The word anger denotes a strong emotional reaction of displeasure, often leading to plans for or outright revenge and punishment. Wrath is an extreme form of anger, which is destructive as well as vindictive. Some people try to excuse their anger by quoting Ephesians 4:26, “Be ye angry, and sin not…” This essentially refers to righteous indignation or anger directed at sin, which is generally considered the only form of ‘anger’ that is not sinful, e.g., when Jesus drove the money lenders out of the temple (Matthew 21). Righteous indignation is anger (displeasure) directed towards what angers God Himself (sin).
Righteous indignation is justly expressed when we are confronted with sin. This produces positive results, when it is handled with wisdom and patience, and turns sinners unto God and backsliders get restored. The word of God explains in Proverbs 16:32 that “he that is slow to anger is better than the mighty”. The Bible admonishes further that we should put away bitterness, wrath and anger, because anger rests in the bosom of fools. (Ephesians 4:31; Ecclesiastes 7:9).
Anger can be categorized as being passive or active; the active form is when there is an obvious expression of anger with open display of words and actions to portray it, while the passive form is the hidden form of anger with pretense. This form of anger can be seen in the story of Cain and Abel. Both forms can co-habit with revenge and envy. Anger gives birth to pains, regret and other negative emotions when allowed to thrive. Therefore, having the ability to live above anger by God’s grace, is a great virtue.
There are so many causes of anger: it can be due to a reaction towards a negative action or word, can result from envy and a desire for something not yet acquired, it can be used as a defense mechanism and can also be a chronic habit emanating from previous environmental or lifestyle issues. As children of God, regardless of the factors that may be a predisposition for getting angry, we should beware of anger.
Anger is a good tool in the hand of the devil to fight against Christians and to prevent them from receiving God’s promised blessings. The case of Moses in the Bible exemplifies this, anger denied him entrance into the promised land. The devil always has a means of bringing up events that can lure Christians to anger, it requires wisdom and patience to overcome this great temptation.
Anger portrays a negative picture and impression about its host. It gives unpleasant results and may make the angry person speak heavy words that cannot be recalled. Anger gives birth to wicked acts and leads to regrets. God has given us the grace to daily live according to His will, only if we can tap into His divine grace and strength. He knows our weakness and when we submit this at His feet, He will help us to nail it to His cross.
Any time you notice your emotions tending towards anger, the ability to promptly deal with it with great determination to uproot it from your path to eternity is very essential. After the experience of salvation, it is important to go on to sanctification so as to have the nature of sin uprooted. May God help us to constantly fulfill His will as we journey to Heaven. Amen