As we saw yesterday, anger is an emotion, a feeling which can have an outworking in our behaviour - and that behaviour may or may not be righteous.
Righteous anger is aroused usually when we see or hear about injustice. It was this kind of anger that stirred some of our great reformers: William Wilberforce (who worked to abolish the slave trade); Florence Nightingale (who helped the wounded soldiers during the Crimean War and began nursing training); Lord Shaftesbury (who stopped young boys being sent up chimneys as sweeps and began reforming working conditions in Victorian England).
Unrighteous anger is when our feelings cause us to behave in ungodly ways. It is most likely that this anger is the result of hidden pain, perhaps from rejection, abuse or fear, though there may be other causes. Something happens which triggers this buried anger to come to the surface and we may react in ungodly ways. We have all met people who are prickly, volatile, or who use their anger to keep others out of their way. Hidden pain needs to be dealt with through forgiveness of the one who has caused the pain, together with confession and repentance for our ungodly behaviour, so that the anger loses its energy supply. We can release the suppressed feelings of anger by tearing cardboard, bashing a cushion, stamping on bubble wrap, and many other ways – as long as they are not directed at any person or their belongings.
It is all right for Christians to feel angry, but it is not all right for them to display ungodly anger which harms others!
Prayer: Dearest Father, There are times when I feel so angry and allow my anger to get the better of me. Please forgive me. Please show me the cause of my anger and enable me to deal with the root causes in a godly way. In Jesus’ name I ask it, Amen.
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