More on what made Jesus mad!
Ephesians 4:26 says, ‘In your anger do not sin’. It doesn’t say ‘do not get angry’; or ‘if you get angry’. What it’s saying is, feeling angry is not a problem, but it’s about what we do and how we act on these feelings.
Anger is a completely healthy part of human behaviour. It is not always a negative emotion, as it can draw our attention to our own hurts and fears so we can protect ourselves if we need to. It can also draw our attention to injustice and help to motivate us to action.
Anger can be an emotional response to pain, coming from within or outside of ourselves, as in blocked goals - when people or circumstances prevent us reaching a much-desired goal.
However, ‘anger driven’ behaviour can be destructive if it gets out of control - it can destroy relationships with others and with our own mental health. If we are not able to understand and control angry feelings when they arise, they can cause us to sin.
Understanding our anger issues, the root of our anger and our triggers, will help us to manage it in a controlled and healthy way. We all need to express ourselves. We need to be heard and understood, even from infancy. If we are not heard, we can become frustrated and angry, and develop ways of dealing with our feelings which we take into adolescence and adulthood.
See if you can recognise any of these behaviours -
Aggressive Anger: expresses itself in bullying others; being oppressive; emotional and physical abuse; violence; being out of control, revengeful and self-centred.
Passive Aggressive: is a silent anger. It’s opposite to being openly aggressive but can be just as destructive. It’s being too afraid of confrontation and other people’s reactions but expressing anger subversively, using certain behaviours to punish others: withdrawing; sulking; grumbling; undeserved complaining; blaming; silence; stubbornness; being evasive; procrastinating.
God got justifiably angry and it could be that your anger is justifiable too. It’s important that we are heard, acknowledged and understood.
In the next Church Sofa we will look at healthy ways of expressing anger.