Can a Real Christian Be Angry?
I really struggle with anger. It seems like I just can’t keep it under control. I know it’s not Christian to be angry, so what advice would you give me?
One of my favorite proverbs is Proverb 29:11: “A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control.” NIV Anger is a powerful emotion. You might find this neurological information helpful. The amygdala, an unconscious part of lower brain is intricately involved in the generation of human emotion. It is instrumental in the Fear/Appeasement—Flight—Fight survival response. The amygdala is one of the most active parts of the brain. It is essentially alert and firing all the time.
Many often ask: “Is it a sin to be angry?” Of course not. Anger is a necessary, built-in emotion. (Proverbs 27:4; 14:17; Ephesians 4:26-27). The emotion of anger is not sin; but, anger has the potential to lead into sin. Anger does not become sin until we translate it into aggressive and hostile actions—or activities destructive to the self.
Why do people get angry? Some are hurting (Proverbs 20:2), some are dealing with a brain chemistry imbalance, and some have opened their lives to a demonic stronghold (Ephesians 4:26-27).
Many people don’t realize they are angry. According to Dwight L. Carlson, M.D. the following are misconceptions about anger:
1. If I don’t look, feel, or seem angry, I don’t have an anger problem.
2. If I ignore my hurts and anger, they will go away and won’t cause me any trouble later on.
3. If I just let all my feelings and anger out—just get them out of my system—I’ll solve my anger problems.
4. It won’t cost me too much emotionally to be a nice person who never gets angry at anybody.
5. If I express my hurts and anger to the person with whom I’m angry, our relationship will suffer.
Very often, we tend to express our anger in two ways: we blow up and vent our anger (Proverbs 29:11), or we internalize it by “clamming up.” In his dynamic work, The Angry Book, Dr. Theodore Isaac Rubin, M.D., states that the following are ways that we express our anger:
1. Venting: Auto Poison; Bullying; Explosive Behavior; Rage; Violence; Suicide; Murder
2. Repressing: Anxiety; Depression; Self-Sabotage; High Blood Pressure; Overeating; Under eating; Sleep Problems; Silent Treatment; Malicious Gossip; Overworking; Over sexing; Over exercising; Bad Dreams; Always Tired; Drugs; Alcohol; Juice-Stewing
Now, let’s come to the crux of the matter. What do I do when I feel myself becoming angry? (Proverbs 16:32)
1. Deescalate the emotions of the moment. Choose to calm yourself down. (Proverbs 30:33; 15:1)
2. Ask the question, “Where have I been hurt?” (Proverbs 19:11)
3. Then, process the hurt by mourning with a trusted friend and receiving comfort, understanding the truth of what happened and by forgiving the offender.
Finally, look at Jesus as our model.
1. He stood up for righteous principles.
2. He passed over inconsequential issues.
3. He was able to forgive those who hurt Him.
4. He prayed for those who misused him.
5. He loved with deep compassion, despite whatever was done against Him.
I hope this helps. We need to feel the emotion of anger to be healthy, as long as we express it in a godly way.