God created us with many emotions. Anger is a powerful emotion that can get you into trouble leading you into sin really quickly depending on how you handle it. Let’s look at God’s views on anger as well as what he want us to do about the burning emotions churning inside of us.
“God, Why Are You Doing This To Me?!?”
I sat in a congregation with my heart breaking as the speaker told the congregation that it’s perfectly okay to yell at God when you are angry and frustrated, that God doesn’t mind and he probably even has a good chuckle when we rage at him.
This speaker told the story of getting angry because he felt he was doing everything in his power to do things for God and he was still coming upon constant troubles and setbacks. He felt that he had given and given and God simply took and didn’t bother to help him out of the muddy mire in which he was sinking deeper and deeper.
One day this person reached his limit and exploded. He was so angry at God and he determined that God would know it and take notice. He threw things, yelled at God, and carried on till he felt better getting it all out. He said his wife had to have heard him but knew from experience to stay away and let him be until his anger was spent.
He felt justified letting God have it with both barrels because “God is a big boy with broad shoulders” and can handle whatever is thrown his way. His thought was that God is like a father allowing his young child to throw a hissy fit to get it out of his system, knowing his child will feel better afterward. Then he gives his child a hug and sends his little one on his way.
No, it’s not okay.
Oh, my friend, I ask you to look at yourself. Are you behaving and thinking in the same way as this speaker? I pray you are not because it is NOT okay to take your emotions out on anyone, especially God. Yes, God knows how you feel. He knows every thought and emotion going through you every second of every day. You don’t want to sin by lying to him about your feelings. That is not what I am talking about.
You can, and should, be honest with God. But you must show self-control (a fruit of the spirit God expects to not only see but to grow in your life). You must take these emotions and thoughts captive. If you are blowing up to the point that others see it and hide for cover you are so very wrong.
This speaker was a great storyteller so I don’t know if this really happened or not but it made me so sad and was crushing to my spirit. Nowhere in the Bible does it say it’s okay to be in the flesh and let it spew (at God or man) until you feel better.
Be angry and sin not
God says to be angry and sin not. So anger in and of itself isn’t a sin. There are many examples in the Bible of God getting angry. But what you DO when you are angry is the potential sin. What are you allowing your thoughts to do? Are you letting them flow freely without pulling them into submission? What are you allowing yourself to say? Do you demand, accuse, and berate? What are you allowing your actions to be? Do you throw things, yell and curse God, get in peoples faces and strike fear in everyone around you?
“My dear brothers and sisters, be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Your anger can never make things right in God’s sight.” (James 1:19-20)
If you practice being quick to listen when someone upsets you, it slows down your immediate flesh response. It gives you time to pray for help, time to calm yourself, and allows you to hold your words as you think things through. As you practice this self-control, you will soon find that your anger isn’t quite as lightning hot and explosive.
It’s not the first time
As great as he was, Moses argued with God and was not allowed to go into the promised land. Job went through a terrible time of testing. When he reached his limit he demanded God rescue him and explain what was happening. God was NOT pleased. In fact, God asked Job who he thought he was to speak to him that way. God didn’t let Job off the hook with a pat on the head and a “glad you got that out of your system, now scoot along little buddy.” Nope. Turn to Job chapters 38-40 and see what God had to say.
God is a good, kind, loving father but he will not tolerate our disrespect.
What does God have to say about spewing your anger at him?
Anger at God and the resulting disrespect is nothing new. The spirit of anger strikes inside the church doors as well as out on the streets. It rains on the just and unjust alike. We love to blame God for everything going wrong in our lives and when the anger builds we feel justified releasing every thought and emotion rolling around inside of us. Satan loves to fan those flames.
The Bible is full of living examples. The people we read about were real people, not someone’s imagination. They felt things just like we do. They fought and loved and sought after God. He taught, corrected, blessed, and loved them just as he does us today. In all that time, God has not changed. When he told them in the Bible to be slow to anger, he meant that for us today too.
