Several recent events prompted public outrage:
– Last weekend, peaceful protests in St. Louis, Missouri turned violent, and looters vandalized 23 mom and pop businesses. St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson said agitators were “apparently intent on breaking windows and destroying property.”
– Sunday morning, President Trump re-tweeted an image showing himself swinging a golf club and making it look like he hit his former presidential campaign rival Hillary Clinton with a golf ball, knocking her to the ground.
– According to CNN, the Emmys on Sunday night “amounted to a full-out roast of President Trump.” The show was hosted by Stephen Colbert.
– Also at the Emmy awards, Nicole Kidman caused a social media stir when she kissed actor Alexander Skarsgard on the mouth just feet from her husband, Keith Urban.
While these examples may seem removed from ordinary life, they exemplify how anger can prompt swift responses from the public.
None of us is immune to anger. On any given day, most of us experience some form of anger. Perhaps, you are angry about a situation today, or you know someone who is. The challenge, for Christ followers, is how to “be angry and not sin” (Ephesians 4:26). Prolonged anger can cause resentment and rob us of joy. So, today our question is:
How does a follower of Christ respond when wronged?
Anger is a God-given emotion says June Hunt, founder of Hope for the Heart ministries and author of Anger: Facing the Fire Within. She believes anger is typically rooted in hurt, injustice, fear, or frustration.
To help me remember these, I spell out the word “huff.”
H – Hurt: Have you been hurt by rejection or someone’s unkind words?
U – Unfair: Have you been the victim of a real or perceived injustice?
F – Fear: Has something occurred that causes you to feel fear?
F – Frustration: Do you experience a sense of frustration because of unmet expectations?
Anger is particularly complicated when multiple sources are combined (example: hurt and injustice). Therefore, Christian counselors recommend seeking expert help when anger threatens our wellbeing or someone else’s. (Bullying, as well as emotional and/or physical abuse, should prompt professional help.)
Once we identify the source(s) of our anger, we can better formulate a response:
- No response – Sometimes no response is the best answer (Proverbs 19:11; Proverbs 26:4).
- Gentle response – Other times, correcting the offender with gentleness is wise and beneficial for all (2 Timothy 2:24-26).
- Corrective response – Expressing righteous indignation, Jesus often corrected religious leaders who abused their influence (Matthew 12:34; Matthew 21:13).
- Respectful response – Scripture instructs us to show respect to others when we respond. (1 Peter 2:17; 1 Timothy 5:1-2).
Among God’s many incredible qualities is His affinity for justice and righteousness. He will not leave the guilty unpunished (Exodus 34:6-7). While it may not happen on our timetable, God will vindicate every wrong because righteousness and justice are the foundations of His throne (Psalm 89:14; Psalm 97:2; Psalm 103:6).
It’s true that life is not fair. When wronged, trusting God to act on our behalf is one of life’s greatest tests of faith. Thankfully, even when we don’t pass the test, God remains faithful (2 Timothy 2:13).
About the Author:
Laura earned a certificate in Conflict Resolution from Abilene Christian University’s Duncum Center for Conflict Resolution. She is a blogger and Bible study leader who leverages her experience as a former television news reporter, radio show host, and magazine editor to connect the relevance of Scripture to modern issues. She writes regularly about news and faith on her website.