We all have moments we are confronted with something that causes us to clench our fists, tighten our jaw, and that want to make our hearts become hard. How do we process anger with God?
In those moments, it’s not that we need to tell ourselves to not be angry. It’s in those moments that we get to redirect our anger to God. Not to ourselves. Not to the person who wrongfully accused us or hurt us but to the One who knows the anger we carry.
What is Anger
Anger is the emotion that develops in response to threats or stressors that are presented to us. The emotion of anger begins with us feeling a certain way due to us seeing or hearing or thinking about something in particular that we do not like.
The definition of “anger” is a strong feeling of annoyance, displeasure, or hostility.
How Do You Process Anger with God
Therefore, our anger shouldn’t be dismissed or hidden (because feelings don’t die they get buried alive, deep within our souls and our bodies). However, we can redirect what boils inside of us to take revenge, shun the existence of connection or communication, and surrender it to God.
It’s an exchange.
“God I give You the desire for revenge, the hatred stirring in my heart, in exchange for the peace You give that surpasses all understanding. I release this debt to You.”
It’s the goodness of God to free of us from the weight of anger and hatred that easily misguides our actions.
James 1:19-20 says, “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.”
Versus 21 says, “Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.”
Some versions of this scripture use the word “wrath.” We cannot accomplish God’s will through our outbursts of anger. Regardless of what we think or how passionately we feel about something, wrath is not a godly tool. Most of the time, when we have outbursts of anger or speak to quick we often regret what was said.
The primary difference between godly anger and sinful wrath is selfishness. Wrath is rooted in hurt caused to self. Godly anger is the set of our entire beings against evil. It is not motivated by selfishness and may be totally without any selfish design.
Will our anger produce actions that intend to make the world a better place and help bring people to hear the Gospel, in a loving way? Or will our anger retaliate, isolate, and cause someone to potentially stray away from the faith because of our actions? We should be slow to become angry and filter all emotions through how God wants us to respond to others.
Righteous anger stems from an anger that arises when we witness “an offense against God or His Word.”
Another example is in Ephesians 4:26-27. It says, “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.”
This scripture tells us a few things:
Anger is an emotion. Paul doesn’t say don’t have anger.
Paul is telling us unmanaged anger can lead us to sin.
Paul gives a timeline but also a deadline to say, “Don’t let your anger go unresolved.”
Harboring anger can give place to the devil.
3 Ways to Walk Through Anger with God
The anger we are experiencing is happening within us, it’s physical. We can feel the energy rise in us from adrenaline. All of that adrenaline needs somewhere to go. Far too often, it gets released from our mouth through words than it is processed in a healthy way like movement.
When you exercise your brain is intensely focused on movement, breath and body. When you are focused, you are distracted from the issues that cause you stress and anger. Having regular breaks from repeatedly thinking about stimuli that cause anger is a very effective way in which exercise can support anger management.
When you exercise your heart rate increases and you experience shorter, shallow breaths. Your body naturally works to slow your breathing to a normal pace following exercising. This physiological response is similar to the response needed to calm down when you are feeling angry.
Other ways like talking through it with a trusted friend, counselor, or mentor will be beneficial so we don’t “dump” on those we do care about but also so we reflect Christ in those that may not be close to us. Of course, we want to pray and talk with someone about our anxiety around this too.
Sometimes we need space to be with Jesus and the feelings we are experiencing. I don’t recommend staying in solitude for long periods of time. However, Jesus practiced solitude and so should we. Jesus needs to be the first person we go to when we are experiencing anger.
Don’t allow the sun to go down on your anger. Be proactive in redirecting your anger so your anger doesn’t redirect you.
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Rooting for you,