I lost it. I was running late, feeling pressure, and he just would not be quiet. It was not that he was misbehaving or being unruly. He was actually just very happy, singing and playing in the back seat. I, on the other hand was not happy, nor singing. And I lost it. To this day, I can’t remember what I yelled, but the face of my son looking at me with such shock and hurt, then breaking down into tears. My words do not haunt me. I don’t remember what I said, but the effects of my anger still haunt me to this day.
In times like these, I pray the Lord would deliver me from these moments of anger. I do not want to lose my temper. I do not want to get angry. I wish it would just go away. The problem with my prayer though is that anger is found within the character of God. As His children, in His image then, we have all been given the emotion of anger, and it has a place. When we understand this, we know that our prayer should not be that our anger be taken from us, but that our anger would reflect the anger of God, not man.
God is a righteous judge,
a God who expresses his wrath every day.
If he does not relent,
he will sharpen his sword;
he will bend and string his bow.
He has prepared his deadly weapons;
he makes ready his flaming arrows.
When the Lord declares His name to Moses, He calls Himself ‘slow to anger, abounding in love.’ I love this because it reminds me of God’s mercy. But the greatness of God’s mercy does not void His anger. In the 7th psalm, we read how the Lord expresses His anger every single day. And His anger is compared to deadly weapons set to destroy. Isaiah 53 is the prophets foretelling of the crucifixion and he says that the Messiah was stricken by God, smitten by Him. The angst and cruelty we see in the crucifixion is a revelation of God’s anger, and it was anything but merciful. The crucifixion was most violent and painful. The Roman soldiers whose occupation was to find new ways to torture and inflict pain were powered by demonic forces as they ferociously tore the body of our Lord apart. Isaiah, though, would say that their vicious torture was an expression of God’s anger. Christ became sin (2 Corinthians 5:21) and God’s wrath was poured out upon the sin of the world.
Christ got angry as well. He was angry with the disciples for keeping the children from Him. He was angry with Peter for trying to keep him from His death on the cross. He was angry in the Temple with the money-changers. If God gets angry and if Christ got angry, how can anger in and of itself be sinful? And if anger is not sinful by its very nature, then there is a purpose in anger. Anger has been put into each one of us as something that will motivate us to take action, to do something when we see something that is keeping people from Christ. God was angry with sin because sin separates us from Him. He was angry with the disciples for separating children from Himself. He was angry with the money-changers who made it very difficult for people to enter the Temple for worship.
Our anger should erupt when we see anything in this world that will crush someone’s spirit or break down their will, causing them to lose faith or give up hope. This eruption should produce action in us, whether it is personally trying to help someone or giving money to an organization trying to set women free from human trafficking. When we see the enemy come against our marriage, our anger should not be directed at our spouse, but at the Father of all Lies working to kill, steal, and destroy our families. Our anger should erupt against the Enemy moving us to forgive, forget, restart, re-establish, and renew our vows to one another. When we see the Enemy coming against our children through negative influences, we should rise up in prayer, oversight, and protection. Our anger against the Enemy might move us to discipline our children to stay away from the wrong crowds, to have a long conversation about positive relationships, or even transfer them to another school. But our anger is from God, to move us into action so that we don’t just sit there getting beat up by the Devil.
The nature of anger does not change. It is designed to move us into action to crush that which it is directed at. Whether our anger moves us to pray against the plans of evil or scream at our children, it will crush. Anger is part of the image of God, but sin corrupts it giving us bad aim, crushing and destroying those we love. Let’s not pray the Lord takes away our anger. We need it to move us. But let’s do pray the Lord helps us to better identify what needs to be crushed and what needs to be saved. Let us crush the Enemy and protect those whom God has called us to love.
Pastor Lee is the author of “Prepare for Greater Things: Understanding God’s Plan for Your Life.” Prepare for Greater Things is a reprint of Pastor Lee’s first book entitled “The Journey.” It is soon to be released. To schedule a speaking engagement for any size church or ministry gathering, please go to our Contact Page.