I've been blessed with many great teachers and professors in my lifetime. From elementary school all the way through college I have learned a great deal from teachers. However, anger has taught me more than any teacher I have ever had.
Thats right. Anger has taught me so much about myself. More than any other teacher I have ever sat under. The same can be true for you, but you must first know what anger is. In knowing what anger truly is, you will then see how I can boldly say that anger has taught me much about myself.
What is anger?
Anger must be broken down into two sections: desire and circumstance. There must always be a circumstance that starts the flame of anger and a desire that fuels the flame to grow.
1. Anger is sparked when we have an expectation that goes unmet.
This is the circumstance. We expect something to happen and when it does not happen, we get angry. Think about the last time you were angry. What expectation did you have? How did it go unmet? What was your response?
2. Anger is the response we have when what we love is threatened.
That is the desire. When we have an expectation go unmet and we respond in anger, it is because there is something we love that is being threatened.
This brings a whole new light to anger doesn't it? See, anger in and of itself is not wrong. It is perfectly okay to get angry as long as the motivation is the good of others and the glory of God. For example, if I find out that someone close to me has gossiped about me, my response is anger. Is that wrong? It all depends. Is my anger fueled by a heart attitude that wants the best for my friend? Or is my heart driven by vengeance and pride? Anger that is fueled by a selfish, all-about-me desire is wrong.
When we respond in anger, it can teach us a lot about what we truly love and care about. In the moments when expectations go unmet and we respond in anger, we must always ask 'What am I loving right now?' Is it your hurt? Is it yourself? Is it the other person?
When we are angry, we must always ask 'What am I loving right now?'
Anger can teach us a lot about ourselves. The question is, will you let it teach you? Will you sit back after you respond in anger towards someone or something and ask that vital question 'What am I loving?' Will you do the hard work of getting to the root of your anger? Friends, we must. When we act out in self-fueled anger, God is mocked and people get hurt. Together, lets allow our anger to teach us. In the end, we will learn more about our shortcomings and better love the people God has placed in our lives.
I am a Husband to Clarissa, Pastor at Liberty Baptist Church, reader of many books, and tweeter at @brad_merchant.