Growing up we’ve all heard the story of the three little pigs (and the wolf), right?
The wolf’s anger grew as he became unable to get what he wanted (he wanted to blow the house down), and we all know how that ended for him. Ultimately he let his anger get the better of him. This isn’t how God wants us to react in life. There are things in this world that we have the right to feel anger over: Abuse of animals and people, murder, poverty, racism and objectification, amongst many other things. God also gets righteously angry about things that are against His nature, character and desires.
There are two main kinds of anger (Don’t be fooled, there is a BIG difference between the two
- Unrighteous anger: A strong feeling of annoyance, displeasure, or hostility. This can be things such as swearing at someone while driving because they cut you off, getting angry because the line is taking to long at the supermarket or insulting someone during the heat of an argument because you are angry. This type of anger isn’t what God wants us display.
- Righteous anger: Holy, good, innocent and morally right. This type of anger helps to grow a desire to join with God against the things that displease Him, and step away from acting out with our personal emotions. Using Righteous anger helps us to focus on His concerns and desires and not our own reactions. This anger is the one that God deems acceptable and morally right as Christians.
Does God get angry?
Yes most certainly. BUT His anger is always appropriate because He is righteous. His motivations and reasons for being angry are directed at sin therefore it is always a morally right anger.
There are some things to consider (biblically) in order to become people who use our anger in the right way
- Check your motivations. What are you acting out of? Is it revenge because someone hurt you? Is it love because you trust that God will act justly to those who have wronged you (as He promises in Romans 12:19:”Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.””
- Do you even know what your angry about anymore? Do you just lash out in anger or have a critical, judgmental and belittling attitude towards all who cross your path? Has it been so long since you spoke to others with a kind and considerate tone that you don’t even know what that feels like anymore? Dig deep and discover what it is that is causing your anger, and whether it is something perhaps you can let go of. Allow God to help you respond to others with love and kindness.
- Choose to deal with your anger as it happens. An angry heart does no good. it says in Luke 6:45 that we speak out of what’s in our hearts. If long-term anger and hate is cemented in your heart, consider how drastically different life could be if that was chipped off and replaced with more encouraging emotions. In Ephesians 4:26 it says ‘Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry’. Be encouraged to deal with your anger in a timely fashion so it doesn’t turn in to anything it shouldn’t.
- Cultivate an attitude of patience, self control, love and forgiveness. I’m sure we’ve all dealt with someone who had a foul attitude, and had they reacted better, YOU would have reacted better. You can’t change someone else (or how they may – or may not – respond, or what you wish their response could be), but you can change yourself. If you want to see more peace (and less chaos) in your life, let the change start with you! Choose to exhibit the opposite of what you have been doing, and you’ll see huge change in areas of your life that perhaps you never thought you would.
So friends, this is the kind of anger you want to portray: anger that doesn’t allow for insults, revenge, name-calling, hatred or bitterness but rather the use of anger out of the position of love, kindness and truth.
Seek to show compassion to those who wrong you, and love for their brokenness. Let God be the one to serve justice where appropriate.
Like all things that take hold of our lives, cause us to stumble, or sin – take heart and don’t be discouraged. Although change may not be instant or overnight, with Gods help it is very possible to change our reactions and responses to others instead of letting our emotions take over.