Hidden Anger – Part 2
By Mary Lindow
OKAY! Part 2!
By now I’m sure I’ve
lost a few people with this specific writing thread! After all!! Who wants to read about their anger?
Some people simply like to be in control and live in a tunnel vision existence, choosing to deny God the permission to clean up their hearts, attitudes, and grudges.
Anger is the coddled “right to bad behavior” and they dig their heels in, to fight off conviction that leads to humility and then (!GASP!) repentance.
Because we are part of the broken world, we also can sadly
express our anger at “true wrongs” in the wrong way.
We blow up. We get irritated. We gossip. We complain. We shut down and blow things off. We get even. We become
embittered, cynical, hostile. We pretend we didn’t do anything to hurt others.
Something really wrong happened … and we become really wrong in reaction.
Because your wrong anger has to do with your
relationship with God, you can’t deal with it by learning a few strategies or techniques.
Wrong anger creates a big problem between you and God. He doesn’t like it when upstarts who try to take over His universe.
Your anger is not just about you and all the frustrating things that happen to you. It’s not just about you and your cranky, oppositional personality.
And it’s not just about you and all the unreasonable people
in your life. It’s about you, those frustrating circumstances, all those unreasonable people … and the living God.
It’s about you acting like you are in charge of God’s world and other people. But God
is in charge.
What’s behind your wrong anger?
Your wrong reaction to life reveals that you are living as if you are in charge of the world and believe you have the right to be unkind, dismissive, expect payback
and snide to the people around you and, disrespect the way God is running the world.
Think about when you get angry. Aren’t you insisting, “My will be done; MY kingdom come”?
And when things
don’t go your way, don’t you judge those (including God) who are not doing what you want, as if you were God?
You aren’t, but when you are angry, you often act as if you were.
Acting as if you are
God — pride — is the beating heart of what it means to be a sinner.
This insight into anger is hugely freeing, and very sobering. Anger going wrong exposes pride.
When you see yourself as a sinner
— instead of focusing on how everyone around you is wrong — then God’s grace and mercy is available to you.
God’s mercy is for those who honestly confess their sins to Him and ask for the grace to change.
That’s how James 4 continues: “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble,” (James 4:6).
God’s mercy brings life to you. If you struggle with bitterness, if you grumble, snap at people, if you yell and
argue, then you need God’s mercy.
You will receive mercy and help when you confess to God your struggle with trying to control everything.
God’s just anger toward sinners like you was poured out on his
Son on the cross.
Because Jesus died, you can be forgiven and have a whole new life.
When you honestly confess your sins to God and ask Him to forgive you for Jesus’ sake, you will receive forgiveness and the
gift of God’s Spirit.
The Spirit will give you the power to express your anger, not your way, but God’s way.
Godly anger constructively engages what is wrong in a way that is patient, merciful, forgiving,
and honest in tackling what needs tackling.
Our sinful anger causes hurt, destruction, and alienation. Godly anger becomes an instrument in God’s hands to make this bad world better.
is redemptive. How does God respond when something important in His world is wrong?
He responds sending His very own Son to this broken world to be broken on the cross.
He sacrificed Christ so that His people
can be forgiven, transformed, and restored to a right relationship with Him and with others.
Your anger can also result in redemption. When you come to God and find forgiveness for Jesus’ sake, you will be filled with
Then it will be possible for you also to respond redemptively when you are angry. What matters to God will matter to you.
Being filled with the Spirit means that everything about you
will start to resemble God. Instead of responding with sinful anger to unimportant things, you will start to see your life from God’s perspective.
You will begin to care about things that truly matter, instead of reacting to relatively
In His Shadow,
~ Mary Lindow ©
” THE MESSENGER ” ~ Mary Lindow
Anger - Part I
google images - Winged Creations,
By Mary Lindow
You might have noticed that you
can’t simply avoid dealing with your anger.
It eats away at you and then, you shove it back down inside to a place of dull living and stroke your right to it, only to have it resurface in another form.
is an inevitable response to living in a troubled world where things can and do go wrong all the time.
But if you don’t learn how to deal with your anger, you will constantly hurt others.
You will poison your
own heart and you will estrange yourself from God.
God cares about what makes you angry, and God cares about how you express anger. Being mean when you are angry or cranky is not acceptable.
is indirect and unproductive behavior. It is intentional in nature, vindictive and sometimes can be unconscious.
