Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Anger (01/24/05)
TITLE: Orge or Thumos?
By Norma OGrady
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Handling anger is an important topic. Anger can shatter communication and tear apart relationships and ruins both the joy and health of many. And most often people tend to justify their anger instead of accepting responsibility for it.
First of all, anger is not always sin. God is angry and believers are commanded to be angry. Two Greek words are used in the New Testament for our English word “anger.” One (orge) means “passion, energy;” the other (thumos) means “agitated, boiling.”
Webster defines anger as “excessive emotion, passion aroused by a sense of injury or wrong;”.
Biblically, anger is God-given energy intended to help us solve problems.
Examples of biblical uses of anger include Paul confronting Peter because of his wrong example in Galatians. David being upset over hearing Nathan the prophet sharing an injustice, and Jesus getting angry over how some of the Jews had defiled the Gentiles’ place of worship at God’s temple in Jerusalem.
But anger turns to sin when it is selfishly motivated, when God’s goal is distorted, or when anger is allowed to linger. Instead of using the energy generated by anger to attack the problem at hand, one attacks the person instead. We are to speak the truth in love and to use our words to build up others, and not to allow rotten or destructive words to pour from our lips. Anger becomes sin when it is allowed to boil over without restraint,.often with irreparable consequences. Anger also becomes sin when one clams up, doing the “slow burn.” This causes one to become depressed and irritable and fly off the handle over any little thing. One can properly handle anger by:
A) recognizing and admitting one’s selfish anger and wrong handling of anger as sin. This confession should be both to God and to those who have been hurt by our anger.
B) Seeing God in the trial. This is especially important when people have done something to offend YOU specifically. The fact that God is sovereign and in complete control over EVERY circumstance and person that enters your path. NOTHING happens to you that He does not cause or allow. God is a GOOD God and does and allows all things in your life for your good and the good of others!
C) Make room for God’s wrath. This is especially important in cases of injustices, especially when done by “evil” men to “innocent” people.
D) Do not return evil for good. This is key to altering our anger into love. As one’s actions flow from one’s heart, so also one’s heart can be altered by one’s actions that is, one can change one‘s feelings toward another by changing how one chooses to act toward that person.
E) Communicate to solve the problem.
a) Be honest and speak. People can't read our minds, but speak the truth IN LOVE.
b) Stay current. Don't “sand bag,” letting the list of what is bothering you build up until the “dam busts” and you lose your temper. Dealing with and sharing what is bothering you before it gets to that point is important. Keep a short list!
c) Attack the problem, not the person. Yelling is usually a form of attack toward the person.
d) Act, don't react. Because of our fallen nature, our “knee-jerk” reflex, our first impulse is usually a sinful one. The time spent in counting to ten should be used to reflect upon the godly way to respond and to remind yourself how anger is to be used to solve problems not create bigger ones.
F) Lastly you must act to solve your part of the problem. You cannot control how others act or respond, but you can make changes that need to be made on your part. Overcoming one’s temper is not something that is usually accomplished overnight. But with reliance upon God through prayer for help, Bible study, and reliance upon God’s Holy Spirit, it can be overcome. As one has allowed anger to become entrenched in one’s life by habitual practice, one must also practice responding correctly until it too becomes a habit replacing the old ways.
Go ahead and be angry. You do well to be angry--but don't use your anger as fuel for revenge. And don't stay angry. Don't go to bed angry.
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
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