Hi, my name is Rachel, I’m part of The Oak, am married to Ray and have two daughters.
Within the last year, I have had to take a few months off work with stress. This is the first time it has happened, and it was a shock for me that I got to a point where I couldn’t go to work. “What has that got to do with anger?” you might ask. Well, after a period of unbearable agitation and prayer, God revealed to me that the root of my stress was anger. “I am angry with my colleagues and my workplace, they haven’t appreciated me, I care about this problem more than they seem to. This is righteous anger, God! I am right to feel angry.” So, for a couple of weeks, I wallowed in my righteous anger, was grumpy and irritable with the people I love, and wrote down all the things I felt angry about.
And then... God challenged me to see anger through His eyes, to study anger in the Bible, by reading verses and reading commentaries on them. I wanted to share what He taught me because He asked me to. So here are 8 things God has been teaching me.
1. Anger comes from a place of pain and we can seek God’s healing when we feel anger
Genesis 30:1-2 When Rachel saw that she was not bearing Jacob any children, she became jealous of her sister. So she said to Jacob, “Give me children, or I’ll die!” Jacob became angry with her and said “Am I in the place of God, who has kept you from having children?” Then she said, “Here is Bilhah, my servant. Sleep with her so that she can bear children for me and I too can build a family through her.”
Rachel is understandably frustrated and speaks to Jacob out of her anger. They then work out a plan. I’m not sure it was God’s best plan for them as Rachel didn’t give God a chance to intervene before she and Jacob acted on her anger.
Anger expressed and acted upon before being shared with God often leads to more anger and hurt.
Because we live in a fallen world, rejection by those we love and trust occurs, usually unknowingly, from a very young age for all of us. It causes deep pain and wounds in our hearts. We subconsciously fear further rejection, often in ways specific to us, and feel strong emotions, such as anger, when those subconscious fears are triggered. The root of the emotions may be hidden to us, but God is gentle with us and time with Him allows His Holy Spirit to reveal them. God also heals this pain when we accept His unconditional love. But the fears can often be triggered again in the future, so we must keep returning to Him, asking for His help and accepting His love.
We can learn to treat strong emotions, such as anger, as a useful prompt to go straight to God for healing of the underlying pain.
2. Anger can be a way in for demonic strongholds, but the emotion isn’t a sin if we repent
Genesis 4:5b-7 So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast. Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”
Cain chooses to live in discontent after experiencing rejection, and because he doesn’t let go of the feeling, and repent, his anger is a way in for demonic strongholds. Straight after this comes the passage where he kills his brother, indicating that Cain did not heed God’s warning but acted to spread the pain. These verses send a shiver down my spine, this sounds like me, wallowing in my “righteous” anger!
The sin is not the feeling of anger, frustration, irritation or impatience. The sin is failing to take that feeling to God and letting him deal with it and heal your pain.
Parts 2/3 will be up next week