The Destructive Aspect of Anger
Anger in and of itself is not wrong. It is an emotion given to us by God. As with other God-given emotions, we tend to use it sometimes in a destructive manner. People often have a distorted understanding of what anger really encompasses – to many, it is only pure uncontrolled rage, or seething hostility. Frequently, when a counselor suggests to someone that anger may be at the root of some of their problems, they will deny they are angry. They prefer to admit to being “frustrated,” “hurt,” “annoyed,” – but seldom angry. When they learn to appropriately identify anger, they can learn appropriate ways to manage anger. Venting anger in a destructive manner is a learned behavior; the good news is that this way can be “un-learned” and anger can be expressed in a more constructive way. When anger is used wrongfully, it is damaging to ourselves as well as to our relationships.
There are four main sources of INAPPROPRIATE ANGER:
SELFISH DEMANDS: When these demands are not met, anger is the result. Selfishness is at the root of much destructive anger – selfish people tend to be angry people.
PERFECTIONISTIC EXPECTATIONS: Perfectionists are frequently resentful and angry (often toward self) because they demand too much of self, of others, and even of God.
SUSPICIONS: Motives of others are misinterpreted, leading to suspicions/assumptions and ultimately anger.
ANGER AT GOD: Always inappropriate anger, it is often the result of “unanswered” prayer, trials, or loss.
NOTE: In grief, this must be dealt with in gentleness, with discernment and encouragement to trust God--so as to not prematurely cut off the grieving process.
Obviously, not all that can be labeled “anger” is a violation of God’s law. Anger is an attribute of God’s nature – the Bible tells us “God is angry with the wicked every day.” God is completely good and holy; thus, we must conclude that Divine wrath is likewise good. Can human anger also be good? (Continuation to be covered in office session.)
Dr. Graham Abley
ADVANCE Christian Counseling
Graham A. Abley, PhD.
690 Callaway Dr. Beaumont, TX 77706
Providing Christian Faith-Based Counseling in Southeast Texas