freedomfrom fear

People get angry in different ways.  You may raise your voice. Or react with harsh words. Or gossip negatively about someone. Or carry resentment. Or stonewall someone who has offended you. Or get depressed.

Understanding Anger

We get angry when our will is crossed, when we don't get what we want. Anger is not bad; it's like a headache that alerts us that something is wrong and needs attention. So if we are wise then we deal with the underlying problem – and hopefully that frees us of our anger headache!

It's always helpful to be aware of all our emotions, including anger. If you have trouble feeling angry then that is a problem just as much being easily angered or resentful is a problem. The key is how you and I deal with our anger.

How the Psalmist is at Peace

The Psalmist shows us how to deal with anger. For instance, a typical example is when David prays in Psalm 35: "Contend, O Lord, with those who contend with me" (verse 1). He verbalizes his anger to God and entrusts justice to God. And he takes up his shield – he sets his boundaries of protection (verse 2).

Honesty. Submission to God. Boundaries.

This is the way to deal with anger. This is way that the Psalmist is at peace. Peace. What a gift it is to be at peace! And true peace – God's kind of peace – is demonstrated in the midst of conflict and stress.

Let's Work on Your Anger

Perhaps you grew up in a home where anger was not dealt with in healthy and loving ways? If you've carried this forward then you're probably having trouble in your relationships. I'd like to help you to grow the peace of the Psalmist…

Think of a situation in which you are prone to react in anger or to stuff your anger…

Maybe it's when a friend hurts your feelings, someone criticizes you, your child disobeys you, you make a mistake, or your driving your car and you get cut off…

Imagine yourself in that stressful situation and then pray with the Psalmist…

Contend, O Lord, with those who contend with me…

Take up shield and buckler;

Arise and come to my aid…

Say to my soul, "I am your salvation"…

Then my soul will rejoice in the Lord

And delight in his salvation.

My whole being will exclaim,

"Who is like you, O Lord?" (Psalm 35:1-3, 9-10).

When you pray this way you're submitting your will and your desire for justice to the Sovereign Lord. You're stepping out of trying to make your life what you want it to be and instead placing yourself in the kingdom of God. You're defining yourself (setting your boundaries) based on God's righteousness, not your desires.

If you practice praying honestly and submitting to God in this way before you are mistreated then God's peace will work it's way into you and it will begin to govern you and define you so that you don't react or implode with anger.

How About being angry At God?

Jonah's Angry Prayer. (Jonah 4:1-11)

When Jonah finally agreed to obey God's plan to go to Nineveh — he adapted his plan. He got burped up on the beach. He went to Nineveh and he preached there. But his purpose was still not God's purpose. God's plan was to save the Ninevites. Jonah's plan was to condemn them, and to have a front-row seat at their execution. Once again, God intervenes. The Ninevites repented. They humble themselves – they fast – they pray. God relents. They did what God wanted them to do, and God responds in his grace. But that was not part of Jonah's plan, and he was angry about it.

The fact that God relented from destroying the Ninevites "displeased Jonah terribly and he became very angry." If someone has God's heart, then seeing someone repent and turn to God should not make him angry. If someone wants to see other people saved, then that someone should not get angry when God steps down and gives them the grace to repent and be saved.

But God still used Jonah!

God used Jonah in a powerful way. Imagine this:
A man walking out of the sea, Bleached white from the gases in the belly of the whale, seaweed sticking out of his hair, and a smell that would turn your head from fifty yards. All of a sudden that Ghost like man started yelling "REPENT" I don't know about you, but I would likely think he came from God just by his strange appearance. So, what ever he had to say people listened.

Now, think about yourself for a moment. Have you ever thought to yourself that there are certain types of people that do not deserve God's Grace? Have you ever condemned a person in your heart? Maybe you even felt as Jonah had "How dare you God to show your grace on people like these."

Well, That's when I say to myself I'm glad I am not God. Then I have to repent and ask for His Grace!