Anger is a strong feeling of dislike and hostility. Anger often brings strong, even violent reactions against what is hurting us or what we perceive to be doing it. Or it can manifest itself in words, often very strong.
We live in a world of anger! Incidents of road violence abound in the news, to the point where some drivers have fired at others because they have become angry or have felt threatened by the way they are driving.
Fans of different teams are known to cause riot and ruin when their team loses a game, and sometimes even when they win. More often we see husbands beating their partners and parents beating even their children in fits of anger.
Violence and anger are the essence of many television shows and movies. The terms “anger problems” or “anger management” have become common in our vocabulary and culture. Suddenly we are not surprised by all the anger that there is in the world, usually it has become, but it seems that it is increasing more and more.
What does the Bible say about anger?
Is Anger Increasing?
Anger is an emotion that has been present in humanity since its inception. The Bible shows us that the first human being born (Cain) was so enraged against God and his brother (Abel) that he decided to murder his brother (Genesis 4: 48-8). From the beginning, anger has been present in people.
But we have evidence that the problem tends to get worse. A report from the Mental Health Foundation in England, entitled “To the limit” (March 2008), addresses the issue of increased anger. The report included a description of the manifestations of anger and the causes of the increase in the level of anger.
“There is a growing body of evidence linking anger to a range of physical, mental and social problems. Chronic anger and intense anger are related to heart disease, stroke, cancer, and common illnesses such as colds and flu, and generally poor health; risks also increase, poor decisions are made, and substance abuse occurs.
“High levels of anger are related to lower levels of social acceptance and high levels of stress. The manifestations of high levels of anger are also linked to the little use of positive strategies to face and solve problems.
“Anger has also been associated with mental problems such as depression and self-injury. People agree that anger is the emotion that has the most negative effects on interpersonal relationships.
“There is evidence to suggest that social changes contribute to an increase in emotional problems. The public opinion that was used for this report indicates that the majority of the population thinks that people in general are having more anger. Some quite influential authors mention in this article that after a study of life in Western society in the 21st century, they concluded that if we are increasingly angry, and that despite having had 50 years of economic growth in England, we are not happy ”.
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A mental health professional in the United States thinks that one factor that has contributed to the rise in anger in modern times is the frustration that people feel when their well-being, health, and “feel good” levels do not rise above the way a “get” culture has kept them waiting.
He says this is “one reason why there seems to be a steady rise in anger. Rights easily cause anger to people in “today’s cult of feeling good,” where feeling good seems to be the primary goal in people’s lives. Today people feel compelled to achieve happiness, and not just happiness, but to feel good most of the time. If they don’t feel well most of the time, they will find someone or something to blame.
The best recipe for anger is a mixture of guilt, rights and vulnerability ”(Steven Stosny, PhD, “Anger Problems: A Smokescreen for Fear-Shame Phobia, ” Psychology Today website, Jan.9, 2009) (Steven Stosny, PhD, “Anger Problems: A Smoke Screen for Fear and Shame Phobia,” Today’s Psychology Website, Jan.9, 2009).
Instant communication around the world may also be playing a role in increasing anger.
Now those who live in poor countries can constantly see how prosperous other countries are, leading to jealousy, resentment and anger.
Is all anger bad?
Anger often leads to aggression, violence, and suffering. Is all anger a sin in the eyes of God? It is not, God also feels anger. There is a kind of anger that is just.
Although God is love and expresses it along with his mercy to humanity in many respects, he also reveals his just wrath. He is holy and is repulsed by sin. His anger is directed against sin and the harm it causes to those who were created by Him. His anger (and the correction that accompanies it) is for the purpose of ending evil, ending suffering and its causes, and restoring people to a right relationship with Him.
Let’s see what the Bible says about righteous anger:
- “God is a just judge, and God is angry with the wicked every day” (Psalm 7:11).
- “Because of which I was displeased with that generation, and said, They are always wandering in their hearts, and they have not known my ways” (Hebrews 3:10).
- “Gracious and merciful is the Lord, slow to anger, and abundant in mercy” (Psalm 145: 8).
- Sing to Jehovah, you his saints, and celebrate the memory of his holiness. Because a moment will be his anger, but his favor lasts a lifetime. Weeping will last in the night, and joy will come in the morning ”(Psalms 30: 4-5).
- “For a brief moment I abandoned you, but I will pick you up with great mercies. With a little anger I hid my face from you for a moment; but with everlasting mercy I will have compassion on you, says the Lord your Redeemer ”(Isaiah 54: 7-8).
