Anger isn’t the “negative” emotion we often make it out to be.[/blockquote]After I indifferently described an upsetting family situation to a friend, she replied, “You have yet to be angry in a way that the bible blesses.” It’s not that I wasn’t ranting or raving enough; it’s that my apathy, itself, was sinful and impeded the healing work God wanted to do. Somehow, we’ve downgraded the Ephesians 4:26 command to “Be angry, and sin not,” and taken it as mere permission to be angry, with an expectation to get over it quickly. When we study that verse, however, we see both the command to be angry and the context for why we should be angry.
One of the first things we try to do with our emotions is change them. We try to immediately conceal, curb, or change emotions like anger, which we think of as negative or bad. But God gave us the capacity to experience a wide range of emotions, and not only that, He’s commanded us to experience them. But wait. If God is commanding us to experience anger, then we’re in direct opposition of His commands when we “stuff our feelings,” dismiss our anger, or avoid these feelings altogether. When we run from our feelings, we rebel against God.[blockquote width=’25’ mark=’grey’]
Instead of changing your emotions, allow your emotions to change you.[/blockquote]Anger isn’t the “negative” emotion we often make it out to be. Anger is often a secondary emotion, which masks other painful feelings like disappointment, embarrassment, or rejection, but that doesn’t make anger any less powerful. C.S. Lewis contended that God uses pain as a megaphone to rouse a deaf world because pain [and anger] insists upon being heard. Anger still serves the purpose of propelling us into action.
I’ll borrow from Pastor Choco, who said, “Prayer is good, but it has to move us to do something.” Anger is good, but it has to move us to do something. The context of the command to “be angry and sin not” is one that demands a just response to evil and wrongdoing. We’re commanded to experience our anger so it can do what it should – empower us to confront sin and right wrongs. This isn’t a call to anger that is explosive or destructive, but rather anger that is restorative and seeks to build up. Heart Check: How do you know your anger is Godly? If it angers God, it ought to anger us.
You can’t profess to be a Christian and be unapologetically apathetic about the triumph of evil. God isn’t indifferent about injustice and wrongdoing. He’s angry, and He couples His anger with action. The cross, dripping with mercy, was as much an outpouring of God’s grace as it was His wrath, as much a symbol of His rage as His restoration. Righteous indignation seeks not just to destroy evil, but to restore to good. Heart Check: Are you more excited about exposing sins or about covering sinners? Love covers a multitude of sins.[blockquote width=’25’ mark=’grey’]
Anger is good, but it has to move us to do something.[/blockquote]Your anger over senseless murders, racism, addiction, sexism, and the unending list of social ills should stir a desire to rage until you see restoration. If your anger never pushes you to action, you’ve missed out on precious opportunities to both be blessed and be a blessing, opportunities to be angry in a way the bible blesses. So the next time you’re angry, I challenge you to sit with it, to see what actions it stirs within you, and if they’re aligned with the will of God. Instead of changing your emotions, allow your emotions to change you, allow them to change your world. [/box_holder]
The resources below can help you with expressing your anger in healthy ways, whether with a trained therapist or like-minded, supportive friends.
Insurance companies can also furnish a list of covered providers in your area.