CrossReads Weekly Devotional: What Should We Do With Anger? 11/6/2023

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by Precarious Yates

You may have heard, “You shouldn’t get angry.” Maybe you get upset at yourself for getting angry. Or maybe you have heard that Jesus gets angry and you wonder what’s up with anger. 

There are a few times that Jesus does get angry.  

 The famous one where he drives the merchants out of the temple.  

John tells us in 2:15 that Jesus made the whip that He used. He did not allow his anger to explode the moment                 he saw the merchants. He took time and was very calculated about His expression of anger. Also, this was where             the women and foreigners would worship, and Jesus wanted everyone to have the opportunity to connect with                 God. 

Mark 3:5 tells us that Jesus was angry at the Pharisees for their hardened hearts against those who needed                       healing. 

“He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, “Stretch out              your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored.” He did not lash out at the Pharisees at                 this time. Instead, He healed a man. 

In Mattew 23, Jesus pronounces the 7 woes upon the scribes and Pharisees. Throughout this pronouncement,                  Jesus is both expressing His sorrow over them and prophesying about the judgment that will come if they do not              turn from their ways. 

Most of the time, Jesus does not express anger. 

One thing that’s important to understand about anger is that anger is a secondary emotion. Anger manifests in those who are consumed by fear, sadness, or disappointment. Let’s break that down a bit. 

Fear has to do with lack: lack of time, health, finances, or other resources. It can also be fear of uncertainties regarding the future. How many of us can honestly say that now they’ve realized this connection that much of their anger has stemmed from fear? Often, for me, anger manifests because I have fear regarding the lack of time. I’m sure that I won’t get things done on time, get the kids out the door before the bus, get to the grocery store and back before the school buses return. 

Anger also has the underlying emotion of sadness. As a society, we’ve become aware that people who are grieving will have episodes of anger. If, during the grieving process, a person does not deal with anger, this can ultimately explode into aggression. 

Job is an example of dealing with anger when grieving. He wanted more than anything for God to hear his case and understand why he was angry. It’s okay to talk honestly to God when we’re grieving and it doesn’t seem like the pain is ever going to end and we’re angry because we don’t understand so much. God did not smite Job for shaking his fist in anger. The book of Job expresses an important principle: gripe up. If you’re angry at God, and some of us can be, don’t try to make everyone else angry at God too. Talk to God directly. Job says this in the midst of his suffering: 

Job 23:3 If only I knew where to find him;
    if only I could go to his dwelling!
4 I would state my case before him
    and fill my mouth with arguments.
5 I would find out what he would answer me,
    and consider what he would say to me. 

Grief can make us say the most terrible things in anger. I wish there were words I could unsay, yet I am grateful beyond measure that people were gracious to me when I was grieving, and that God is gracious. 

When we realize that our anger stems from grief, and that it may not even have anything to do with the person who receives the brunt of our anger, we can sometimes navigate the way to healing faster. 

One of the biggest causes for anger is disappointment. Proverbs says “Hope deferred makes the heart sick.” We behave toward others in ways that express anger when we are disappointed. Not getting that job. A project goes south. A hoped-for outcome doesn’t occur. There can be a million reasons for disappointments. How can we stand against the barrage of emotions that accompanies disappointments? With thankfulness. If you read through the Psalms, you’ll notice how often David switches from pouring out complaints to pouring out praises. He also switches from disappointment to thankfulness. Not only this, but David writes so many psalms about being thankful to the Lord, even when things are difficult. In Psalm 69, David spends many, many verses talking about how disappointed and hurt he is. Then in verse 30, he says, “I will praise God’s name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving.” 

Thankfulness transforms our hearts by looking at disappointments through the lens of eternity. We can see that in all things God works of the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purposes. He will work through the worst circumstances and bring the best we could ever imagine. He is so good to us! 


About the Author:

Precarious YatesPrecarious Yates has lived in 8 different states of the Union and 3 different countries, but currently lives in Texas with her husband, her daughter and their big dogs. When she’s not writing, she enjoys music, teaching, playing on jungle gyms, praying and reading. She holds a Masters in the art of making tea and coffee and a PhD in Slinky® disentangling.


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