THE PROBLEM OF ANGER! Most Christians believe that it is definitely wrong ever to outwardly express anger in any form. And yet anger is an emotion and God created us an emotional being. This leads to a very important question, "Is it always wrong and a sin to be anger?" To answer this, one must know the nature of anger as defined in the Bible, how it affects us and others, what the Bible says about expressing it, and how to handle it. I. What is Anger? Anger is a strong emotion of displeasure. The New Testament uses three words for anger? 1. Thumas -- turbulent commotion, boiling agitation of feelings, blazing up, passion, anger boiling up and subsiding, an outburst from inward indignation (Eph. 4:31) 2. Parorgismos-- (wrath) anger that has irritation, exasperation, embitterment (Eph. 4:26b, 6:4) 3, Orge- An abiding and settled habit of the mind aroused under certain conditions (against evil and injustice) a just occasion for this feeling (Eph. 4:26a; Mark 3:5) (Sometimes with a view to taking revenge that can be lasting. But forbidden in Col. 3:9 for here it includes the scope of revenge.) II. What Are It's Effects? 1. When anger is present is produces energy in abundance. It impels individuals to do things that tend to hurt or destroy. Some of the many names for anger are aggression, resentment, hate, fury, bitterness, spite, rancor, scorn, disdain, enmity, defiance, antagonism, hostility,etc. 2. When a person is angry we say --he is mad, bitter, griped, fed up, sore, seething, annoyed, exasperated, vexed, hurt, irked, pained, hostile, ferocious, vicious, dangerous, provoked, etc. 3. Anger will motivate a person to -- hate, wound, damage, annihilate, despise, scorn, loathe, vilify, curse, despoil, ruin, demolish, abhor, ridicule, get even, laugh at, humiliate, criticize, scold, bawl out, irritate, beat up, fight, crush, offend, bully, etc. He will probably attack verbally, or subtly. III. What Happens to the Body When One is Angry? Many things, such as: sugar pours into the system, creating energy. The blood pressure increase maybe as much as from 130 to 230, and the heart beats faster, often up to 220 or higher. Additional adrenalin is released, which dilates the pupils of the eyes. Muscles tense up and the digestive tract can become so spastic that severe abdominal pains are felt during or after the time of anger. People have had strokes during a fit of anger because of the increased blood pressure. During anger the person can have a fatal coronary attack. IV. What Causes Anger? Why do we become angry? Are there logical reasons for becoming angry? 1. Some people become angry when they are frustrated. When a person is blocked from obtaining satisfaction or fulfilling his desires, impulses, ambitions, hopes, or drives, he readily becomes angry. 2. A person may become anger because of experiencing pain. This may be physical or psychological. A child may turn upon the parent, after spanking, and say "I hate you!" Harsh or brutal words or experiences that hurt can also make us angry. (Job. 19:2) 3 Another reason for anger is anxiety over the threat to oneself or a possession, or a loss. But the anxiety so quickly turns into anger. 4. Injustice is still another reason or cause of anger. Injustices occur every day and are perpetrated upon people often in all levels of society, Far too little anger is expressed at times over the injustices many people suffer, yet it is perhaps one of the most valid reasons for anger. 5. A final cause of anger is selfishness. We want our own way regardless of what happens to others. Some of our frustrations could easily be traced to the fact that our way has been blocked. We could give in and let the other person have his way, but instead we become frustrated and angry. We could eliminated our anger by putting others first. Perhaps at times it is the awareness of our own imperfections that leads us to attack and become angry with those who fail to live up to our expectations. We criticize others which makes us feel better at their expense. V. When is Anger Wrong? 1. Some Bible verses clearly tell us not to be angry. (Eph. 4:31; Col. 3:8; Prov. 29:11, and many more.) 2. Other passages forbid provoking others to anger, and especially our children (Prov. 20:9; Col. 3:21). In Proverbs 15:18 and 16:32 we are encouraged to be slow to anger, i.e. take time to think before acting. 3. People given to anger should be avoided. (Prov. 22:24, 25; 29:22) VI. When is Anger Right? Ephesians 4:24 declares "Be angry and sin not.'"This does not contradict what was just stated above. "Orge" kind of anger (look earlier) is a settled kind of anger aroused under certain conditions. The person is aware of it and in control of it. There is a just occasion for anger. The reason is involved and when reason is present anger such as this can be right, if under God's control. There are times when Scriptures would not only permit it, but on occasion demand it. Many of us think that all anger is wrong, but that is totally in error. 1. The meek are not passive people, who are never angry. Meekness is not weakness, but the person knows how to be self-controlled by the Holy Spirit, even under pressure. We must be careful when, and if we get angry. Meekness is the sanctification of anger. It includes patience and long-suffering for personal affronts, but will speak out vigorously for the glory and honor of God. 2. There are Certain Characteristics of Righteous Anger: These will be found in the times of Christ's reactions in anger. (Mark 3; Matthew 23; John 2) a. First of all it must be controlled, not a heated nor unrestrained passion. b. There will not be hatred, malice or resentment. c. It's motivation must be totally unselfish. d. It is directed against wrong deeds, or situations, not against people. e. It ought to lead to positive and constructive action to right the wrong. VII. How Do You Handle Anger? It will take a while to get victory. You don't change a lifetime of patterns over night, so don't get discouraged and give up. Try some of the following suggestions. 1. First, when angry, accept the fact of your anger, admit it to the Lord. Confess it and take full responsibility for it. Don't project the blame on someone else by saying "You made me angry." No one else can make you angry; you allow it yourself. You are to blame, and no one else. 2. Second, try to understand what You are doing to make yourself angry. It is not the situation, it is YOU. 3. Third, control your anger. It is possible, Pray about it. Think before you act. Tell others in your group, or family that you need encouragement and that you are determined to change. 4. Fourth, don't respond to anger with anger (Prov. 15:1), but rather speak softly and get control of your person. E. Fifth, spend time visualizing how you want to respond the next time you may possibly get angry and practice it. (Prov. 15:1; Phil. 4:6-9) F. Sixth, develop a sense of humor; it will keep you from taking yourself too seriously.