How to Process Anger Biblically: Righteous Indignation or Hot-Tempered?
Many of us were taught it is wrong to be angry for any reason, but that is simply not what the Bible teaches. Anger is a God-given emotion, and a normal, healthy response to abuse, mistreatment, and injustice.
The Bible distinguishes between righteous indignation and being a hot-tempered person. Some might even say you can tell a lot about a person based on what angers them. It is the hot-tempered person we are instructed to avoid.
While unresolved anger can simmer just under the surface and come out unexpectedly - kind of like trying to hold a beach ball under the water, so the Bible provides instructions for us regarding how to deal with this God-given emotion.
Next the discussion turns to anger from past abuse, then to anger from ongoing injustice. This is followed by some examples of Jesus' righteous indignation and God's special concern for the vulnerable.
The God of the Bible is merciful and loving, but He is also just. God is a holy God who cannot simply look the other way regarding sin. If He could, there would have been no reason for Him to send His only begotten Son. Jesus, though sinless, became sin for us, taking our sin upon Himself, and dying a substitutionary death in our place, that whosoever shall believe in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.
This makes you a child of God, and Satan cannot do anything to you without God's permission (Job 1). If you are a child of God, based on the Bible, not based on the popular opinion that everyone is a child of God, then if God allows it, He has a purpose in mind. If He allows it, He's going to use it, if you let Him.
God has an astounding way of turning around for good what a destructive personality meant for evil. People love to take this scripture out of context and say "things always turn out for the best," but that is not what this verse says:
In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the (Holy) Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints (Christians) according to the will of God. And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:26-28 NASB
For example, my childhood sexual abuse did not make for a very enjoyable childhood. However, God allowed it and after three years of gut wrenching therapy decades ago, then God taking me aside and providing a deep, thoroughly healing, He used it to minister to many other childhood sexual abuse survivors in the years that followed. This was perhaps in preparation for the bands of predators and perverts who have tried to invalidate that healing and continue the generational cycles of abuse this ended.
God has allowed these predators to continue thus far, and does not allow his children to suffer needlessly, but clearly still has more of this network of sexual and other predators He wants to expose in this situation. While they might "not judge one another," God sees all of it. This is the manner in which God has worked in my life. When He gets everything lined up, it will end. For example, it took me about one full year after my late alcoholic pedophile step-father died to realize that God loved him, too. However, one day his last chance was over, and eternity is a long time. While the Bible says the death of the saints is precious in God's eyes (Psalms 116:15), it also says He takes no pleasure in sending the wicked to hell, but much prefers that they turn from their wicked ways (Ezekiel 18:23).
Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the disciple and instruction that comes from the Lord. Ephisians 6:4
Righteous Indignation v. Hot Tempered
There is a distinction between being a hot-tempered person and becoming angry due to injustice. God laid down laws, including for protection and restitution. There are some things that should make someone angry. For example, how abnormal would it be for someone to intentionally harm your loved one and not to become angry? What about if those who harmed you or your loved ones not only failed to display any remorse or restitution, but then proudly taunted you about what they had done? It would abnormal not to become angry!
God clearly knows how destructive a hot temper can be, and instructs us to have nothing to do with a hot-tempered person. In my personal situation of being stalked over many years, one of the main stalkers is a hot-tempered bully, and due to the enduring incompetence and corruption of law enforcement in this situation over the years, I have had no choice but to endure his violations, outbursts and inflicted untreated injuries. This is in addition to the many flying monkey stalkers harassing me with directed conversation every single day of my life, and generally claiming or imply it is by proxy.
Abusive personalities impose double standards and love to project, play the victim, as well as misapply Scripture. What a bullying abuser applies to you, he or she will never apply to themselves, and Scripture is no exception. An abusive personality using the Bible will always overlook the board in their own eye to draw attention to the speck that might not even be in your eye in the first place. Narcissistic bullying abusers seem to especially enjoy projecting a false image onto the victim. For example, ridiculously inaccurate accusations that have no basis in reality, but likely have much more to do with the one spewing them than the one enduring the verbal abuse.
My anger from this constant intrusive harassment is righteous indignation, for which there has never been any closure or resolution provided, even though the situation has been reported to all levels of law enforcement for years now. So, I realize there are those who are provoked and taunted endlessly year after year, who are actually having normal responses to the abnormal behavior of others.
