I had much to learn...
To be honest, I struggled. Though my husband had turned his life back to God and was trying desperately to restore our marriage, there were days I didn’t care. Anger fermented and burned causing a dark emotion I could not define.
Compelled to dig deeper, I ran across Ephesians 4:26: “In your anger, do not sin.”
Yeah right. Was this even possible? Could I really vent my anger, yet not sin?
A study of the definition of both anger and rage provided clarity.
Anger is a normal, healthy reaction to a negative situation caused by insult or injury.
Rage, conversely, is anger out of control.
Anger is God’s way to vent, rage is Satan’s way.I had a choice to make. Would I express my anger constructively or aggressively? Though I had every right to feel the injustice of someone else entering my marriage, to unleash fury was not the answer. Ill prepared to handle the depth of emotion, the line between anger and rage often blurred. I had to cry out to God daily for strength to live life His way.
Have you experienced the ugliness of anger where rage enters in? If so, here are a few tips to help you through:
Firstly, admit you are angry.Don’t repress or swallow your pain. This is hard for most Christians as we often equate anger with sin. Yet, the Bible clearly encourages control where anger does not lead to sin, but validates the emotion itself.
Secondly, vent anger honestly and regularly but pray for courage and wisdom to voice concerns without displaying rage. There is no sin in saying you are angry and explaining why. In fact Ephesians 4:26-27 teaches, “Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.” This encourages us to talk about our pain and release the emotion of anger so that Satan cannot take up residence and turn pent up anger into hatred.
I had to learn balance. Psalms 37:8 says to “Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil.” A choice not to bring every angry moment to my husband’s attention made practical sense. At times I had to let God shoulder the pain, especially when I wanted to repeat a message I had previously made clear. We could not live in constant conflict and yet heal our marriage.
Even if restoration of your marriage is not possible...think of how constant anger may affect your children, a new relationship, or your health. Though some may argue the betrayer deserves anger and much more, the truth remains—no human being is equipped to atone for their sin. Jesus is the only one capable of handling this burden.
Sadly, we land up hurting ourselves far more than the person our anger is directed at, especially when we allow that anger room to grow creating hatred within our hearts. Anger must be acknowledged, vented constructively without rage, and then laid to rest.
Next week I will conclude this topic with further practical ways in which to manage the God given emotion of anger.