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Christian Counseling - Is There An Upside To Anger?

Have you ever hear someone say that anger is good, useful, necessary and a sign of maturity? If you have you know that is rare, and you may have questioned their IQ level or biblical knowledge. Seemingly, the universal Christian message is that anger is a sign of immaturity and loss of self-control and something to be withheld and repented of.

Most accept the existence of righteous anger, but the majority act as if that anger should be the exclusive possession of God, as only He can feel it and express it appropriately. In discussions, writings, and presentations on forgiveness, anger is touted as something that is only harmful and forgiveness the righteous, only and necessary path to healing (there are two sides to that issue, but that's for another time, or you can visit our website and find the article: Theologies That Wound: A Study of Biblical Forgiveness). 

The most common Christian responses to anger (in oneself or others) are to vent and repent or see how quickly one can rid himself of the disease or temptation. It can readily create feelings of mild anxiety or fear to feelings of dread and, occasionally, terror (when one is traumatized by anger or rage). If a person, in response to anger, experiences a persistent and excessive fear or anxiety and exhibits avoidance behaviors, all of which interfere with one's normal routine, it is likely this person has an anger phobia. More specifically, it is has been called angophobia and cholerophobia.

Anger, as most anything, can be used to help or destroy. Without question, it is powerful and needs to be respected. You may ask, "How can anger be of help, useful or good?" Biblically, anger is not condemned, it is cautioned. It does not say or even imply that righteous anger belongs only to God. Going beyond or a step up from anger, scripture says hatred is a characteristic of spiritual maturity, "The fear of the Lord is to hate evil; pride and arrogance and the evil way and the perverted mouth, I hate" (Proverbs 8:13) and King David wrote, "Do I not hate those who hate You, O Lord?. . . I hate them with the utmost hatred" (Psalm 139:21,22). The Bible says we are not to seek vengeance directly, but we can feel it, own it, want it and ask for it (Psalm 109; Jeremiah 18:19-23; and Revelation 6:10), without it eating up a person.

Anger is useful in protecting ourselves and others, in defending our constitutional and God-given rights, in setting relational boundaries and motivating us to actions that are necessary and righteous.

Together, the Bible and psychological research join in pointing out strong anger that is internalized and unexpressed in any form is as physically and emotionally [and spiritually] damaging as explosive anger. Both sources highlight the moderate expression of anger as being optimal, which means some amount of anger is not detrimental to us, but can be good, useful, necessary and healthy. 


 

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