This anger is intentionally used against the victim, as virtually every healthy manner in which it has been dealt with is systematically removed by cult members who are so consistently aided by police. Police, who may be cult members themselves, which in and of itself can build anger and righteous indignation due to the betrayal by the very ones charged with upholding the law and protecting the innocent.
We have more law enforcement in this country than we have ever had in our history, which has clearly caused a lowering of the bar from those of past generations, appearing in some instances to nearly be thugs in uniform, and we have found our experiences with law enforcement while trying to report multiple perpetrator stalkers in recent years to be absolutely unacceptable. This is one reason why we advocate for the cleaning out of these police departments. There should no more be even one officer found with secret blood oaths or other conflicting priorities or attitudes, and a badge, than there should be a Klansman on the force.
Given the build up of enough anger, it can result in depression, or even becoming suicidal or homicidal. This is also a goal of the multiple perpetrator stalkers, just as in the narcissism literature, who will use your emotions against you. This ought not to be, and even worse, these creatures do this even to young children.
These are people who have been provoked and preyed upon relentlessly, not the narcissistic hot-tempered bullies throwing temper tantrums because they did not get their way in accordance with their outrageous entitlement issues or egos.
Dealing with Anger
The OT condemns anger because it encourages folly and evil (Ps. 37:8; Prov. 14:29) - Zondervan Illustrated Bible Dictionary, p. 69.
However, in the New Testament, it states in Ephesians 4:26 to be angry, followed by instructions for dealing with anger.
Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger and do not give the devil an opportunity.
So, be angry. Feel your God-given emotions, but do not sin. Do not let the sun go down on your wrath, deal with it quickly. That does not mean that you are going to be able to deal with something like a lifetime a childhood sexual abuse three days after arriving at adulthood. On the other hand, do not nurse it along, because there comes a time when rather than healthy processing, anger begins to beget anger. If you continue to process it, based on my own experience, and even when it seems absolutely to the contrary, it will finally dissepate. Do not give the devil an opportunity, neither allowing a root of bitterness to spring up and defile many (Hebrews 12:15).
Anger from Past Injustice or Abuse
While God created an organized universe, and we live in an organized society with laws designed to uphold justice, it does not always work as it should. In our experience in recent years, it appears to be completely and utterly failing at the very reason for its existence as an entity. It appears quite insightful as to some of the potential reasons behind the staggering statistics of 25 million people being trafficked.
My heart goes out to you if you were revictimized in the foster care system as was the case with at least one of our own foster children when I was a child. She was removed from a home due to being molested, so she could be placed in a foster home to be molested and mocked. This does not appear to be a rare occurrence here in the Land of Oz.
For those who were failed by the system as children, and arrived at adulthood with a mammoth load of unresolved anger, idiotic things like "you sure would be prettier if you smiled," "that was a long time ago, let it go," and "turn that frown upside down" really are not helpful. However, you can likely count on hearing some of these comments during this time.
Dr. Paul Meier is a Christian psychiatrist and theologian as well as the author of many books on various topics. Happiness is a Choice is one of his early works enjoyed by many over the years.
Anger makes some people uncomfortable, others have their own reasons for not wanting you to deal with it. Then there are those who say such things who truly have no idea or insight regarding what they are asserting. As disgusting as it is, others actually want the resulting issues from childhood abuse to remain so their brotherhood of losers and perverts can further their agenda.
Often abusers have double standards, such as it is okay in an abusive home for everyone to have to dance around the abuser lest they make him or her angry, and he or she has one of their explosive temper tantrums, but it is not okay for the abused to display their righteous indignation in order to practice your religion, be emotionally healthy, and recover.
Just as in childhood sexual abuse, where the victim is threatened with physical violence and burdened with making the hot tempered idiotic abuser mad, so it is with multiple perpetrator stalkers. The thugs and perverts are just more numerous and many unknown to the victim. Additionally, it is not the criminal activity that appears to be the issue either, but the talking about and reporting of it, just as in childhood sexual and other abuse. Once again, the stalking victim is supposed to walk on eggshells lest any hot tempered backwoods goat blood drinker become angry while they violate every moment and aspect of the victims' lives.
This can easily lead to stuffing your anger which psychology tells us can lead to depression. Actually, Dr. Paul Meier, Christian Psychiatrist, (book ripped off from my belongings like so many other things, and clearly not approved by the Friends of the Library, that does not have even one of this Christian psychiatrists' books) said something along the lines of half of their practice would not even have existed if people learned to properly process or deal with their anger. So just imagine how much the pharmaceutical industry profits from it! Enough anger and one can become suicidal or homicidal even, depending on whether the anger is focused inward or outward. Of course, the stalkers want their victims to internalize it to the point of aiding in their own destruction.
