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Anger
Tumaini Articles #5

I’m sure most everyone would agree that anger is undisputedly the most difficult emotion to deal with. Different cultures deal with it in different ways. I spent 19 years in Japan, where anger is seldom expressed, and I was raised in New Jersey with quite a few Italian neighbors who did not shy away from expressing anger. While traveling through Italy, I observed two cars in a fender-bender accident, and both men immediately after the collision jumped out of their respective automobiles and began a fist fight that lasted about 10 seconds. After that they quickly calmed down and began talking calmly about the accident and what had transpired. It’s hard to say which way is better, but I do know that as human beings, no matter which culture we come from, anger can be a problem for many individuals and can wreak havoc on relationships.

The Psalmist counsels us (Psalm 37:8) to refrain from anger, and throughout the Bible we are cautioned about the results of anger. It seems like quite a few Christians do not understand their anger or what to do with it when it shows up. Some Christians might believe that anger is sin. When I was in graduate school, I wrote a paper on “Anger in the Old Testament” and looked at all the times the word, “anger” appeared, and it was over 400 times. Interestingly enough, about 2/3 of those times, it was God who was the one who was angry. We are created in God’s image, so anger must be part of who we are. I know that God’s anger is “righteous anger,” and that’s a good anger; but the problem is that when you and I are angry, it always feels righteous. And when someone else is angry with us, it always seems unrighteous! How quickly we can justify ourselves and excuse our anger.

We usually feel angry when our will is crossed or when we’re afraid we won’t get what we want. The capacity to feel angry is natural and good. We are told in Ephesians 4:26, “In your anger, do not sin.” We can conclude then that the emotion of anger is not sin. However, if we hit our spouse over the head with the frying pan, that would be a sin! So, it is important for us to learn how to deal with our anger when it shows up…and it will. It is important that we learn to listen to our angry feelings, speak the truth in love, and forgive people who offend us. (Eph. 4;15). If you grew up in a family where anger hurt people or it wasn’t safe to verbalize angry feelings, then you probably could use some help with this. Next time we’ll look at healthy ways of dealing with anger.

If you need help with this, Tumaini can definitely provide assistance. We can be reached by calling 0728 606 911 or by email at tumaini.ac@aimint.org

Ray Hommes