Anger's destructive pathby Eddie Thompson
Some time ago I was leading a small group study in my home about the subject of anger when a sincere Christian wife and mom stunned the entire group by blurting out, “If I can’t feel and express anger however I please, I don’t think I want to be a Christian anymore.” It got very quiet in the room. I wasn’t sure what to say because I had never heard anyone say that before. However, I also knew she had a problem with unresolved anger because she had confessed to me once before that she routinely screamed at her kids. Sure she was troubled by all the outbursts, but she insisted that one of her children made her that way. It took her a long time to see her anger as a symptom of a deeper heart issue.
Few things are more destructive to Christians than anger. It causes us to lose our self-control and to say and do things we would never have considered. Many of us have tried to defend our anger with Scripture. We can all quote Ephesians 4:26, “‘Be angry, and do not sin’: Do not let the sun go down on your wrath (NKJV).” But I don’t know how to be angry and not sin. Do you? Furthermore many will say, “Well, Jesus got angry when he cleansed the temple. He had righteous anger and so do I.” Be careful when you defend anger this way. Scripture never says Jesus got angry when he cleansed the temple (see Matt. 21:12-14; Mark 11:15-18; Luke 19:45-46). And even if He was angry, He knew how to be without sinning because He’s God, and He’s perfect. Instead, Ephesians 4:31 tells us to “put away all anger.” This doesn’t mean that we give up our strong convictions or sense of right and wrong, but anger can turn into bitterness and eventually cause us to make excuses for our behavior. We’ve all seen how anger has ruined many families and churches.
Pastors in particular have to be on guard against anger. They can easily take out their anger on their congregations from the pulpit and even make it sound like it came from God. Believe me; I’ve done it. They can also take out their anger on their families and drive them away. Anger has a way of turning into bitterness and controlling our lives.
Be honest and examine any anger within you. Submit yourself to the power of the Holy Spirit, confess it, and repent and ask Him to cleanse your heart. Remember, behavior modification is not deliverance. Only the power of God can make us truly free from anger.