People don’t usually get angry randomly. When we get angry, we usually feel like we have a reason. But unfortunately, while the Bible does indicate that there is such a thing as righteous anger, a whole lot of our anger isn’t. This is a problem because sinful anger doesn’t help us do what God wants. We need to be able to spot the symptoms of anger gone bad. Here are some questions which might help:
1.) Why am I angry?
Am I primarily concerned about a sin against God or something that annoys me?
Has a biblical principle been violated or a personal preference offended?
2.) What am I thinking and feeling as I am angry?
Am I feeling sadness, grief, and love for the person who is sinning?
Or am I feeling bitterness, self-pity, and a thirst for vengeance?
3.) What am I doing as a result of my anger?
Am I working on dealing with the problem in a way that honors God and helps other people?
Or am I dealing with the person in a way that exalts self and forces them to get what I want?
Am I compromising other biblical principles in my concern to fix this problem?
4.) How is my anger impacting the people around me?
Is the way I am responding helping people know God and move forward in their relationship with Him?
Or are the people around me becoming hateful and angry too?
5.) How is my anger impacting me?
Is my anger causing me to become more self-absorbed and focused on my own personal interests?
Or is it energizing me to make radical sacrifices for the cause of Christ and the good of others?
Is my speech becoming more negative about people?
Or is my speech filled with expressions of love for the gospel and the person of Christ?
Any time that we are hurt by others we are being given an opportunity by God to be stewards of His grace. Righteous anger may help us do that by energizing us to deal with problems we would normally overlook. If our anger turns sinful however, we will end up taking this moment that God designed for His glory and our good and turn it into something that harms us and the people around us in significant, long-lasting ways.