weekly word – 4/13/23

Defining Anger: (Part 1)

     Several years ago, I put together a seminar on Anger Management for a Toastmasters Group I belonged to. I read several books on the subject, and as I’m sure you could guess, everyone has an opinion of what it is, how to control it, and then writes a book about it.


     There were, however, some really good ideas that I gleaned from some of them, but as I thought more about the point that I wanted to make I thought I would turn to a different source. That source was God’s Word. There are some very good definitions, comments, and instructions in His Word that speak to the issue of anger? Why not use them as the base and then add the secular notes to that. In my head, I developed a program that I thought would help people and complete my requirement. 


     This is several years later, but what I discovered then is applicable, even today. I thought I would take this opportunity to share some of what I found.  The only thing I realized was that I would have to take it to a 2 part message.

     The first thing I that I need to discuss is the question, “Is anger a sin?”  Let’s look at: Ephesians 4:26-27, and 31 

      26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil. 

     And 31
Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. .   

     1.  Anger is a God-given emotion,
     2.  Anger is not necessarily sinful, but   
     3.  Anger must have safeguards.
         a.  Do not let the sun go down on your anger.
         b.  Do not give the devil an opportunity.

     Prolonging your anger is SIN.


     God’s word doesn’t say that you can’t ever be angry, or should never be angry; it says “don’t let your anger lead you into SIN”. (Ed’s paraphrase) If we carry our anger over time, we allow the devil to come in and when he gets a foothold, he takes it to the next level.

     Look at James 1:19:  Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger.

     So how do we do these things? How do we control those emotions that come when someone does something to you that upsets you?  Yes, I said “emotions”! Why? Because that‘s what they are, they are emotions! They are feelings that are triggered by different sources and erupt sometimes into unwarranted actions that get us into trouble.

     Someone does something, big or small, and that trips a “trigger” in our brain that sends signals to another portion of our brain, that releases chemicals that destroy our ability to think clearly, and we react, instead of thinking and then responding

          Epinephrine lets the amygdala (a roughly almond-shaped   

         mass of gray matter inside each cerebral hemisphere) send

         signals to the brain’s front lobe which then allows

         neurotransmitters to speed up your heart rate and display

         other signs of you becoming angry.

          Non-epinephrine, which is also known as an adrenaline

         rush, is a chemical compound that monitors your heart rate   

         and blood pressure. Decreased amounts of non-

         epinephrine is generally the “depressed people” 


         This chemical is responsible for your decision-making   

         related to handling the situation in a positive way or

         negative way. Non-epinephrine gives an individual

         strength and motivation for defending themselves in

         extremely serious situations.

     Wow, that was a mouthful.

     In my search for how to overcome anger, I discovered that the Bible discusses two kinds of anger. There is “Justified anger” and “Unjustified anger.” Defining them gave me a better idea of which one is most normal for people to experience.  So let’s begin by talking about them.

     Justified anger is when:

           1.  We see that God’s word and God’s will are knowingly

             disobeyed by God’s people. (Exodus 32:19-20)

          2.  We find God’s enemies have assumed positions of
             jurisdiction outside their rights. (Isaiah 5: 20-25)
          3.  Children are treated unfairly by adults.  (Ephesians  6: 1-4
              and Colossians 3: 21

     Quoting from Matthew 21: 12-13:

     Jesus, in his clearing the temple of money changers, was angry.

     12 Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. 13 “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’ 

     Why was He angry? The people were in His Father’s house, and they were using it in a way that dishonored His Father. So as he realized that, He became angry. He removed the things that made him angry -- the tables and the products that they were selling. He did it in a way that let people know that what they were doing was not right.  His actions were not to hurt anyone, but to protect the house of His Father. 

     Verse 14 of that same chapter, the blind and the lame came to him at the temple, and he healed them.’ picks up with Jesus healing people. There isn’t any more anger.  We only see compassion.


     Let’s look at how Jesus handled things.

         1.  He saw a problem. People were in the Temple, most likely  
             the temple court, setting up tables, and selling (for profit) 
             items to those people coming to make an offering for
             committed sins.
         2.  As He saw it they were desecrating His Father’s house.
         3.  He responded by overturning the tables and speaking to
             the matter. (Possibly loudly)  
         4.  He displayed what we would call “righteous anger”. 
             Defined as responding “angrily” at something that God
             would  not approve of, in other words a sinful act.

     But, as we see, He doesn’t continue venting His anger. He shows His compassion as He heals the blind and the sick in the same temple area. There is no lingering on the “angry wrath” He displayed in the earlier section. This is what’s different about how he handled the problem. It’s there and then it is over. Satan doesn’t get to use His outburst against Him. This is how we need to approach our righteous anger.

     The other type of anger we run into is “Unjustified” anger.
     Unjustified anger is when:

             1.  Anger comes from the wrong motive.  (Luke 15: 17-19)
             2.  Things don’t go your way.  (The book of Jonah)
             3.  You react too quickly without investigating the facts.  
                    (James 1: 19)


     This is the type of anger we usually experience and this is where we have to learn the “How’s and Why’s of controlling anger?” Join me in the next instalment.


Ed Johanson