Friday 22 February 2008

Why Do We Get Angry?

Why is anger so pervasive? I want to suggest that the answer lies in the reality that we are made in the image of God, and God experiences anger. God’s anger is based on His holiness and His love. His holiness means that He is righteous in all of His thoughts and deeds, and His love means that He cares about the well-being of His creatures. When His creatures violate what He knows to be right, God experiences anger. This motivates Him to take constructive action. I believe our experience of anger is very similar.

More Than an Emotion
Anger is more than just an emotion. It involves the emotions, the body, the mind, and the will, all of which are stimulated by some event in the individual’s life. All people have some sense of fairness or rightness. When they encounter what they consider to be wrong, they experience anger. Anger is an indication that we are moral creatures. God made us, and we reflect His concern for righteousness. Anger is a friend, not an enemy.

Simply Being Human
Your spouse does something that you consider to be unkind or unfair, and you feel angry. Why? Because you are made in God’s image and when God encounters injustice, He too feels angry. You have a concern for right and when you encounter injustice, you feel angry. The purpose is to motivate you to take constructive action. The problem is that we often take destructive action and make things worse.

Another problem is that often our anger is distorted. That is, it is not based on actual wrong doing by our spouse, but rather some petty inconvenience. She forgot to take your shirts to the laundry. He showed up 30 minutes late for your dinner reservation. You are angry, but your spouse has committed no immoral act. They have simply been human. Forgetting is human. Your anger is real and needs to be shared, but it does not call for repentance on the part of your spouse. It calls for understanding.

Thankful for Anger?
Anger is not evil; anger is not sinful; anger is not a part of our fallen nature; anger is not Satan at work in our lives. Quite the contrary. Anger is evidence that we are made in God’s image, and He experiences anger because He is holy and loving. We should thank God for our capacity to experience anger. Thank God for anger, and then learn how to process it in a godly way.

Excerpt taken from Anger: Handling a Powerful Emotion in a Healthy Way by Gary Chapman. To find out more about Gary Chapman's resources, visit

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