"If you are angry, don't sin by nursing your grudge. Don't let the sun go down with you still angry—get over it quickly; for when you are angry, you give a mighty foothold to the Devil." 1
Your test seems to indicate that you have some buried anger," said the counselor to his client. "Do you think this could be true?" he asked.
"Me! Angry? Certainly not," replied the client. "I'll punch you in the nose for saying that!"
When it comes to anger we all have a tiger of sorts within. At times it provides great courage and motivation. It causes some of us to lash out and hurt others. At other times we are so afraid it will get out of control we bury it so that nobody, including ourselves, will ever know it exists.
Many of us were taught that anger is bad and to show it is immature. The mature person, however, doesn't deny his anger. He has learned to express it in appropriate ways.
Even though some people never show their anger, everybody gets angry sometimes. Anger is a God-given emotion. Of itself it is neither good nor bad, right nor wrong. It's what we do with it and how we handle it that counts.
In fact, there are many things we ought to be angry about, such as social injustice, child abuse, greed, and even legalistic religion that makes rules more important than people and keeps people in needless bondage.
Jesus was very angry with the religious people of his day for this very reason. When he healed a man on the Sabbath, the Pharisees were so furious they plotted to kill him. To them, religious observances were more important than the needs of people. We read that Jesus "looked around at them in anger...distressed at their stubborn hearts."2
Think too of Florence Nightingale. She was very angry about the terrible conditions suffered by wounded soldiers in the Crimean War. She used her anger creatively to bring about major changes in nursing care. This is a creative and healthy use of anger.
To be continued.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to so live that I will always recognize and resolve my negative emotions as quickly as possible, and do so in creative and helpful ways—and never ever become bitter or nurse grudges. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
1. Ephesians 4:26-27(TLB)(NLT).
2. Mark 3:5 (NIV).
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