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Archive for Saturday, July 10, 2010

Faith Forum: Is there room in faith for anger?

July 10, 2010

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Bible full of examples of anger

Matt Cox, pastor, EastLake Community Church, 2734 La. (South Junior High):

The Bible shows in both the Old and New testaments that anger is inevitable. Jesus got angry. God got angry. All of us get hurt and hurt others. The anger that may follow is not a sin, but rather a warning light.

The two questions we should ask ourselves are “why am I angry?” and “how should I respond?”

We can either let anger fuel our bitterness and lack of forgiveness, or we can let it propel us toward God. How we should respond in our anger is what God wants us to learn. He is more interested in developing our character through our pain than simply eliminating our tough circumstances.

Much of our anger and hurt comes from caring too much about what other people think rather than what God thinks of us. The more insecure we are, the more we think we need the approval of others to feel validated.

And when we’re hurt because we find our identity in people’s opinions rather than finding our identity in the reality that God loves us, we’ll say hurtful things in return. Or we’ll turn into gossips who speak negatively about someone or something we’re barely familiar with. Or worse, we’ll detach ourselves from friends, family or church and seek revenge.

God wants us to be slow in responding so we don’t do any further damage. However, he does want us to resolve our anger through forgiveness, which is an action, not a feeling. Forgiveness says, “You don’t owe me anything, and I won’t hold it over your head. I cancel your debt.” While trust is something that must be rebuilt, forgiveness is something we should do immediately. Because over time our unforgiving heart does the damage to us, not the offender who has most likely moved on with life.

— Send e-mail to Matt Cox at matt@eastlakelawrence.com.

What upsets God should upset us

The Rev. Bob Giffin, pastor, Lawrence First Church of the Nazarene, 1470 N. 1000 Road:

“Is there room in faith for anger?” The short answer, from my perspective, is YES. Anger is a part of God’s nature. Throughout the Bible we find documentation in hundreds of places where God emoted anger. Made in his likeness (Genesis 1:26), we, too, experience anger — it’s a part of our nature as well. One need only watch a 2-year-old throwing a temper tantrum in the toy aisle to understand that anger is a common human emotion that we begin to experience at a very early age.

Anger is not necessarily a bad, or sinful, emotion. In fact, controlled and channeled correctly, anger can yield very positive results for the Kingdom of God — and that is always God’s purpose when he becomes angry. The problem for we humans is that we’re NOT God. We don’t have his discipline and control. Moreover, our intentions, if we’re not really careful, are self-serving and self-centered. Too often human anger results in harmful and destructive behavior — the very sort of behavior that angers God.

So, is there room in faith for anger? Yes. What angers God should anger us: oppression of the poor and weak; callous indifference to the sanctity of life; dilution of the God-ordained institution of marriage; and an unwillingness to forgive are just a few examples of the things that anger God. Such things should create a rise in our blood pressure as well! Let your anger become a change agent for good — the good of others and the advancement of God’s Kingdom. When that happens, there’s tons of room in faith for anger!

— Send e-mail to Bob Giffin at bgiffin@forestview.org.

Comments

jonas_opines 4 years, 5 months ago

The two questions we should ask ourselves are “why am I angry?” and “how should I respond?”

Better to draw your inspiration from the New book on this subject, rather than the Old one. There's too many instances of God getting angry and committing genocide in the Old one, and doing that these days will get you in front of the Hague. (maybe)

ivalueamerica 4 years, 5 months ago

Anger has been a great motivator for many.

Anger started battered women's centers, child abuse centers. Anger drove Adam Walsh to start America's Most Wanted. Anger caused people to quit bad habbits, to pass laws against child labor.

Anger is natural, as is joy and love and happiness. It is how we respond to it that defines us.

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