I’m good at anger. Good at holding onto it for a hot minute, too. But God’s been telling me to let it go. Daily. Even moment to moment.
There’s a lot of things that personally make me angry.
From pet peeves to the choices others make. There are a lot of things culturally and politically that make me angry. But I’m learning that holding onto anger has no good outcomes.
Anger happens. It’s a human emotion. The Bible even says ‘in your anger, do not sin’. (Eph 4:26). But as far as having a ‘right to be angry’...I don’t think we have much support from scripture....At least not holding onto it for an undisclosed amount of time. In the same verse in Ephesians, we’re told not to let the sun go down on our anger. I think we’re supposed to surrender it.
There are 5 books of the Bible that are called “Wisdom Literature” (Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon). In all these books, anger is coupled with another word - and that’s “foolishness”. Scripture doesn’t paint anger as a ‘useful tool’.
But then we say “what about ‘righteous’ anger? What about injustice and cruelty done to others? Don’t I have a right to get angry about that? “And ‘Jesus overturned the tables in the temple!!!’ Wasn’t He angry?”
Righteous anger isn’t a fruit of the spirit. Righteous anger at best leads us towards taking action steps to right things that are wrong. At worst, righteous anger turns into bitter fuel. Eph. 4:27 says don’t let the devil get a foothold from anger…
See, the problem with my anger is that it’s usually over something that God has asked me to forgive. So - even if I deem my anger “righteous” - I’m still called to forgive it.
The transforming fruits of Christianity are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Those are the world changers. Those are the virtues that lead to heart transformation. So, in whatever we do, if the fuel is anger…even what you might call “righteous anger”….we’re in a heap of trouble.
I’m handing over the anger and asking for fruit. I think God’s so good, He’ll trade with me. I think it’s time we let anger be God’s prerogative and stick to the things He has told us to search for.
Eph. 4:31 Col. 3:8