Anger and Its Residual Effects Part 1

Table of contents for The Effects of Anger

  1. Anger and Its Residual Effects Part 1
  2. Anger and Its Residual Effects Part 2

Anger is an area in which we all can improve. Realizing the residual effects on our spirits and relationships can be motivational.

A reader recently asked about the effects on anger on one’s spiritual life. Let me clarify that we are not referring to the type of anger one feels over injustice, but rather the type that involves fury, rage, bitterness, and malice [ill-will]. As anger effects one’s interpersonal relationships as well as your spirit, let’s take a look at both aspects in this tw0-part post.

1. First, Realize that Anger Over Injustice is not Evil Even by God’s Standards.

Some people feel guilty over any type of anger. This is not correct. We should feel anger over injustice, as it causes us to protect ourselves and those who cannot protect themselves. Jesus Himself experienced anger over injustice. “He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts (Mk. 3:5).” However, even anger over injustice needs to eventually return to a less emotional state of reasoning, but we will discuss that later in the post.

2. The Type of Anger that has Negative Residual Effects is Associated with Rage.

The Greek words used for “anger” in Scripture contain the ideas of being provoked, enraged, exasperated, full of wrath and vengeance, and violently emotional. (Strong’s Dictionary of New Testament Words.) This is the kind of anger that is irrational and so overrun by emotion that it acts without thinking through the consequences of its actions. It includes thoughts of malice-desiring harm or other negative situations to come to the other person.

3. Holding on to Anger Corrupts Your Spirit.

Some people are prone to frequent bursts of anger that are short-lived; however, many of us hold on to anger. The irrational rage-type of anger is harmful to your spirit and relationships either way, but holding on to anger causes a great deal of internal harm, emotionally and to your spirit. Take a look at these quotes:

Be made new in the attitude of your minds…In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold (Eph 4:23,26,27).

Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many (Heb 12:14,15).

Holding on to anger has negative residual effects on your spirit. According to these quotes, it “gives the devil a foothold” or keeps an open door in your spirit to evil forces. It causes bitterness which will defile your spirit and can actually harm one’s eternal destiny, as the defiling of one’s spirit or lack of holiness can cause one to not “see the Lord.”

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4. Anger Harms Family Relationships that You are Spiritually Responsible For.

Your Children
Scripture says that attitudes or actions that are hard on your children or exasperate your children-depending on the translation, actually break their spirits and bring discouragement.

Fathers, do not exasperate your children, or they will become discouraged. OR
Fathers, do not be hard on your children, so that their spirits may not be broken (Col. 3:21).

Your Spouse
In this passage, God is speaking to husbands, but the principle goes both directions. It specifically says that treating your partner with a lack of respect, which anger does, hinders your prayers. If it is harmful enough in God’s eyes to hinder your prayers, it is obviously a matter that is harming your partner.

Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect…and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers (1 Pet. 3:7).

5. Anger Negatively Affects Fasting and Prayer

In part of Jewish history, the people were complaining to God for not answering their prayers even after they had devoted themselves to fasting. God goes through a list of their behavior that caused Him not to respond to their prayers and fasting. Part of that behavior that hinders God’s responses to you is anger, referred to here specifically as “quarreling and strife.”

“Why have we fasted,” they say, “and you have not seen it?”…Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife, and in striking each other with wicked fists. You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high…Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke [bondage]? (Is. 58:3,4,6)

This is Part 1 of a two-part post.  In Part 2, we will discuss other effects of anger, overcoming anger, and guidelines for our responses.

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