Anger. It is an emotional blaze that we have as humans. It can drive and give us strength. But the same flame we use for warmth can also consume us. It needs to be controlled and not allowed to have any dominion in our life. Scripture tells us that anger is not something we should let the sun go down on (Ephesians 4:26), which means we must not leave it unaddressed.
I wanted to share my own experiences with anger when I drafted this post, but God had other plans. Without knowing that I was writing this post, my mom gave me Lisa Bevere’s book “Be Angry But Don’t Blow It!” I then realized that God wanted me to read the words that He had given Lisa to write and publish in 2000. She shares a lot of information insight from scripture in her book, but there was one specific thing that stuck out to me. The book is addressed to women with anger issues, but the Biblical principles are applicable to men as well. I was mind blown when I read the opening paragraphs in chapter 12. Here is the excerpt.
“At some level she is actually looking for conflict… It gives her purpose and a chance for some of the pent up tension she feels expanding inside. …Her rage makes her feel empowered, strong, and impenetrable. No one knows when or where she will blow up next… She knows a secret, it doesn’t really matter if everything changes, if everything is perfect, if everything goes her way… she is still going to be angry.”
This can easily fit the description of what the internet calls a “Karen.” It is interesting that this description existed before the name ever was coined to describe this behavior. When I read the above section in Lisa’s book and made the connection to the internet “Karen,” God revealed something far greater.
Anger will cause the breakdown of society through breaking down the individuals that live within it. Look at the riots from 2013, 2016, and 2020. They resulted from anger being cultivated within a people and directed at targets for the anger.
Satan knows how the human soul works. As the enemy of our souls, he knows how to manipulate us into self destructive patterns. Some think that he only works through lies, but the thing is that he works best when he twists the truth. He will leave out details, or change the context of events to suit his goals. Satan has two basic goals. The first is to replace God with himself. The second is to wound God’s heart as much as possible through sending humans to hell.
Locked and Loaded
Lisa Bevere uses the illustration of “Ready, Aim, Fire” and compares it to “Anger, Rage, Furry” to show how we progress. “Anger” is the same as “Ready” because our body pumps into preparedness for a fight or flight so it can protect itself if needed. “Rage” is the “Aim” stage, which prepares our actions and thoughts to retaliate. “Furry” is the “Fire” stage, where we act on the wants and desires in the Rage/Aim stage.
Here is the first kicker for unresolved anger. It can set up the fast track for when our minds to go through the stages of anger, rage, and furry. What we repeatedly do, we become. We remember what we always focus and learn about. What we do often, we do easily. This includes cycling through the anger stages. That is why it will seem like we jump straight from calm to furry.
It is furry that will justify any actions taken. Excuses will be made such as “they deserved it” or maybe even “I had no choice.” The new and old anger will combine to make a person able to reach higher levels of anger faster than before. There is only one way to keep this from happening. And that is to change our hearts so that we pursue God to make Him first in our lives, and to seek a life in accordance with His will.
The secular world will address anger in a secular way focusing on getting the feelings out of our system, but they don’t recognize the spiritual component to it. Their methods only work so far and then the rest of it is spiritual which means we must go to God to deal with anger.
Going to God means we have to submit our emotions to Him and learn the very important skill of forgiveness. Forgiveness is part of surrendering the anger to Him and lets us begin healing from our anger. When we, me and the Vessels of Honor team, were editing this piece, a question came up. Should the previous sentence have said “forgiveness opens the door to healing?” The answer to that question is that forgiveness, in and of itself, is part of the healing because it allows your heart to become tender again to God’s presence.
The Spiritual Component
Galatians 5:20 lists fits of rage as a sin. This means we can no longer let ourselves be ruled by it in life. In fact, Christians are to do away with all sin in their lives. It requires us to trust Him that He will make things right.
When we surrender something to God, we must also give up our definitions of what is right and wrong. Using examples from her children, Lisa Bevere shows us that the kids didn’t like their parents settling scores because they felt like “you didn’t do anything last time.” This translates into “you didn’t do what I wanted you to do to him for what he did to me.” This is what is going on in our society. There are people who claim that they want justice, but their actions show that they truly want vengeance.
This want for vengeance comes when we make the decision to judge for ourselves what is right and wrong. Now for the second kicker to anger.
Vengeance is never going to be satisfied forever.
Have you ever noticed that even when you take revenge, the feeling of accomplishment doesn’t always last long? There is a sickening feeling within you that results from it. So people will most often choose to justify their actions and try to remove that feeling, but it doesn’t work. It will never work to remove the feeling because of the source of this feeling. The source of this feeling is the Holy Spirit doing his work on their lives.
His, the Holy Spirit’s, job is to convict people of their sin so that they can live Godly lives. That means we need to be wise with our thoughts and actions. In Proverbs we are given insight into this. “The discretion of a man makes him slow to anger, And his glory is to overlook a transgression.” Proverbs 19:11 NKJV
Overlooking the offense is another way of forgiving a person. It is deciding to not hold it against them. Christ’s death and resurrection made it possible for God to forgive us and be the perfect model for us to follow. His blood covers all our sins and makes us pure in the eyes of God. Isaiah 1:18 is often quoted because of the imagery that is used to make the point for us. God tells Isaiah that our scarlet sins will be made as white snow.
In Colossians 3 Paul instructs the believers to forgive as Christ forgave them. This is not necessarily an easy thing to do. However, it is something that needs to be done by us for our spirit to heal. I have my own history with anger and carrying a desire for vengeance, and I also have a testimony on my blog about how I had to surrender that part of me to God. I’m speaking to you from personal experience and I know that forgiveness will allow your soul to heal.
What We Pretend Doesn’t Need to Exist
There is also another aspect to forgiveness: humility.
Humility is something that is shown in the Bible to be the source of all honor. Satan was filled with pride and was then cast down as an unclean thing, but Jesus let Himself be humbled by taking the death on the cross and being treated as though he were the worst of all people. Because of His humility and willingness to do what was needed, He was exalted to the highest position in heaven.
It is the humble who admit that others are better than them. It is through admitting God to be the final judge of right and wrong. They are also the ones who trust God will take care of all things. In this trust they are able to be at peace and live lives free from the control of anger.
No longer are they subject to their whims of anger and vengeance, which only brings destruction. Rather, they live in the love of God that allows for them to bring life to those around them. It is in bringing life that honor is found, and that is where we find our calling as Christians in this world.
It is as written in James’ letter to the scattered church. We are to submit ourselves to God and resist the Devil, knowing that God will make Satan flee from our lives. From there, we are to tell others about the will of God, identifying the ploys of the devil and resisting them. Because we submitted to God, we are working in His authority, which gives us the spiritual power to bring the kingdom of heaven to earth. It is as Christ said to His disciples “look the harvest is ready.”
Meet the Writer
Zachary Coffey is a Christian who writes a regular blog covering a variety of topics with the focus of applying the Biblical lens to them. He is the author of “Welcome to the Armory” which makes the connection between the spiritual attributes of the full armor of God and the physical pieces that Paul uses in his analogy. You can find his book on Amazon and connect with Zachary on Instagram.