Hi, Rob here. We are living in such an angry world it seems. Today there are reports of another mass shooting in the U.S. On Saturday I heard stories of oppression from the Persecuted Church that were heart breaking. For some reason they had been on the receiving end of anger. There is anger against governments and big business. Issues of race, religion and class still inspire anger. Why? Why are we so angry?
I have spent a fair bit of my life struggling with anger and how to express it in a healthy way. At home growing up yelling louder and louder was the generally accepted method. Tantrums and the occasional threat of ‘the buckle end’ were sometimes used too (to clarify; I never actually got ‘the buckle end.’ I wasn’t willing to test how real the threat was though!). There was a time in our marriage when we both expressed anger very poorly and caused emotional pain to the other. When anger at home didn’t help, I took it to the golf course. It never helped my game.
For me, anger was a response to life going against me, but it was at its worst when I also felt like a failure. So when a seemingly simple job like putting a kitset together would end up with threaded screws and a vital part missing there would be anger. When my marriage was struggling for survival there was anger. When my job was going badly there was anger. God has done a great work in my heart in the last several years and the lessening of anger in my life has been one of those. I trace that back to losing the identity of failure that I carried around with me without ever knowing. I have replaced that with beloved child of the Father and friend of Jesus. Much better!
Now I know, there can be healthy anger and Jesus showed us that when he kicked the greedy merchants out of the temple. But I’m not talking about that kind of anger. I’m talking about the destructive anger that comes from feeling lost, confused, desperate and lonely. All over the world people are carrying this kind of anger and it’s killing us, literally. We start with the plank in our own eyes. Do you see the world as against you or people as against you? Do you see yourself as a failure or a reject of some kind? I recommend that you break that agreement right now in the name of Jesus. We need God’s eyes to see the world and to see ourselves. Ask for them. Ask for your unforgiveness to be revealed and your bitterness exposed. Remember that in Christ you have been given a new heart but there may be walls that you’ve put up that stop you from accessing it. Those walls are what create our anger. They need to come down in the loving presence of Jesus. A good Christian counsellor or Spiritual Director or skilled pastor may be needed so don’t go it alone.
I still get angry at times but now I can see it and take it to Jesus, allowing myself to be restored, and also rejecting more easily the lies that the enemy throws at me. I don’t indulge the anger but ask God to go beyond the anger to the wound that lies behind it. Then I can know his comfort, his healing and his peace. It’s not easy. I’ve had to spend three days in this while I process a wound inflicted on me in the weekend. But anger is not being indulged. Instead I pray and let the process run its course. Jesus is bringing me peace and will bring me peace. May he do the same for you.