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Introduction

There are so many things that can affect the way we live our lives: fear, impatience, and unhealed trauma or pain, to name a few. One of the most miserable of all those things is the anger we carry with us along the way. But is anger entirely a bad thing, or can it actually be used to help us in some way along the path?

Before we dive into the heart of this topic, let’s look at what Scripture tells us about anger. Paul tells us to put off malicious (or wicked) anger in Ephesians 4:31 and Colossians 3:8, and yet there are dozens of references in Scripture to the anger of God, and even of Jesus’ anger, as in Mark 3:5. We also see that the Lord is “slow to anger” (Nehemiah 9:17, Psalm 103:8, and others), and we hear the command in Psalm 4:4 and then again in Ephesians 4:26-27 to “Be angry, and do not sin: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil.”
 
With over 300 references to anger in the Bible, clearly this is an important issue, and clearly it’s nothing new. Mankind has been dealing with anger from the beginning (see the story of Cain and Abel in Genesis 4), and that’s because we were created in the image of God, who experiences anger Himself. But anger is a dangerous thing, and it can get out of hand very quickly. It can also lead us to sin, and it can become very deceptive if we let it get the best of us.

We can spend so much of our lives angry, not even knowing what we are angry about. Sure, we can usually blame a certain situation that made us angry, but so often our anger is constant and uncalled for, and it is a foothold for sin and for the devil to come into our lives.
 
Now, this is not righteous anger we're talking about here, like the anger of the Lord. And if all your anger is righteous anger, then praise God for that, but realize that you’re probably also living in denial. The kind of anger we’re talking about is the kind of anger the Scriptures warn us about - the malicious kind, the kind that leads to sin, and the kind that lingers after the sun goes down. It’s a self-serving anger, and it brings no glory to God.
 
It’s the kind of anger that rules with an iron fist over your coworkers. It’s the kind of anger that withholds affection from your spouse. It’s the kind of anger that blows up at your children over the smallest things. It’s the kind of anger that you can’t quite identify, and yet at the same time, it’s the kind you can’t ignore.
 
But this kind of anger still isn’t the problem. It goes even deeper than that. You see, anger is much like addiction, in that it is usually only a symptom of something much deeper (and you can even be addicted to anger, not knowing how to live without it). Think of it like a warning light in your car. The light itself is not the problem, but the fact that it’s shining is indicating that something much more serious is going on under the hood. And yes, you can drive around with the light on for a while, but sooner or later, if you don’t take care of the problem, you’re going to break down.

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