“So, do you have the right to be angry about the situation?”
There was a silence for a moment. “I don’t know about that. I don’t think that is a fair question. I mean, yeah, I ought to be treated the way I am supposed to be! Yeah, I have the right, so I have the right to feel angry and I can justify it!”
Then the follow up question I ask is, “Is there a way Scripture supports your sinful anger?” This time it wasn’t just silence, but it was crickets. As much as this individual knew as we all know that man’s anger so often doesn’t lead to righteousness of God.
This is the scenario we find many of us, don’t we? Looking back at the past several years with the political climate and pandemic condition, we live in a world that is characterized by “division”
- Gender confusion,
- Abortion rights,
- Economic status,
- Political agenda,
- Social discrimination,
- Racial mistreatment,
Maybe in at least America, we should say, “The Divided States of America” as we have witnessed this everywhere! Anger is in our homes, on the streets, elementary school, TV, and presidential debate. It’s in racial tension of our country, cubicles across with coworkers, and at grocery stores where people are throwing the bread at the registry lady.
How should the church respond in a world that is characterized by “rage” or biblically speaking, “anger” is before us? Here are several thoughts as we biblically lay out the problem of an angry heart.
What Does the Bible Say About “Anger”?
The Bible does speak of anger and that begins with God! “God is a righteous judge, and a God who feels indignation every day.” (Ps 7:11). The God of Scripture is an angry God.
The good news is His anger is not like our anger! The God of Scripture is a God who is slow to anger. “For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime.” (Ps 30:5).
However, so often when we look at “man’s anger” it is far from “God’s anger” which does not produce righteousness (Jam 1:20). Scripture makes it plain and clear.
- “A man of great wrath will pay the penalty” (Prov 19:19).
- “Wrath is cruel, anger is overwhelming” (Prov 27:4).
- “One given to anger causes much transgression” (Prov 29:22).
- Pressing anger produces strife.” (Prov 30:33).
Therefore, anger shouldn’t be an issue in churches, right? Not amongst the people of God. Among a people who are indwelt by the Spirit of Jesus Christ.
I believe that is why Paul says in one of the Pauline epistles, “Stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel…” (Phil 1:27). The world must see a united front defending and proclaiming the gospel. The church must face the world in one spirit. A fearless, unified church will astound the world. They will see the truth of the gospel.
One thing I’ve learned over the years, Satan wants to split the church in half like our country is divided in so many areas. Satan wants to do everything in the church to bring division and get us off the course!
John Macarthur a pastor and author is known for his passion for Biblical truth and leading his church to be strongly commitment to scripture. He said in a sermon on this issue, “The thing I most fear is discord, disunity, conflict and division.” The brighter the light the more the bugs it attacks!
That is why God has commanded against the human anger as the following;
- “In every place the men should pray, lifghitng holy hands without anger” (1 Tim 2:8).
- “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.” (Eph 4:31).
- “But now you must put them all away; anger, wrath” (Col 3:8).
- “Refrain from anger and forsake wrath!” (Ps 37:8).
4 Practical Applications to Dealing with an Angry Heart
The sin of anger is so often comprehended in one’s mind yet applied too few and far in between. People know the Scripture from James such as, “What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel.”(Jam 4:1-2).
Therefore, this goes beyond what we believe! Thinking alike is more than just signing a doctrinal statement. It’s our affection and attitude of like-mindedness that we have for one another.
How do we practically application Scripture gives Christian how to overcome the angry heart?
(1) Do Not Vent. Hold Back Your Anger.
“A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back” (Prov 29:11)
“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger” (Jam 1:19).
So often, people want to just want to speak their minds out. You know that guy, don’t you? The guy who always has the best idea, his idea is always the best – to him everyone else is basically an idiot, is in violation to this command.
(2) Overlook Sin and an Offense.
“Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.” (Ps 19:11).
A lot of problem will go away if we just didn’t take things too personal. Do not take matters in your own hand. Trust God who is in control of all things.
(3) Not to Respond in Sinful Anger when Someone Sins Against You.
“Scoffers set a city aflame, but the wise turn away wrath.” (Prov 29:8).
“Be angry and do not sin.” (Eph 4:26).
Too often I find this in my own life, there may not be yelling but one’s response can be “sarcastic” or “cynical” that so often lights up more fire as throwing gasoline in the conflict. Instead, do good when you are wronged. Do not as the old staying goes, “eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth” Jesus would say in this case, “Love your enemy” (Matt 5:43-44).
(4) Repent from The Sin of Anger.
“If your confess your sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
Turn away from that anger and cast it unto the Lord!
2 thoughts on “The Problem with an Angry Heart”
Reding it this morning at work as I randomly open this email. I was just about to text back a person to resolve a conflict, and I so needed to be reminded of all that God has led you to share about anger. Thank you!!
Thank you for those affirming words! I love how God uses stories like this where in His providential care brings clarity and truth into our lives.