How can you recognise anger which is not in the ‘typical’ form?
As seen from the dictionary definition, anger is a strong emotion. Perhaps then, if one is feeling very strongly about something they should ask themselves, “Is this anger?” I think it’s good to identify and label anger for what it is so that you can name and pray against it specifically if need be. Also, if you don’t know that you are angry, you are less likely to deal with it appropriately.
Is it wrong to get angry?
I do not think it is wrong to get angry. Proverbs 16:32 says:
He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty,
And he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.
Notice it says “He who is slow to anger”. It does not say ‘He who never gets angry’. To me, this reflects that anger is a natural human emotion and we are not expected to never get angry. However, it is not advisable to be angry often and even if provoked, we should resist getting angry.
Ephesians 4:26-7 says “Be angry and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, 27nor give place to the devil. The quote is from Psalm 4.4: Be angry, and do not sin. Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still. “Be angry”. So I think we can establish that it is not a crime to be angry. The Bible does not say we should never be angry but what we do after getting angry is very important. I think this is emphasised by The Message translation of Ephesians 4:26-7:
Go ahead and be angry. You do well to be angry—but don’t use your anger as fuel for revenge. And don’t stay angry. Don’t go to bed angry. Don’t give the Devil that kind of foothold in your life.
If we look at the case of Simeon and Levi, it shows what can happen when you act on your anger. When their sister Dinah was raped by Shechem the Hivite, they were angry as too were her other brothers (Genesis 34:7). However, it was only Simeon and Levi who acted on this anger by killing all the men of Shechem’s city (vs 25). There are not recorded any immediate consequences of their actions (such as revenge by another party) but in Jacob’s final days in Genesis 49 he revisits this episode and curses Simeon and Levi for their anger (vs 7). While many of their other brothers were blessed, they were not. From this I notice several things:
- Several brothers got angry but only Simeon and Levi acted on it which led to a curse
- The consequences of your actions may not always be seen immediately. It was many years between the incident and Jacob’s final words to his sons. We should be careful what we do today so that we do not reap bad things tomorrow.
- The curse affected their descendants. Your act of anger may therefore not just negatively affect you, but others as well for years to come.
So back to the question: “Is it wrong to get angry?” Interestingly, God asked Jonah a similar question. Jonah 4:1 says that “…Jonah…became angry.” In verse 4 God asks him, “… ‘Is it right for you to be angry?’ ”. This says to me two things
- It’s not necessarily wrong to be angry
- If you are angry, there should be just cause for this.
So in summary, there is no sin in being angry of itself. However, one should not be angry often and if you are, there should be just cause for it.
Note also as seen in Ephesians 4:27 that anger can give the devil a foothold in your life. I think this means that anger can open a doorway to the enemy to operate in your life and I don’t think any of us want that.
In more recent times, individuals who were once on fire and were zealous about their faith have been faced with life challenges that have left many, even those high profile persons, turning away from the faith. People who were once passionate and made great impact on many people’s lives, yet when faced with life’s challenges, failed expectations and unanswered questions, they turned away from the faith. Now that they have left the faith I can’t help but wonder, what is their belief system now? Who are they serving?
1 Timothy 4:14 The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.
Looking back over the 10+ years ago youth ministry was buzzing full of excitement and passion for the faith teenagers would get together encouraging, inspiring and ministering to each other using their talents and God-given gifts to do so. It was a time when creativity was at its peak, where young people expressed their faith through performing arts such as grime mc, dancing, singing etc. Lives were being transformed, young people, were coming to know Christ, being invited to various gospel events by their friends. I recall on most days after prayer meeting long after church had ended, I would have to ask the young people to go home, in order to lock up the church building they literally enjoyed fellowshipping in church together it was a place of acceptance, love, encouragement and freedom of expression of their faith, which further ignited their zeal. Yet even during this time each individual had their own personal challenges, but still they were pro-active about their faith and continued to build each other up. Fast forward to today, the zeal is no longer there, many have walked away from the faith, which caused me to ask the question, ‘was it all a hype?’ Did they really hear the voice of God? Did they not experience God?’ I have spoken to a few who were once believers and have now confessed to being unbelievers. In these conversations they have expressed disappointment, saying Christ did not meet their expectations, and Christianity no longer made sense as they still had unanswered questions. Whilst I extend a hand of compassion and am cognisant of the fact that life sometimes can throw us some curve balls which can cause us to doubt our very faith, the very foundation on which we stand and profess to believe, this is common, 1 Cor 10:13.
Matthew 11:3 to ask him, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?”
I can just imagine John the Baptist saying to himself, when faced with death and gripped by fear, ‘if you really are the messiah, you will save me, that’s my expectation, if you are, deliver me from prison, you simply cannot be the messiah, there is no way the real messiah would let me go to prison’. His language was that of disappointment, confusion, anger and frustration, surrounded by fear. Yet the Lord did not work on his agenda, timing or meet his expectations, the Lord was not moved by his whirlwind of emotions. But isn’t this the basis of our Christian walk, it’s not about us but all about Him. Didn’t Christ say that we are to deny ourselves pick up our cross and follow Him? Did not the Word of God say that we were created by Him for His pleasure (purpose/will)? Didn’t the word of God say my sheep knows my voice and a stranger they will not follow? The word of God also states ‘they went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us’, 1John 2:19. This has caused me to question what their foundation was to start with. Did they really believe or ‘was it all a hype’? Did they really hear the voice of God? Was all that excitement about self- gratification rather than it was Christ centred? Believers, it is important as Christians to spend time in the presence of God away from all the excitement, seek after the deep things of God, the bible says ‘deep calleth unto deep’. The deep things of God are not fame and fortune. Have a deep meaningful connection with your creator, ask Him about His will, His purpose for your life, ‘live on purpose, God’s purpose!’ Remember we were created for Him, for His pleasure. The scripture says that we are to work out our salvation with fear and trembling. Remember Christianity is about a relationship, a one on one with our heavenly Father. It’s about acknowledging, accepting and believing the finish work of the cross. Let us continue to hold fast to our faith, let’s not neglect our faith, friends that also comes at a cost, Hebrew 2:2-3. Let us lay aside every sin and weight that so easily beset us, and run our race. The weight might be our agenda, our purpose, and seek the face of God and be taken over by His purpose for our lives. The word of God is truth and life, Hebrew 4:12’ His word says He is able to exceed our expectations, Ephesians 3:2. Many want the power and the glamour, but what about the suffering? Oh that I may know Him in the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His suffering, Philippians 3:10. It was David who said ‘it was good for me to be afflicted’ because after his suffering and even during his suffering God showed himself strong in David’s life!
Fans come and go, but Followers are committed, no matter what. which are you?