that we are doing and feeling exactly as we should. Anger can be a good thing.
Of course, we need to realise that there is a negative side to anger and in the next article we will look at that.
- Can you think of other ways anger is a blessing?
- How has anger in your life benefitted you and others?
- Why do you think anger has such a bad reputation and what can we do to change this?