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Is Anger Always Wrong?
by Greg Baker
4/22/2010 / Christian Living
Technically speaking, anger isn't wrong. But the reality is that anger usually leads to something that is wrong. What you do in anger is often where the rightness or wrongness of it comes into play.
For example, let's say that you're walking through a parking lot and see some 250 lb man beating on some 100 lb woman. And if your anger caused you to go over and intervene, even hitting the man to force him away, I'd have to say that you did something right. I'd actually be glad that you got angry about that and felt that what you did was right.
But then how many times has our anger caused us to do something that we have no reason to be proud of? How many times have we said or did something out of anger that we now regret? The answer tells the whole story.
WHEN IS ANGER RIGHT?
Anger is not necessarily always wrong. There is a verse in the Bible that says, "Be ye angry and sin not." So it is possible to be angry without doing wrong, but by implication, our anger often leads to doing wrong so we must be on guard against it.
But to never be angry is not only impractical, but also absurd. In fact, I'd have to say the same thing about hatred. We often say that hatred is wrong, but that is also an absurd position. You cannot love something without hating its opposite. If you love freedom, you must hate slavery. If you say you love freedom, but you don't hate slavery no one is going to believe that you really do. If you love the truth, you will hate a lie. If you love justice, you will hate injustice. That is just a fact.
Hatred of people is always wrong. You can hate what they do, but to hate a particular individual is a reflection of your capacity to love. That is more your problem than their problem. But that is getting far afield of the purpose of this article.
There are some things you ought to get angry about. Slavery is something I would get angry about. The same goes for injustice and so forth. Because I hate these things, I allow myself to get angry about them. My anger demands that I don't just sit idly by and allow it to continue. If I stop a man from beating up a woman, I doubt anyone will think I did wrong.
Here is a general rule you can follow to determine if you anger is justified. If you are angry on the behalf of someone else and not yourself, your anger may be justified.
WHEN ANGER IS WRONG
Typically, your anger is always wrong when you get angry on behalf of yourself. Even if you seemingly have a justification for it, say you got cheated, robbed, or taken advantage of; your anger, in such case, almost always leads to something wrong.
When we are angry because of something that happens to us, the anger strips us of any good sense we have. The anger becomes unreasonable, and it is at this point where we start saying and doing things that we regret. Anger is most dangerous when anger is selfish.
Defending others is a selfless act. Anger in such a case is reasoned, targeted, and often thought out. But when you're the one hurt, your emotions blind you to reason. You anger lashes out indiscriminately and you cause damage that often is not repairable.
When you are selfish in your anger, you harbor resentment, bitterness, and revenge. These things, a result of selfish anger, are never good. They do more to poison you than they actually hurt the target of your anger.
So be careful of your anger. Learn to recognize the source of your anger. Is it selfish or selfless? The answer will tell you if your actions as a result of your anger are right or wrong.
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