Those who have the intestinal fortitude for this difficult task of recovering from childhood sexual abuse, you may be subject to the fury of hell from extended family members, if, for example, they are the first to seek recovery and therapy for childhood sexual abuse in an extended family of origin. This is based on personal experience, as well as discussions with many childhood sexual abuse survivors over the years. I consider my own years of recovery from childhood sexual abuse worth every moment of the blood, sweat, and tears to took to accomplish it. It changes everything.
One of the reasons for this is because childhood sexual abuse in an extended family of origin can generally be traced back as far as the eye can see. If various members have not dealt with their own abuse, they certainly are not going to be able to help you deal with yours! Then there are extended family of origin members standing ready with their fellow cult members to inflict the continuation of broken generational cycles of abuse, also appearing to be assisted by law enforcement in our experience.
Invalidating comments are often made during this time of recovery, comments that are discouraging. It appears to be the very ones who have not dealt with their own issues, or who fear their own skeletons will fall out of the closet while you are looking at yours, who are the ones who so often make such discouraging and invalidating comments. A couple of examples of these kinds of comments, including how they have always "been able to handle their own problems" and "the therapists are crazier than the patients." They also often come from those who clearly cannot "handle their own problems," as you notice their unresolved issues displaying in various ways. Had they actually been able to "handle their own problems" you would have had a better childhood in the first place.
Anger from Ongoing Injustice
There are situations that occur regardless of how healthy of boundaries the victim has. For example, this stalking and cyberstalking situation that has been repeatedly reported to all levels of law enforcement for years now. This is not a boundary issue, but a failure of law enforcement.
Then, the slime who execute these campaigns, who most often not only fail to display signs of duress, but quite the opposite, repeatedly attempt to use the normal healthy responses to abuse and injustice against the victims, since the victim is the one left to deal with it all with no effective protection or resolution
In the Bible God repeatedly expresses His special concern for the vulnerable, unlike law enforcement's in our recent experience, such as widows and orphans. However, in our society, that continues to deteriorate, it appears these are often the defenseless victims of sexual and other predators, as we have all heard with situations such as Boys Town, where our own politicians were flying in to molest little boys, the pedophile priests in the Catholic church just moved to a new unsuspecting community rather than prosecuted, then those with cult extended family of origin members who appear to be preying upon their own family members without any apparent consequences, but much vigorous assistance from police.
While we believe codependency is a real issue, we also believe it calls for discernment in order to avoid the victim-blaming agenda of cult members. For example, if a victim is being handled and surrounded by trolls and Don Juan perpetrators bullying them into relationships and slavery, this has nothing to do with any codependency issues of the victim, but is yet another cop-out by law enforcement. While learned helplessness can result from childhood abuse, and be taken advantage of by perpetrators, law enforcement in our experience enduringly and consistently attempts to force the stalking victim into such a position and mentality.
This is in addition to the previously published article in the narcissism niche a few years ago regarding the inordinately high incidence of certain medical conditions among children of very narcissistic parents, such as panic attacks and fibromyalgia. It is our belief that this is a much more extensive list of medical and mental conditions, inflicted, and/or misdiagnosed for profit, and that the financial dependency and deteriorating condition of scapegoated children of narcissistic parents is no accident.
