How often do you hear someone say something along the lines of…
“I was so mad, I just had to get it out”
“It’s not good to bottle up or let your anger build, you need a release or you’ll blow up”
Is this concept of anger…being an almost tangible power or force that must be, in various ways, released to keep us healthy, happy and content…a Biblical concept?
Check out this great paragraph I recently came across in a short commentary on Proverbs 19:11:
“We learn that anger not released will dissipate; it will quickly evaporate. Often by the next day, we can hardly remember offenses of the previous day. But this benefit requires two things – you must defer your anger by not releasing it and you must keep a spirit that glories in passing over offenses. Learn to defer your anger, reader.” *
This idea of anger being something which must be released, let out, vented or unleashed upon someone or something finds no basis in God’s word. In fact, we are told the opposite. Check out the dangers of man’s anger and some commands against it –
“David burned with anger against the man and said to Nathan, “As surely as the LORD lives, the man who did this must die!” – 2 Samuel 12:5
“When Moses approached the camp and saw the calf and the dancing, his anger burned and he threw the tablets out of his hands, breaking them to pieces at the foot of the mountain.” – Exodus 32:19
“Saul’s anger flared up at Jonathan and he said to him, “You son of a perverse and rebellious woman! Don’t I know that you have sided with the son of Jesse to your own shame and to the shame of the mother who bore you?” – 1 Samuel 20:30
“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.” – Ephesians 4:31
“…human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.” – James 1:20
One of the recurring descriptions of God in the Old Testament is that He is “Slow to anger…” (Exodus 34:6) We are told from the gospels that Christ was angry (Mark 3:5) and even Paul told us in our anger, do not sin (Ephesians 4:26) so we can conclude from these evidences that there is a good, pure and righteous anger.
But, the kind of anger we typically talk about, hear about and say must be “released”, “let out” and “never bottled up” is certainly not this holy anger. It is unholy anger, selfish anger, dangerous anger and it can, it must, be let go, not let out. We can be glorious (according to Proverbs 19:11) by overlooking offenses that would tempt us to be angry.
Let it go. You will be held accountable for the things you do in the name of “having to get it out” and you will suffer the consequences in both this life and the life to come by following the worlds wisdom in the are of sinful anger.
* Prov 19 commentary is from this site (I do NOT endorse everything on that site)