Can Christians Be Angry?
- Tuesday, April 09, 2013
"Orge" describes a fire that quickly flashes up and dies down just as quickly. Like when an open flame is touched to a pile of extremely dry sticks and leaves. It burns furiously and just as quickly burns itself out. Some angry people explode and often hurt those around them--but they sure feel better.
On the other hand, the Greek word "thumos" describes a ripe peach still hanging on the tree that keeps getting riper and riper until it turns to mush and falls on the ground for some unsuspecting person to step in. "Thumos" people internalize anger and refuse to face it for what it is. Eventually, however, their anger will likely ooz out and sabotage relationships with the people around them--as well as their own emotional well being.
In his dynamic work, The Angry Book, Dr. Theodore Isaac Rubin, M.D., illustrates describes what "orge" and "thumos" might look like.
- Venting ("orge"): Auto Poison; Bullying; Explosive Behavior; Rage; Violence; Suicide; and Murder
- Repressing ("thumos"): Anxiety; Depression; Self-Sabotage; High Blood Pressure; Overeating; Under eating; Sleep Problems; Silent Treatment; Malicious Gossip; Overworking; Over sexing; Over exercising; Bad Dreams; Always Tired; Drugs; Alcohol; and Juice-Stewing
Now, let’s come to the crux of the matter. What do I do when I feel myself becoming angry? (Proverbs 16:32)
1. Deescalate the emotions of the moment. Choose to calm yourself down. (Proverbs 30:33; Proverbs 15:1 . Take time to read and apply Psalms 131 Counting to 100 is still a most effective way of quieting yourself down before doing something stupid.
2. Quickly decide whether the anger is worth it and back away if it is not. I was a happy third grader on the play ground when a big-fourth grader challenged me to a fight.
"I heard that you said that you can beat me in a fight. Do you want to try," he asked?" My first thought was, "I never said that." My second thought was that it wasn't worth the fight. I said, "O.K. you win. You are better than me." He screwed up his face and looked at me: "Well then, don't you forget it." Some situations just aren't worth it.
3. Ask the question, “where have I been hurt?" Most people get angry they've been hurt by someone, something or some situation. (Proverbs 19:11). What hurt is producing you anger? Heal the hurt and you will begin to heal the hurt (Matthew 5:4).
4. Follow Jesus' anger-healing model as revealed during His crucifixion experience (This model is adapted from "Jesus Healing Model by David Ferguson of Intimate Life Ministries.)
"He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled.Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me" (Matthew 26:37-38).
Second, He understood the truth of what was happening: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” "(Luke 23:34).
Third, He forgave those who were crucifying Him: “Father, forgive them . . . " (Luke 23:34).
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