Anger in and of itself isn’t a sin, it’s what we do with it and what we are angry about. The OT records that God got angry about 375 times. Jesus demonstrated righteous anger and didn’t sin even though he was angry. We can learn to do the same.
Unless you deal with your anger, it will always come out somewhere. Your anger might come out in words, actions, or the way you treat others. You might internalize some of your anger resulting in depression, negative thoughts, self-harm, or a myriad of health problems. Anger may also come out in vindictive ways such as revenge or manipulation.
What causes us to feel anger? Anger can come from an emotional or physical hurt. Physical pain can cause short-term anger, but emotional hurt can have lasting effects. Anger can also come from frustration, insecurity, or unmet expectations. Once we understand what causes anger and see how we typically respond, the logical next step is to actually deal with the root cause.
There was a huge fire at a recycling center. There were old tires, cardboard boxes, mattresses, and just about everything else just piled in a heap near a tire shredding machine. As tires were going through the shredder, a spark jumped out and ignited the cardboard which ignited the plastic which ignited everything else. In the same way when we store up unresolved issues in our heart it doesn’t take much to ignite an angry fire. The more unresolved issues we stuff in our lives, the bigger the risk of an angry fire.
So how do we diffuse anger? First, admit you are angry. The Apostle Paul tells us in Ephesians 4:26-27 that when anger is present we should acknowledge it and control it. We are not to hang on to unresolved anger. Second, identify the real source of your anger. Often we take out our anger other people and things instead of dealing with the real source. Ask God to shine his searchlight on your heart to help you identify the real source of your anger. Third, surrender your anger to God. James 4:11–12 tell us to do this. So often we want revenge, but God wants us to give our anger to Him because He is the judge.
If you need to take righteous action on your anger, you may need to talk to the person who offended you. Let the Holy Spirit lead you to reconciliation. We don’t have to tolerate injustice or offences without taking action. We are told to speak the truth in love. On the other hand we want the Holy Spirit to bring us to a place of brokenness so that we can heal from the anger burning inside. This is so hard, but this is what believers are called to do. You don’t have to carry the pain anymore, you can give it to God.
Firefighters keep shooting water into the pile of rubble because there are often smoldering hot spots that can ignite again. Our hearts can have hot spots too, that flare up from time to time when we least expect it because we haven’t dealt with the anger. We need the Holy Spirit to get to the center of our hearts. If you don’t allow God’s Spirit to saturate your heart, you might see another flare up.
If you are ready, take a step of faith and identify what or who is the cause of our anger. Do you see a person’s face? Do you see what they did to you or said to you? Are you angry at yourself? What is the real source of your anger? When you surrender your anger, you will have peace in your heart. If you have been mad at yourself, ask God to forgive you for whatever you did and step into freedom. If you need to forgive someone, do the best you can to start that process today. You might have to do this over and over, and each time you do, you will move a little bit more from wounded to wonderful.