Anger is typically seen in a negative light but this is not always the case. One of the aims of this is to help you learn more about anger and also importantly know how to deal with it. For some people it occurs more frequently than for others but chances are, as a human being, one day you will get angry. When that happens, I hope this proves useful.
The Oxford Little Dictionary and Thesaurus defines anger as:
- extreme displeasure (thesaurus: annoyance, displeasure, exasperation, fury, indignation, ire, irritation, rage, resentment, vexation, wrath).
- make angry (thesaurus: annoy, colloq. aggravate, displease, drive mad, enrage, exasperate, gall, incense, inflame, infuriate, irritate, madden, outrage, provoke, vex).
The use of the word “extreme” in this definition tells me that anger should not be a frequent emotion. If someone is becoming angry often they most likely need to seek help. Given that it is an extreme emotion, I do not think it should be experienced often.
When I started to think of examples in the Bible Moses immediately came to mind. There was the incident when he struck the Rock (Numbers 20:1-13) but there’s also the time when he killed the Egyptian in Exodus 2:11-12 (although the Bible doesn’t explicitly say whether or not Moses was angry when he did so).
I view anger as being an explosive emotion. If truly Moses were angry here, I think it started before he saw the Egyptian beating a Hebrew because the fact that he was careful to check if anyone was looking shows that he did not just react in a fit of rage to the injustice he was faced with. Anger can lurk within someone and I think this anger can be more dangerous than the spontaneous anger which is, in some respects, probably more ‘honest’ as it just comes out. An anger that lurks may plot and scheme and seek to take revenge.
Is anger an emotion? A spirit? Or both?
Mark 3:5 shows that Jesus got angry. If anger were an evil spirit, I do not believe Jesus would have become angry. Considering various examples of people in the Bible being angry (Naaman in 2 Kings 5:11, Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites and the Ashdodites in Nehemiah 4:7, King Xerxes in Esther 1:12) and verses where anger is spoken of, (eg. Psalm 37:8 Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; Do not fret–it only causes harm, Proverbs 16:32 He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, And he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city); all seem to be cases of anger as a human emotion. I therefore wouldn’t call anger a spirit. However, perhaps it is the case that spirits do sometimes cause anger and if someone is frequently being irrationally anger I think it is possible that an evil spirit is behind it.