Just as we read in our Bibles, God has blessed us with the privilege of approaching his throne in prayer any time of day or night. He has also blessed us with free will. We may not choose our situation but we choose our response. We chose if we run to our Father. We choose what words we allow ourselves to speak. We choose the perspective we focus on. If we don’t want anyone, including God, to take away our free will, why do we want to take away God’s will and manipulate him to do as we desire?
Before the foundation of the earth was born, God made the choice to always operate on a sowing and reaping principle. No matter how mad you get or how big of a hissy fit you throw, God is NOT going to set aside his long-established sowing and reaping principle to appease you.
“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption, but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.” (Galatians 6: 7-8 KJV)
What do you do with the well of emotion rising up inside of you? God says allowing your emotions and circumstances to dictate your thoughts and actions is living in the flesh. We know we are not to live in the flesh.
Regardless of how you respond, your harvest will come. You might feel as a child of God you deserve a problem-free, bountiful harvest but if you have sowed anger, bitterness, and a lack of self-control your harvest will be a weed-choked, scrawny harvest instead.
“He that is slow to wrath is of great understanding: but he that is hasty of spirit exalteth folly.” (Proverbs 14:29 KJV)
How to deal with anger in a way God approves
Jesus wasn’t a doormat and God doesn’t expect us to be either. Gaining control over our anger is not an option. It isn’t something your natural man will want to do. The devil will fight you. Your flesh will fight you. But if you wish to gain victory over the stronghold of anger and how you deal with it you must begin to trust God and give your anger to him.
1. Examine yourself.
Who are you mad at really? Dig deep and think about it. Maybe it’s you, not God, that allowed things to happen. Did you put things into motion with your words or actions? Maybe God was waiting for you to pray and ask for help? Maybe you chose to do something and didn’t even consult God beforehand and now things are a mess.
Maybe you are furious at God for not stopping you or not telling you no. But God didn’t get you in the mess you are in. It was YOU who chose to do things the way you did. Remember your free will? Maybe God was telling you “no, not that way” and you refused to listen. Maybe he allowed things to happen a certain way (think of Moses and Pharoh)to accomplish his purpose.
God said you are the apple of his eye, not the center of the universe. Now don’t get mad at that comment. Think about it. I would give my life for my boys. I adore and delight in them. I am very close with each of them and would do anything in my power to help and bless them but my world does not revolve around pleasing them. I am sure you are the same with your children. So why do we expect God to make us the exception?
Remember, God has given you a free will and he will never take that away from you. So who are you really mad at?
Take your negative thoughts and emotions to God and pour your heart out to him. Tell him what is upsetting you so much. Don’t spew your emotions and let it fly. The difference here is how you give it to God.
I have a son who was always a very bright, articulate child. However, he would find himself in trouble for how he handled his anger and frustration. I think one of our most common phrases with him was “It’s not what you are saying that is landing you in trouble, its HOW you choose to say it.”
His temper was quick and usually directed at me. He didn’t get upset, he had a conniption. He would say things with anger, accusations, and belligerence. Like most kids, he blamed everything wrong in his life on me, his parent. Sometimes he would throw himself on the ground and kick and scream to get his way. Sometimes he would throw things or hit his brothers. But it was my job as his momma to teach him an acceptable way to handle his emotions and refuse to settle for less.
Was I being insensitive and mean? After all, the world said he was a little adult who had every right to his thoughts and emotions and how he chose to act them out was his business. Was the world right? No, according to God they were absolutely wrong. It was my job to teach my children how to handle their emotions in a godly way. Otherwise, they would grow into adults who felt justified and entitled to wallow in the flesh and throw adult temper tantrums.
Unrestrained anger gives demons the authority and freedom to use you and your situation as their playground. God warns us against allowing this for a very good reason.