The Persistent Widow and the Unjust Judge
"There was a judge in a certain city,” he said, “who neither feared God nor cared about people. A widow of that city came to him repeatedly, saying, ‘Give me justice in this dispute with my enemy.’ The judge ignored her for a while, but finally he said to himself, ‘I don’t fear God or care about people, but this woman is driving me crazy. I’m going to see that she gets justice, because she is wearing me out with her constant requests!’” (Luke 18:1-5)
Justice is a joy to the godly, but it terrifies evildoers. - Proverbs 21:15 NLT
Jesus Became Angry in the Bible
Jesus was furious with the money changers in His Father's house, and took a whip, overturning the tables of the money changers in John 2:13-20:
The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.And He found in the temple those who were selling oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables. And He made a scourge of cords, and drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen; and He poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables; and to those who were selling the doves He said, “Take these things away; stop making My Father’s house a place of business.”His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for Your house will consume me.” - John 2:13-20 NASB
God's Righteous Indignation
Do not take advantage of the widow or the fatherless. If you do and they cry out to me, I will certainly hear their cry. My anger will be aroused, and I will kill you with the sword. - Exodus 22:21-24 NASB
God's Special Concern for the Vulnerable
There are provisions in the Bible for the poor and vulnerable which hold a special place in God's heart according to scripture. These are just a few examples:
You must not exploit a widow or an orphan. If you exploit them in any way and they cry out to me, then I will certainly hear their cry. My anger will blaze against you, and I will kill you with the sword. - Exodus 22:22-24 NLT
Do not take advantage of foreigners who live among you in your land. Treat them like native-born Israelites, and love them as you love yourself. Remember that you were once foreigners living in the land of Egypt. I am the LORD your God. Leviticus 19:33-34 NLT
Every seventh year each of you must free any fellow Hebrews who have sold themselves to you. After they have served you six years, you must let them go free.' Your ancestors, however, did not listen to me or pay attention to me. Jeremiah 34:14 NIV (Note some commentaries relate this relationship of "slave" to the current relationship between employer and employee).
Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the LORD. Romans 12:19 NLT
Reading the Hall of Faith in Hebrews is always encouraging, and remember that without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6):
Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see. Through their faith, the people in days of old earned a good reputation.
By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God’s command, that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen.
It was by faith that Abel brought a more acceptable offering to God than Cain did. Abel’s offering gave evidence that he was a righteous man, and God showed his approval of his gifts. Although Abel is long dead, he still speaks to us by his example of faith.
It was by faith that Enoch was taken up to heaven without dying—“he disappeared, because God took him.” For before he was taken up, he was known as a person who pleased God. And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.
It was by faith that Noah built a large boat to save his family from the flood. He obeyed God, who warned him about things that had never happened before. By his faith Noah condemned the rest of the world, and he received the righteousness that comes by faith.
It was by faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land that God would give him as his inheritance. He went without knowing where he was going. And even when he reached the land God promised him, he lived there by faith—for he was like a foreigner, living in tents. And so did Isaac and Jacob, who inherited the same promise. Abraham was confidently looking forward to a city with eternal foundations, a city designed and built by God.
The New American Standard Bible has long been my favorite translation. The study version is even better with abundant study aids to enrich your Bible study.
It was by faith that even Sarah was able to have a child, though she was barren and was too old. She believed that God would keep his promise. And so a whole nation came from this one man who was as good as dead—a nation with so many people that, like the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore, there is no way to count them.
All these people died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth. Obviously people who say such things are looking forward to a country they can call their own. If they had longed for the country they came from, they could have gone back. But they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.
The very first murder in the Bible was Cain killing his brother Abel out of jealousy. Abel's blood cried out to God from the ground (Genesis 4). My own brother's blood also cried out from the ground to God for justice, through not due to his brother.
"These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world." John 16:33 NASB
For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11 NIV
Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. Matthew 11:28-29 NASB
He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me. They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the LORD was my support. Psalm 18:16-18 NIV
Thus says the LORD, "Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight," declares the LORD. Jeremiah 9:23-24 NIV
Rest in the LORD and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who carries out wicked schemes. Cease from anger and forsake wrath; Do not fret; it leads only to evildoing. For evildoers will be cut off, But those who wait for the LORD, they will inherit the land. Psalm 37:7-9 NASB
Pursue justice, forsake vengeance, and remember that justice may be delayed for a time, but it is never truly denied. Our God is a righteous Judge.
Taking Vengence Into Your Own Hands
We have never advocated for vigilanty justice, nor do we ever intend to. This is another doctrine that gets mangled by abusers. Some abusive bullies will claim even calling the police during a physical attack is vengeful or unforgiving. Seeking justice in a legal manner in such a situation is not vengeance or unforgiving. Bible says:
Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, "VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY," says the Lord. Romans 12:19 NASB
Narcissism: Echo Apologetics 2019 is not associated with any licensed medical or mental health provider, and nothing found of their pages should be considered professional advice of any kind, should not replace the advice or prescribed treatment plan of a licensed medical or mental health provider, nor should it be considered one-on-one counseling. Narcissism: Echo Apologetics, like Narcissistic Personality Disorder Mother Facebook Resource Page refers the hundreds of people who have contacted us for advice to the licensed professionals we link to on our pages.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2019 Kelly Ann Christensen