Moses, though a longsuffering leader, eventually lost his patience. He struck the rock, which symbolized Christ, twice rather than once, as instructed. His expression of anger, not in line with God’s purposes, cost him the blessing of entering the land.
Paul, on the other hand, became angry with Peter and ‘withstood him to his face’ because he separated himself again from the Gentiles in order to please the Jews. Paul’s expression of anger served a constructive and Godly purpose.
God does not forbid anger. He feels anger himself. Instead, He intends for us to use our anger for good purposes.
Of course, that’s easier said than done.
I observe people typically dealing with anger in one of two non-helpful ways:
- Suppress it. Christians often believe anger is sinful and try to suppress or deny it. However, unresolved anger eventually leaks out in some way!
- Nurture it. Others do not attempt to reign in their anger at all. They mentally justify and rehearse the things that upset them. They feed and fuel their anger until it grows into a monster that takes on a life of its own.
Using anger for transformational and godly purposes begins with understanding that anger expresses a normal human reaction to perceived injustice. With that said, three actions can help us channel and manage our anger constructively.
- Get Understanding. Anger, like all emotions, provides information for us to make sense of and examine. Think before you speak. Examine your own heart. Determine whether the injustice you perceive truly demands the reaction you are giving to it.
- Create a Solution. One of the great benefits of anger – and studies bear this out – includes the fact that it can motivate problem solving. We may determine that we need to work on greater understanding of our own struggles and reactions. We may decide to address a situation. Use the energy anger provides to think of what really should be done.
- Take Action. Another great aspect of anger: it motivates action. If you determine, with time and prayer, that you do need to take a particular course of action to correct a problem, be sure to follow through even after the anger subsides. Anger can drive you to confront situations which you otherwise might ignore.
Finally, did you ever notice that it’s really hard to stay mad at someone when you’re praying for them? That is exactly why we should pray for them!
Praying through the three simple steps above understand your angry reaction, create solutions and utilize it for constructive and redemptive purposes.
As a Christian, strive for righteous, productive and redemptive anger!