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Anger is clearly a part of life. Most people experience some level of it on a daily basis. Sometimes, anger is appropriate to the circumstances and sometimes it’s not. There is a balance to anger that many people haven’t learned to negotiate: you get angry about things you shouldn’t; you are complacent over things you should be angry about.

The answer isn’t to expunge all anger form your life; that isn’t possible. Anger is an emotion and a reaction you will continue to feel and experience. The answer is to learn how to craft a role for anger in your life that is within appropriate boundaries. One way to assess your anger is to ask yourself, “When you are angry, do you feel closer or father away from God? Why?”

God has created you with the ability to experience anger. It is a powerful motivator with the ability to propel action. As with any powerful tool, you need to learn to treat it with respect and use it properly. People tend to mess up anger and end up using it incorrectly and poorly. James puts it in this way: “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires” (James 1:19-20). The world will provide all sorts of negative motivations for being angry. When it comes to anger, God must be your guide, not the world. The world’s list of what’s appropriate to be angry about is voluminous and definitely different from God’s in most respects. It’s important, then, to recognize where you’re being influenced by the world in your anger and how to better be influenced by God.

God becomes angry when the way things are not the way they should be, according to His will. Anger, then, is like a warning system that something in the world is wrong. Anger prompts corrective action. There is a major difference, however, that must be factored in when comparing your anger to God’s. When God becomes angry because things are not right, He never has to look inward for a reason. When you become angry because things are not right, you must look inward. God is always righteous in his anger; He doesn’t need to evaluate it. Because you are not always righteous in your anger, when you become angry, you need to evaluate your reasons, motivations, and actions.

Life is full of triggers that cause us to feel anger, frustration and upset. However, if we don’t learn to control our anger, our anger will control us. Give yourself the time you need and the permission to explore this area of your life, and find perspective through God’s gracious, living example.

The content of this post was derived from Dr. Gregory L. Jantz’s book, Controlling Your Anger before it Controls You.