Anger is a natural human emotion, but it can quickly become destructive if left unchecked. The Bible provides numerous examples of people who struggled with anger, some with disastrous consequences. As Christians, it is essential to understand how to manage our anger and prevent it from leading us to sin.
In this blog post, we will explore several stories from the Old and New Testaments about anger, including Cain and Abel, Moses, Saul, Jesus cleansing the temple, and Jonah. These stories offer valuable lessons on how anger can have both positive and negative outcomes, and the importance of dealing with our emotions in a healthy way.
We will also examine some of the guidance that the Bible offers on how to deal with anger effectively, including seeking wise counsel, bringing our anger to God in prayer, and practicing forgiveness. By following these teachings, we can control our anger and experience the peace that surpasses all understanding, even in the face of difficult situations.
Cain and Abel
One of the earliest examples of anger in the Bible is the story of Cain and Abel in Genesis 4. Cain became angry with his brother Abel because God accepted Abel’s offering but not Cain’s. Instead of dealing with his emotions in a healthy way, Cain allowed his anger to consume him. He lured Abel into a field and killed him.
God confronted Cain about what he had done, but Cain’s response showed that he still had not dealt with his anger. He asked, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Genesis 4:9 NKJV). This story serves as a warning about the dangers of unchecked anger and the importance of dealing with our emotions in a healthy way.
Moses is another biblical figure who struggled with anger. In Numbers 20, the Israelites were complaining about not having water to drink. God told Moses to speak to a rock, and water would come out for the people to drink. However, Moses was so angry with the Israelites that he struck the rock with his staff instead of speaking to it as God had commanded.
God was not pleased with Moses’ actions and told him that he would not be able to enter the Promised Land. This story shows that even great leaders like Moses can struggle with anger and that there are consequences to our actions when we let our emotions control us.
Saul was the first king of Israel, chosen by God to lead his people. However, he was also a man who struggled with anger. In 1 Samuel 18, we see that Saul became jealous of David’s success and popularity among the people. This jealousy turned into anger, and Saul tried to kill David multiple times.
Despite David’s loyalty and attempts to reconcile with Saul, the king’s anger only continued to grow. Eventually, Saul’s anger led to his downfall, as he lost the favor of God and the people he was supposed to lead.
Jesus Cleansing the Temple
In the New Testament, we see an example of Jesus displaying righteous anger. In John 2, Jesus went to the temple in Jerusalem and found people selling goods and exchanging money. He became angry and overturned the tables, saying, “Take these things away! Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise!” (John 2:16 NKJV).
Jesus’ actions in this story were not driven by selfish or sinful motives but rather a desire to protect the sanctity of God’s house. This story reminds us that there are times when anger is appropriate and can be used for good, but we must make sure that our actions are in line with God’s will.
The story of Jonah is a well-known one, but it also contains an example of anger. After God spared Nineveh from destruction, Jonah became angry and asked God to take his life. He felt that God’s mercy towards Nineveh was unfair, as they were a wicked people who deserved punishment.
God responded to Jonah’s anger with a gentle rebuke, reminding him of the value of all human life, even those we might consider our enemies. This story shows that anger can cloud our judgment and prevent us from seeing things from God’s perspective.
Dealing with Anger
While the Bible provides examples of people who struggled with anger, it also offers guidance on how to deal with this emotion in a healthy way. In James 1:19-20, we read, “So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God” (NKJV).
This passage encourages us to be quick to listen and slow to speak, which can help prevent misunderstandings that can lead to anger. It also reminds us that our anger will not produce the righteousness of God. Instead of allowing anger to control us, we should seek to control our anger through prayer, meditation, and seeking wise counsel.
Another passage that offers guidance on dealing with anger is Ephesians 4:26-27: “Be angry, and do not sin: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil” (NKJV). This verse acknowledges that anger is a natural emotion, but it also warns against letting it fester and turn into sin. It advises us to deal with our anger promptly and not let it linger, as this can create a foothold for the devil to gain a foothold in our lives.
One of the most effective ways to deal with anger is to bring it to God in prayer. Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (NKJV). When we bring our anger to God, we can experience his peace and gain perspective on the situation that is causing us to feel angry.
Another way to deal with anger is to practice forgiveness. In Matthew 6:14-15, Jesus teaches us, “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (NKJV). When we choose to forgive those who have wronged us, we release the grip that anger has on our hearts and allow God’s love and forgiveness to flow through us.
In conclusion, the Bible provides many stories about anger that can serve as both warnings and examples for us. We see the destructive power of unchecked anger in the story of Cain and Abel, the consequences of acting on our emotions in the story of Moses, the dangers of jealousy and anger in the story of Saul, the dangers of anger blinding us to God’s mercy in the story of Jonah, and the righteous anger of Jesus in cleansing the temple.
As Christians, we are called to control our anger and not let it lead us to sin. We can do this by following the guidance in James 1:19-20 and Ephesians 4:26-27, by bringing our anger to God in prayer, and by practicing forgiveness. When we allow God to work in our hearts, we can experience freedom from the destructive power of anger and instead live in his love and peace.