“And don’t sin by letting anger gain control over you. Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a mighty foothold to the Devil.” (Ephesians 4:26-27)
None of us can gain victory over the flesh on our own. We must rely on God and his power to break our chains of bondage. As you spend time in prayer, the negative emotions will begin to melt away. You will feel God’s peace. Pray about your anger until your armor is firmly in place because the devil will take your efforts as a challenge to see if he can get you angry and blaming God again.
Going along with prayer, we must accept responsibility for our anger and repent. I’ve heard things like “I can’t help myself, I’m just an emotional person” or “It’s not my fault! I’m Latino (or Italian or Greek or whatever) and we are passionate people.” Those are lies of the devil my friend. You can learn to control yourself and your emotions or God wouldn’t repeatedly tell us to do it.
“For we are each responsible for our own conduct.” (Galatians 6:5)
Asking for forgiveness for your anger getting out of control is a must. We can justify and rationalize anything. But that doesn’t impress God. He isn’t swayed by our fits of anger, our circumstances, or our excuses. He is more concerned with our hearts and not allowing the devil a foothold so he doesn’t turn your situation into a resting place instead of a journey. Don’t allow yourself to get stuck.
In the past, I had a problem with my anger. I felt very out of control and it seemed my mouth would say things my brain hadn’t even thought of yet. Being so angry all the time left me drained and miserable. I had to figure out what was acceptable to God and what wasn’t and ask God to break the chains of bondage that anger had wrapped around my heart and mind. It wasn’t easy or a quick transformation but I can tell you that God met me where I was at and broke that chain.
Taking your anger to God in prayer with an open, repentant, receiving heart is very different than spewing and letting it all fly. Repentance is a heart condition and mindset. On the other hand, when you feel justified to spew and let it fly, it is saying you know better than God and shows a complete lack of faith. That is not a receiving and teachable heart and there is nothing loving or godly about that.
4. Take control of your thoughts.
Once you have prayed and repented, refuse to allow whatever has upset you to rise up and consume your thoughts. Have you noticed that when you get upset your thoughts swirl and you keep replaying the situation over and over in your mind?
Have you ever saw a swirling dust devil? They look like miniature tornadoes. That is what happens in our thoughts when we let our emotions get control of us. You might even invent an entire conversation in your mind (“if he says this I’m going to say that and then I’m going to….”). The problem with not putting your thoughts into submission is giving the enemy permission to do as he wants in your life. We’ve all done it. But that doesn’t make it right.
“And now, dear brothers and sisters, let me say one more thing as I close this letter. Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned from me and hear from me and saw me doing, and the God of peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4:8-9)
5. Keep your mouth closed.
When you do speak watch your words carefully. Before you allow yourself to vent your emotions again, force yourself to think about what God has to say about things. But while you are doing that, keep your words and actions to yourself.
Don’t bother counting to 10. That does nothing except help build your frustration to eruption levels. Think about it a second. Where are your thoughts while you are counting? Chances are you aren’t praying but focusing on whatever tripped your trigger. Instead of counting, talk to Holy Spirit about things (pray!).
“Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it springs the issues of life. Put away from you a deceitful mouth, and put perverse lips far from you.” (Proverbs 4:23-24)
Nothing is impossible with God’s help!
Every time you are willing to turn to God for help with your anger consider it a love offering to your Father. I promise you God will bless you and rescue you.
Don’t believe the lies of the devil that this is too hard and you can’t do it. No one is happy all the time but we are commanded to use self-control and that starts with a desire to do so, a request to Holy Spirit for his help in the situation, and an earnest effort on our part to make it happen. As a man thinks in his heart so is he (Proverbs 23:7). So if you think you can’t control your temper, you won’t. The devil will win that battle and you will continue to be miserable and blame God.
Once you have given your anger to God and truly repented, trust that God is continuing to do a good work in you. We are all a work in progress. The next time you feel frustration brewing and your thoughts swirling like a dust devil remember God’s principle of sowing and reaping. Don’t lay down and take whatever is happening but turn to Holy Spirit and cry out for his help. He is beside you listening and waiting for you to turn to him.
“Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away. Behold, all thinkgs are become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)