Jonathan Dodson at Boundless has a good article on anger. And, if you’re sitting there thinking, “Well, that’s nice, but it’s not me,” then you are totally mistaken. Why? Because anger is something we are deal with every day in our lives. Consider what Dodson writes:
You don’t have to be an “angry person” to have a problem with anger. There’s an anger of the garden variety that’s often expressed through complaining, grumpiness, a cutting remark, sulking self-pity, and turbulent frustration.
Take commonplace complaints about the weather. Complaints about the excessive heat or cold can either be a form of small talk or a form of unbelief in God’s good providence. We don’t typically think of complaining as anger, but when framed with the providence of God we are pressed to consider our motives.
Subtle complaining characterizes our culture. According to one statistic, most people in America are exposed to some 3,000 advertisements a day, most of which appeal to a lifestyle grounded in self-comfort. It comes as no surprise, then, that when our comfort is overturned … we complain. If someone cuts us off in traffic, we curse under our breath and complain for the next five miles. If a fast-food attendant is slow in taking our order, they are subjected to our cutting remarks. If work or school becomes demanding, we wallow in self-pity, a weak form of anger.
Under the surface of all the “happy shiny people” called Christians lurks an enemy of our soul — sinful anger.
So, we are all there. What do we need to do? We need to consider our hearts and what God’s word says about what anger means. We need to see anger is not just a problem for ourselves, but is a problem with God. It exalts ourself and belittles God. I like how Dodson describes it:
When I grow angry I find myself losing belief. I lose faith in God’s goodness amid my circumstances. I lose belief in his promises, that “he works all things together for good for those who love him and are called according to his purpose” (Rom 8:28).
This unbelief arises from sinful discontent with God’s wise providence, a failure to trust in His perfect will to do me good, whether through bad weather or good, emotional intimacy or none, apology or no apology. From emotional outbursts to weather complaints, anger arises from a failure to believe the truth, and belief that God owes me something: better weather or better marital intimacy or whatever.
Belief in this false promise is unbelief in God’s promises.
Being angry is not something we should settle for or condone in our lives. We need to examine the ugliness that it is and then reach out to God — in repentance and trust.