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You Are Allowed To Feel Angry!

Is anger wrong? Would you be surprised if you learned that feeling angry is actually ok? What we must beware is sinning in our anger. Don't be afraid of your emotions, they are likely telling you something! Here's how to engage them with self control.

Anger is a strong feeling of annoyance, displeasure, hostility, irritability or rage. Being provoked to anger is no fun, but it happens. 

We all experience anger; whether we get angry or someone we know gets angry, it is something we all have experience with. It is worth it - for us and our families - it is worth it to acknowledge this intense emotion, how it affects others, and how we should behave when it flares up in our hearts. It is worth it for our spouses and children that we take time to evaluate our lives to see if anger is an area of life that needs some transformation. With this in mind, I have made a few discoveries I wanted to share with you.

I need to tell myself often that I am allowed to feel angry. For some reason, I feel like being angry is something I should never do. I feel as if being angry is a negative thing, a wrong thing, a bad thing. But I also need to remind myself that I shouldn’t justify certain behaviors just because I am angry.  

However, as I consider anger in light of God’s Word, I am discovering that God designed us with the capacity to feel anger. It is an emotion that allows us to feel deeply over our personal issues. Yet, His Word is clear that we should not sin in our anger.

Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil. - Ephesians 4:26-27

As I navigate anger, what it looks like in my marriage and my parenting, I want to share with you some encouragement, things I need to hear as well...

We are allowed to feel angry. I am allowed to feel angry. You are allowed to feel angry!

God created us to feel angry. But, we should not sin in our anger. We need to separate the association of “bad” or “negative” with anger. Anger isn’t a wrong thing, but sinning in our anger is wrong.

I need to keep in mind that anger has a purpose. just like happy has a purpose, just like sad does, or like any other emotion we feel does. Emotions help us experience life, and when we feel different things we learn more about ourselves, about God, and about others that we otherwise may never know.

We were created to feel deeply. We were designed this way. And I believe that anger can teach us a ton about ourselves and God and our spouse and our children and everyone else in our lives if we exercise self-control when we are provoked to anger.

We must not be convinced that anger needs to just run its course...which I have thought in the past. Without self-control and submitting our emotions to the Lord, we could end up hurting ourselves or others...and that is not good.  We can do this simply through prayer. When we feel angry we should pray to God and talk to Him about the way we feel. 

Seeing anger in a different way has changed my heart in how I behave when I feel angry. I am more self-controlled. I am not perfect, but I am changing for the better. I also pay more attention to the purpose of why I feel angry. I wonder how my anger might be revealing something new to me. I also do not wrestle with feeling shameful when I am angry anymore, because being angry is not wrong, rather sinning in anger is wrong. I think this is important to know.

I have been working with my three year old son on how he can navigate his emotions. He has been learning about anger - a learning opportunity comes when it rises up in his heart. Even as young as he is, when he feels angry it comes out in his facial expressions, his tone of voice, a clenched fist, and furrowed brows. I want his little heart heart to know that God made him with the capacity to feel angry, but that he still needs to respect his mom and dad even though he is angry. My son has a responsibility in every choice he makes regardless of his emotions. Teaching him this and helping him navigate it has been teaching me quite a bit about the responsibility I have in the choices I make, regardless of my emotion. 

My hope is that with every emotion, especially anger, we can experience it and learn from it and be self-controlled through it. We are not victims of our emotions. We can be strong and steady as the Lord helps lead us through every emotion we experience. The choice is up to us. 

- Jennifer Smith


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