Why are we so angry in a country that offers so much? We have much to be thankful for but our news and social media is filled with anger and violence. There seems to be less tolerance, respect and restraint while everyone is quick to blame someone else for their problems.
Anger itself is a normal emotion experienced by all humans from time to time and can serve as functional for survival. It can potentially boost determination to correct wrong behaviors and facilitate social justice and redress grievances. Uncontrolled anger however can negatively affect personal and social well-being and negatively impact those around us. In its strongest form, anger impairs one’s ability to process information and to exert self-control. Anger, if not dealt with, can become very destructive.
When it was time for the harvest, Cain presented some of his crops as a gift to the Lord.4 Abel also brought a gift—the best of the firstborn lambs from his flock. The Lord accepted Abel and his gift,5 but he did not accept Cain and his gift. This made Cain very angry, and he looked dejected.6 “Why are you so angry?” the Lord asked Cain. “Why do you look so dejected?7 You will be accepted if you do what is right. But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master.”8 One day Cain suggested to his brother, “Let’s go out into the fields.” And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother, Abel, and killed him. Gen 4:3-8
God warned Cain that his anger needed to be controlled and that he had a choice to do what was right. Instead he chose to kill his brother out of jealousy and hurt feelings. We always have a choice in how we respond no matter how great the perceived or real provocation, hurt or threat. Jesus taught about judging others and dealing with anger. We need to look at ourselves first to see if we caused any conflict and be the peacemakers.
Jonah is a well known prophet with an amazing whale of a tale. Jonah did not believe the Ninevites deserved a second chance. He finally dragged his feet to the city proclaiming their eminent destruction. He watched for the fire and brimstone to rain down but when it didn’t- he became angry. Jonah waited some distance from the city while God provided a leafy plant for shade. Jonah was happy for his personal comfort but then God provided a worm to eat the plant.
“Then God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry because the plant died?” “Yes,” Jonah retorted, “even angry enough to die!”10 Then the Lord said, “You feel sorry about the plant, though you did nothing to put it there. It came quickly and died quickly.11 But Nineveh has more than 120,000 people living in spiritual darkness, not to mention all the animals. Shouldn’t I feel sorry for such a great city?” Jonah 4:9-11
Jonah was self centered and forgot how God forgave and protected him. Jonah had been given a second chance and God reprimanded him for his uncaring attitude for all those lost people. The book of Jonah is the only book in the Bible to end in a question. God cares about people and how we respond to others.
People with understanding control their anger; a hot temper shows great foolishness.
30 A peaceful heart leads to a healthy body; jealousy is like cancer in the bones. Prov 14:29-30
26 And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry,. Eph 4:26
4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. 1 Cor 13:4-7
It is not a sin to feel angry but how we respond to our feelings can be. We need to recognize it, control it, deal with it and do the right thing. We always have a choice!