- “For I will not contend forever, nor will I be angry forever; for the spirit would fail before me, and the souls that I have created ”(Isaiah 57:16).
These scriptures show us that God expresses His anger, but they also reveal that He is slow to anger, and His mercy and love make it soon pass away. He knows that we could not bear to be in the presence of Him and His wrath.
God is just and holy and in perfect control of his anger, He is slow to get angry and only stays that way long enough for justice and righteousness to prevail.
At what point does anger turn to sin?
Human anger is often an expression of frustrated wishes, greed, hatred, resentment, and the desire to get revenge on someone. In many cases it arises suddenly, with a little provocation, accompanied by perverse thoughts of violence and revenge, and lasts for a long time.
This kind of anger shows a lack of godly character, a lack of self-control over our thoughts and actions. It does not represent justice in those cases, on the contrary it shows how sinful the carnal mind is (Romans 8: 7).
Cain’s anger was a manifestation of resentment toward God and his correction. He was also jealous of his brother Abel, because he had found favor with God. This kind of anger is evil. Most human anger is “works of the flesh” (Galatians 5: 19-20).
That kind of anger is sin and therefore there must be repentance and control on the part of all those who wish to serve God and develop God’s holiness and righteousness in their lives, through the work of the Holy Spirit.
Consider what the Bible tells us about avoiding this type of sinful anger:
- “For this, my beloved brothers, every man be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; because the anger of man does not work the righteousness of God ”(James 1: 19-20).
- “Do not rush in your spirit to get angry; for anger rests in the bosom of fools ”(Ecclesiastes 7: 9).
- “He who gets angry easily will do crazy things; and the wicked man will be hated ”(Proverbs 14:17).
- “Do not avenge yourselves, my beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written: Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord ”(Romans 12:19).
- Better is the one that is slow to anger than the strong; and he who rules over his spirit, than he who takes a city ”(Proverbs 16:32).
With the help of God’s Holy Spirit, a person can increasingly control and overcome the sin of unjust human anger. This person may have his mind on Christ and even manifest righteous anger against things, events, or actions that dishonor God and the suffering that such things bring with them.
This kind of anger is not a sin. It is the result of the transformation of mind and character that a person experiences with the work of the Spirit of God. Let’s look at what the Bible says about anger in this regard:
- “Be angry, but do not sin: Do not let the sun go down on your anger” (Ephesians 4:26)
- “And I was very angry when I heard their cry and these words. So I thought about it, and rebuked the nobles and officials and said to them: Do you demand interest each of your brothers? And I called a great assembly against them ”(Nehemiah 5: 6-7). Nehemiah was rightly outraged at the hardships and suffering that certain sinful actions were bringing to the people, but not in an abrupt way or without “serious thought.”
- “Then looking around at them angrily, saddened by the hardness of their hearts, he said to the man: Stretch out your hand. And he stretched it out, and his hand was made whole ”(Mark 3: 5). Jesus was angry and afflicted by the self-righteousness that blinded them and stood in the way of God’s supernatural response, which would bring rest to the one who was crippled.
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There is more and more going — why?
There is another essential aspect to consider about what the Bible says about anger. There is an evil spirit that works in the world today, an enemy of God and human beings. His name is Satan the devil. He has been opposed to the will of God for a long time. He uses his influence to get people to oppose God and his work, and he’s angry! He generates hatred in human beings. He’s angry at God, and he wants people to be too.
Paul wrote to those in Ephesus: “And He gave life to you, when you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you once walked, following the current of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now operates in the children of disobedience; among whom also all of us once lived in the lusts of our flesh, doing the will of the flesh and of the thoughts, and we were by nature children of wrath, the same as others “(Ephesians 2: 1-3) .
The influence of the “prince of the power of the air” (Satan) contributes to the thoughts and actions of a deluded humanity.
Its influence on the mind of the human being will be accentuated as the end of this age approaches, just before the return of Jesus Christ as King of Kings : “Therefore rejoice, heavens, and you who dwell in them. Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! for the devil has come down to you with great wrath, knowing that he has a short time ”(Revelation 12:12).
Soon, however, the devil will be removed, and mankind will no longer be under the influence of his wrath (Revelation 20: 1-3).
What should you do?
Each person has the power to control their anger and express it only fairly, not in an evil way.
God gives His Holy Spirit, which is His power, to those who obey Him and seek His help. That power guides us to self-control and peace, rather than unjust anger.
In order to receive God’s Holy Spirit, we must repent , believe (have faith ), and be baptized.