Anger. Rage. Blow one’s Top. Letting Off Steam. These are just a few of the phrases and words that describe an emotion that can be very destructive in our lives. Many people have many different ideas of what it means to be angry. Some people get violent with their anger and begin hitting or throwing. Some people get very loud and yell at anyone or anything around them. Some people in their anger hold everything in and begin thinking of ways to get even or revenge. Some people just hold it in and swear to never let that happen again. All of these responses to anger can be and probably are destructive to relationships and to the person who is experiencing the anger.
Let’s talk about anger today. Anger is a God given emotion that is to be helpful to us as individuals to have the heart of God.
Numbers 14:18 (ESV)
18 ‘The Lord is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, forgiving iniquity and transgression, but he will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, to the third and the fourth generation.’
As you can see the Bible says that God is slow to anger. It does not say that God doesn’t have anger. Matter of fact, the Bible says that God’s anger is fierce.
Numbers 32:14 (ESV)
14 And behold, you have risen in your fathers’ place, a brood of sinful men, to increase still more the fierce anger of the Lord against Israel!
Does that mean that God is no different than us in that He has sinned in His anger? NO!! God has not sinned in His anger because God cannot sin!!!! Since God does not sin in His anger and we are to reflect Him means that anger is not a sin. Let me say that again…Anger is NOT a sin.
If anger is not a sin, than why do we sin so much when we are angry? One of the main reasons why we sin in our anger is that we do not understand anger. Anger is an emotion that is not normally the primary emotion involved. It is called a secondary emotion which means that there is a primary emotion that is driving the anger. Anger might be the vehicle, but something else is the gasoline. There is at least one time that anger becomes primary and that is when our lives or the lives of our loved ones are in danger or threatened. Since most of the time, if ever, we do not experience that type of situation, we need to understand our anger.
The main thing that we need to understand is that no one can make us angry. Being angry is our choice. The choice is either to react with an emotional reaction or to respond with the mercy of God. What motivated God in His anger was His Holiness and His love for the people. He never reacted; He always responded with the characteristics of who He is.
Proverbs 15:18 (ESV)
18 A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger quiets contention.
As you think about your anger today, I encourage you to consider the motivation of the anger. Your motivation needs to be God’s love and holiness toward the situation in which you find yourself. Obviously, it takes God’s love and holiness within you to motivate you to respond in God’s way.