It blocks resolution because it’s intended to hurt someone, annoy them or to unkindly, make a point.
Hidden anger is also triggered by needs that are not met like need for attention, love, care, being in control, feeling validated and many others.
Hidden anger is never positive because of its manipulative nature. In
other words, it can be toxic to relationships.
Passive aggressive people are very skillful in manipulation and also acting as if the other party is the upset or angry person.
They have the obsessive need to control,
manipulate, engage in childlike/immature behaviors, and are often self absorbed and depressed.
Sadly, they often refuse to humble themselves or invest time into getting input from outside skilled help. (They might lose control!)
Common advice can be a bit wobbly at times when it comes to dealing with anger.
Some counselors notice that people get tied up in knots when they hide or stuff their anger.
They will tell you to “deal
with your anger” by getting in touch with how you feel and then expressing it.
“Get it off your chest. Say exactly what you think. Give ‘em a piece of your mind.” This can hurt more than
Other counselors have noticed how destructive people become when they express anger. They will counsel you to control your anger.
Psychotherapy, medication, exercise, and meditation are just some of the
different ways they recommend for defusing your anger and calming yourself down.
So which do you choose? Venting or Calming?
Actually, God has a different way for you to deal with your anger. He knows
all to well that stuffing your anger deep inside is destructive.
And just learning tricks for keeping calm never discovers the purpose for which God designed anger.
Anger needs to be acknowledged and expressed in a
positive way, as a form of doing what is good and right.
At the same time, God knows well that venting your anger is destructive. Instead of expressing your anger in ways that hurt those around you, it is possible to express your anger
in a way that actually redeems difficult situations and relationships.
How does this happen?
It starts with understanding what anger is, where it comes from, and how a right relationship with God will actually change
the way you view and express your anger.
What is anger?
Anger is your God-given capacity to respond to a wrong that you think is important.
God also gets angry at things that are wrong in this
world. Your capacity to be angry is an expression of being made in His image.
So when you get angry, you are not necessarily wrong. But often anger does go wrong.
Getting angry about things that don’t
matter is a real hindrance.
God’s anger is always holy and pure because what He says is wrong is wrong, and what He says matters, DOES matter.
God is right to be displeased when people are harmed and hurt by
Romans 13:10 (ESV) tells us, “Love does no wrong to a neighbor” while Romans 12:17 says, “Repay no one evil for evil.”
Two wrongs never make a right, and our anger often simply doubles
the wrong. But God’s anger makes right, what is wrong (Romans 12:19).
One difference between our anger and God’s anger is that, since we aren’t always holy and pure, we often get angry at things that aren’t
true wrongs … or at things that don’t really matter to anyone but us.
If you throw a tantrum when you are served cold food in a restaurant, or yell at people when you are stuck in traffic, you are wise to recognize that these
are not things that really matter in God’s world.
God explains to us in the Bible why we get angry at things that don’t really matter to anyone but us.
The apostle Paul uses the phrase “desire of
the flesh” (Galatians 5:16) to describe where our wrong anger comes from.
You and I get angry because of what we desire (what we expect, want, and believe we need) to happen in a certain situation.
the last time you got angry. Underneath your feelings, words and actions is something you wanted but didn’t get.
Respect, affirmation, power, convenience, cooperation, help, money, comfort, someone else to do your grunt
work, intimacy, peace, pleasure, identity, safety … what is it that you want?
And how do you respond when you don’t get it?
Anger going wrong loudly tells the world, “I want my way! My
will be done!”
Wanting a good thing more than God?
Sometimes you want good things.
It’s not wrong to want your husband to love and listen to you.
It’s not wrong to want
your children to respect and obey you.
It’s not wrong to want your boss to be honest with you.
It’s not wrong to want a warm meal and a hot cup of coffee, or to get to your appointment rather than getting stuck in traffic.
when fulfilling your desires, even for a good thing, becomes more important than anything else, that’s when it changes into a “desire of the flesh.”
You want it too much. When you don’t get what you want, demand,
believe you need, and think you deserve, or have earned, your anger flares up.
You get mean and project that onto others. And that’s where the choice to face your use of anger becomes and issue and matter of what’s
going on inside of your heart.
Stay Tuned for Part 2!
In His Shadow,
~ Mary Lindow ©
” THE MESSENGER ” ~ Mary Lindow