For starters, some of us question whether anger is truly "of God." Some of us have been taught by our parents, and/or the church, that expressing anger is not just wrong, it is downright sinful.
For the record, the Bible never declares that it is a sin to be angry. Ephesians 4:26, an often misinterpreted text, says, "In your anger do not sin" (NIV, emphasis mine). In other words, it's okay to be angry. It's not okay to kick the dog.
Yet, many folks--even those of us who, as a rule, have no problem expressing how we feel--keep a tight lid on our anger. No matter how intense the rage that may be burning in our gut, we swallow hard, plaster on our fake smiles, and pretend that it is well with our soul. If anyone asks, "How are you?", we lie and say, "I'm fine." Just so we're clear, it's the lying part that's the sin.
Years ago, as a part of my training for addictions counseling, I facilitated a women's support group. I learned a lot from those ladies, not the least of which was what that word "fine" really meant. To them it was an acronym. The "I" stood for insecure, the "N" was neurotic, the "E" meant emotional. To keep my website's G-rating I can't tell you what the "F" stood for.
Whenever one of those ladies would hear someone say "I'm fine," they would smile and think to themselves, I'll be you are!
Learning how to express our anger in non-threatening, God-honoring ways, is crucial to our emotional and spiritual health. But even more, when we allow ourselves to feel what we feel, no matter how scary and uncomfortable it is, we will find that even our spiritual well-being will be enhanced.
God desires honesty. He wants us to be truthful with what's going on inside us. He cannot heal what we will not acknowledge.
For us to express our emotions--even negative feelings like anger--is not only healthy, it's Christ-like. In the words of pastor and author Peter Scazzaro, “To minimize or deny what we feel is a distortion of what it means to be image bearers of our personal God. To the degree that we are unable to express our emotions, we remain impaired in our ability to love God, others, and ourselves well.”
Let go of your anger. It might be the most loving thing you could do--for yourself, for others, and for God.
(photo by Zachary Lubarski)