The Four Questions of Anger

| August 13, 2018

Getting upset is something we all do. It’s a part of our humanity. But anger causes us to start and stir up strife, and do destructive things to others.

Some people deal with anger by using special techniques to calm down, such as controlling their breathing or counting to ten. While these methods can sometimes help, they are only temporary solutions that deal with the surface issues. However, God, who knows our hearts, has given us another, more permanent, solution.

God helps us confront our anger by asking us challenging and convicting questions. These questions help us identify, address and overcome our destructive anger. By following the advice of the Scriptures, we can ask ourselves about the root of our anger, and bring ourselves closer to God.

God confronted Jonah about his anger with the question: “Is it right for you to be angry?” (Jonah 4: 4). While people get angry for many reasons, the root cause is often a sinful attitude against another, be it pride, lust, envy, or hatred. Jonah’s anger was no exception. He was bitter because God was extending mercy to the Assyrians, despite foretelling of their destruction. In response, God punished Jonah for his irrational hatred, for as Jesus said, “Whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgement.” (Matthew 5: 22).

In our anger, we should pray for God to search our heart, test our anxieties, and to convict us if our anger comes from “any wicked way in [us].” (Psalm 139: 23).

God’s Word reminds us to let go of our anger. “Be angry and sin not: let not the sun go down on your wrath. Neither give place to the devil.” (Ephesians 4: 26-27). Even if our anger is warranted, it should not be lasting.
To allow anger to remain is both sinful and foolish. As Solomon wrote “Do not hasten your spirit to be angry, for anger rests in the bosom of fools.” (Ecclesiastes 7: 9). Anger not only harms us spiritually, but also physically.

Holding onto grudges and stress can lead to health complications, such as ulcers, depression and nervous breakdowns.

We should not remain angry or bitter. Rather, we should “Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away… Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, and forgiving… even as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4: 31-32).

When Cain’s offering was turned away by the Lord, Cain allowed an intense, uncontrollable anger to overwhelm him. God confronted Cain about this anger with the question “Why are you wroth?”
Cain was unable to control his anger, and slew his brother Abel in cold blood. The anger that Cain experienced is a wholly destructive force, and the Bible described it with words like fury, rage, and indignation. Solomon wrote about this intense, destructive hate, saying that “An angry man stirs up strife, and a furious man abounds in transgression.” (Proverbs 29: 22).

None of us is immune to the destructive power of hatred. King Nebuchadnezzar, who once ruled the world, could not rule his anger, which led him to enact impulsive, destructive edicts. “For this reason, the king was angry and very furious, and gave the command to destroy all the wise men of Babylon.” (Daniel 2: 12)

When expressing our emotions, we must take care, as “A man of great wrath will suffer punishment…” (Proverbs 19: 19).

“He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit, than he who takes a city.” (Proverbs 16: 32).

People who get annoyed quickly often misjudge, misunderstand or misread the actions or intentions of others. For “A quick-tempered man acts foolishly.” (Proverbs 14: 17).

God’s Word instructs us to be slow to anger: “Let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” (James 1: 19-20). A person who is slow to anger may occasionally become disturbed, but it takes a great deal of time before they get upset. They listen, and evaluate – for “He who is slow to wrath has great understanding.” (Proverbs 14: 29).

In dealing with our anger, we must remember that “A soft answer turns away wrath.” (Proverbs 15: 1). Given that “the wrath of men does not produce the righteousness of God,” let us use these words to govern ourselves and find the freedom that comes from seeking a godly heart and purpose.

Category: Lifestyle

About the Author ()

Email | Lester Adams, a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania (B.A.) and the University of Maryland School of Law (J.D.), is a lawyer, mediator and an ordained minister. He has been an ordained Elder since 1994. He and his wife Jill, currently serve as ministers at New Covenant Tabernacle, in Baltimore, Maryland.