The Acid Called Anger

5/18/2009 09:09:00 AM / Posted by Mike Landry /

Anger is such a complicated emotion. Some anger can be a good thing. Anger over an injustice may be just what is required to prompt you to right a wrong. MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Drivers) is a great example of this. But notice, anger is simply an internal signal (an emotion) that begs for action. It still doesn’t guarantee that our response will be honorable or productive.

In fact, our anger over an injustice may actually result in a behavior that is also wrong. Take for example the person who is outraged over the permissive stance of our government when it comes to abortion rights. Bombing an abortion clinic or shooting a medical professional who provides abortion services is not the right response, but certainly one provoked by anger over an injustice.

Anger over an injustice like the abuse of child or the death of a spouse who has been killed by a drunk driver is to be expected and certainly justifiable. But what are we to do when we get mad about those kinds of things? How can we keep from being burned from a response to anger. As someone who has been angry before and responded both appropriately and inappropriately, I’d like to offer a few tips that have helped me to move forward and break free from the acid called anger. I shared a lot more in my morning message on May 18, 2009 at church. You can listen online for free at


1. Thank God that you can feel anger.

Anger is one emotion of many that comes with our being created in the image of God. Unfortunately, you can’t always trust your emotions because they have been distorted by our sinful nature. But that’s no reason to ignore your feelings. Love, compassion, sacrifice, loyalty are all intricately tied to your emotions. Give yourself permission to feel and thank God for that gift.

“Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness.”
Genesis 1:26 (HCSB)

2. Think of anger as a secondary emotion.

The reason you are angry is because something else is going on. Your fear may have prompted your anger. Your pride may have prompted your anger. Your greed may have prompted your anger. Your pain may have prompted your anger. Let your anger be a signal that prompts you to ask another question, “What’s really wrong here? Why am I angry?” Then take steps to deal with the root problem.

“A quick-tempered man acts foolishly, and a man who schemes is hated.”
Proverbs 14:17 (HCSB)

3. Limit your exposure to angry people.

Angry people are contagious people. Spending time with them will result in your adopting some of their attitudes and embracing some of their actions.

“Don’t make friends with an angry man, and don’t be a companion of a hot-tempered man, or you will learn his ways and entangle yourself in a snare.”
Proverbs 22:24-25 (HCSB)

4. Remind yourself that you are not God and cannot know everything.

To prevent an inappropriate knee-jerk reaction you must take a step back and try to see the bigger picture. Some hills are not worth fighting over. Sometimes a delay will give perspective.

“We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose.”
Romans 8:28 (HCSB)

5. Refuse to get even

Revenge always leaves you feeling empty and dirty. It may feel good immediately but produces long term regrets. You want to always take the high road. A clear conscience is like gold. Don’t give it up for a moment of pleasure. Plus, you can count on God to deal appropriately and judge effectively every injustice.

“Friends, do not avenge yourselves; instead, leave room for His wrath. For it is written: Vengeance belongs to Me; I will repay, says the Lord.”
Romans 12:19 (HCSB)


Comment by Tom Bryant on May 18, 2009 at 10:27 AM

Excellent! Thanks for posting this.

tom bryant

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