What determines an angry person? The dictionary tells us that anger is a feeling of displeasure resulting from injury, mistreatment, and opposition usually showing itself in a desire to fight back. When using this definition we are given the impression that anger comes from outside of us. It really has more to do with other people. The big question is, “can someone else really determine how we are to feel?” This definition leaves us hopeless if we consider the lack of control we have of our emotions. In the Word of God we find hope concerning anger. Let’s take the time to discover the hope that can be ours as we view anger biblically.
What does the Bible say about anger?
“A fool gives full vent to his spirit,…” Proverbs 29:11a
Here we learn that an angry person is a fool. This is not a complement. When dealing with a fool, we find it hard to make any headway because he is stuck in his ways. The one who is angry is also described as one who lets others have it! In other words, he pukes all of his angry words of frustration on those in front of him.
“A man of wrath stirs up strife, and one given to anger causes much transgression.” Proverbs 29:22
We read that an angry person will instigate anger in those around him. If others don’t respond with anger, they many respond with fear. No one likes to be around someone who is venting his anger. This person also commits many sins when displaying his anger. His temper can become violent and lead to many sinful acts against others.
“But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person.” Matthew 15:18
The Bible tells us that our anger does not come from outside of us but from our own hearts. We say things like…”you make me so angry” or “that really made me mad”. These statements are not true. It is my choice to respond in an angry way. It is not the fault of my husband, my wife, my children, my boss, my neighbors, my friends, or my enemies. It is my choice. That means I have to check my own heart and how I respond to situations.
What are some heart check questions to help us determine if we are angry?
- Am I known for my anger or as an angry person?
This is a hard question to answer. It may be something you have to ask someone who is close to you to answer. We need help sometimes in evaluating ourselves. We don’t always hear the tone of our voice or see the look on our face. We may not think we are angry but may be full of excuses of why we responded the way we did. Perhaps it is just irritation or frustration that we feel. But the truth of the matter is that irritation and frustration are both forms of anger. There are those of us who wear these emotions on our sleeves all the time. It is as if it is acceptable to be negative or upset with life. The answer to this question can be the beginning of change in our heart as we realize the truth.
- Do I allow my desires to rule me to the point of harming my relationships with others?
Desires are real for all of us. We can desire good things. It is really not about the good things we desire but if we are willing to destroy others in order to get those good things. We get so angry when our desires are not met by someone else. If I want my husband to do something for me in a certain way and he fails, then I respond in anger. When I do that, my desire is ruling me and harming my relationship with him.
- Do I think I have a right or I deserve better? Do I make statements like, “this is not what I signed up for”?
It is so easy to think we are owed something in this life. This idea of rights is very prevalent in our country. If we think something would be good for us, then we feel we have a right to it. We make a stand and fight for our rights. This is something we are proud of but it is not really biblical. When life doesn’t go our way then we are upset and say things like, “this is not what I signed up for”. What we are really saying is “my way is best”.
We are going to work through the issue of anger in the next few blogs. This is just an introduction and an opportunity to check your heart to see if you are angry. If you are an angry person, don’t despair because God has answers in His Word. His answers will bring hope and relief. The first step to restoration is admission of anger.
“The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” Lamentations 3:24