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Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Anger - Blessing or curse?

All emotions have the potential for spiritual growth when resolved responsibly or spiritual destruction when disregarded or handled irresponsibly. Anger is an extremely complex emotion with extraordinary potential but is it a sin? In Mark 3:5 Jesus, as our example, made it clear that the emotion of anger was no more a sin than any other emotion. He did however also make it clear in Matthew 5:22 that to treat anger irresponsibly is extremely dangerous and there are numerous passages that indicate we should strive to avoid anger where possible, yet there is no sin in the emotion itself. If our response to anger is motivated by any other determination than love then sin will likely result from our anger. When anger enters into a relationship at any level it provides the opportunity for solid growth if resolved in love. There is also the potential that the relationship may come to a devastating end if it is founded in anything other than love. A clear understanding of the cause of anger is an invaluable tool to the believer in developing a response to anger that will lead to the productive and healthy relationships that God intends for us to have. I hope the principles discussed in this series on anger will be of help to those who strive to please God and live peaceably with all men. I also hope they are equally beneficial to those who've become angry with themselves or with God.

At the most basic level the cause of anger is a failed expectation, however the reasoning behind the expectation is often valid. We feel angry when our expectation isn't met and our sinful nature tends to cause us to react by finding fault in others. This is the easy way out and relieves us of the responsibility of having to determine the lie we believed that led to our disappointment. Blame is a catalyst for emotion. The more blame, the more fuel for the emotion. Our first step toward resolution should always be to assign responsibility in the situation and to accept that no one else is responsible for how we feel. Even when our anger is valid, meaning that our expectations are reasonable, we should consider the possibility we've been irresponsible with trust and given what should have been earned. We should also allow that no one is perfect and always be willing to accept that forgiveness should follow repentance. Repentance is not possible in the absence of knowledge. This fact necessitates that we learn to express our anger in love with the hope it will lead to repentance, be it from someone else or our self.

It is a common approach for many today to treat the symptoms of a problem and to ignore the problem altogether. Those that want help in dealing with anger often find someone who attempts to help by teaching a socially acceptable method for expressing the anger. In essence they teach people how to "act". While this approach may provide some relief to those who suffer with the angry person, rarely does it help the angry person and often only results in their spiritual destruction. Reason and understanding are considered detrimental to the process and the cause and solution for the anger are all but ignored. Having knowledge that our actions are a direct result of our beliefs, we should rather question our beliefs and our values and seek the truth that will free us of our destructive behavioral pattern in order that we may once again glorify God in our life. When we become angry we are actually revealing much more about ourselves than simply our own disappointment. If we take the time to carefully consider the situation and the circumstances we should be able to develop a clearer perspective of the beliefs we hold that led to our failed expectation. This enlightened perspective is critical for us in developing a godly response to anger. If we closely examine our sensitivity, or the depth of our anger, we can also gain insight to our own values and make adjustments when needed. When we learn to question our behavior and answer ourselves honestly, as to what we are doing and why we are doing it, we can determine to abandon any effort that has any motivation other than love. This will in turn yield the peaceable fruit of the Spirit.

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11 Comments:

Blogger Zeke said...

KC, I was just thinking today that anger at others so often is just a reflection of what we are angry with ourselves about. You know, the classic psychological projection; I am angry at inconsiderate people because I hate it when I am inconsiderate. Ever noticed that some of the most affronted people are the rudest? There's a good reason that the least trusting people are the least trustworthy.

Just realizing that we are vulnerable to this kind of misdeed is helpful at restraining outward expressions of anger for me. Great post.

10/25/2005 05:05:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Zeke thanks for the thoughts. I think most anger has personal implications.

I'm trying to learn to acknowledge my anger as it occurs. That seems the fair thing for both myself and the one I'm angry with.

10/25/2005 10:21:00 PM  
Blogger Ron said...

Hey my friend,

Thanks for your continued encouragement. Just wanted you to know I have posted back on my site. Feel free to visit and let others know. I have pretty much stated my concerns in the post, so others will understand clearly what desire is.

10/26/2005 06:19:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

Ron, welcome back! It's great to see the devotions being posted. I'm really glad you decided to go ahead with that idea. ;-)

10/26/2005 06:43:00 AM  
Blogger Kristi said...

"At the most basic level the cause of anger is a failed expectation..."

That's good Kc! I guess the first step to properly resolving and working through our anger is to understand WHY we are angry! Thanks.

10/26/2005 08:11:00 AM  
Blogger curious servant said...

Excellent essay!

10/26/2005 09:41:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

Kristi I’m so thankful you found this helpful. I’ve really been blessed with your writing and I’m so happy to see so many others finding their way to your site. It seems you've been giving so much wonderful support to many. ;-)

Curious Servant thanks so much for the visit and encouraging words. I peeked at your sites and I’m very anxious to catch up on your writing. It’s fascinating. ;-)

10/26/2005 11:27:00 AM  
Blogger Nunzia said...

the first thing i thought of when i read this post was how the Bible says that Job did not sin when he cried out angrily at God. "In all this, Job did not sin." I think that anger is a human emotion, but you are right, it's all about how we treat it/react to it. That is where love comes into play. If love drives out fear, I'm assuming anger is also on the list of what it remedies.

10/26/2005 12:27:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Nunzia I tend to agree with your assumption. The appropriate act of love is the proper resolution to any negative emotion. It may take time to determine what action to take, but we need to be willing to give ourselves that time. I know you're having to practice all this now too. Our prayers are still with you.

10/26/2005 12:48:00 PM  
Blogger David Wyatt said...

Zeke said, "There's a good reason that the least trusting people are the least trustworthy...Just realizing that we are vulnerable to this kind of misdeed is helpful at restraining outward expressions of anger for me."
OUCH! And that is a great point. Thank GOD for Jesus & His salvation! Otherwise I'd be without hope!

11/30/2009 01:15:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Amen Bro. David!, Amen!

11/30/2009 08:54:00 PM  

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