What follows is a brief summary of “Anger in Marriage” by Winston T. Smith in the book On Anger.
Anger is never quite what it seems. It feels powerful, but it weakens you. It feels honest, but it is full of lies. It promises change, but it leaves you stuck. It seems simple, but it is complex and confusing.
Here are the effects of human anger:
- Anger seduces. It seduces in two ways: (1) there is a feeling that something important to you is being threatened and (2) there is a feeling that you are losing control over that thing.
- Anger blinds. Anger serves as a cover-up for other important things that need to be addressed and only reveals a small portion of our heart.
- Anger control. Anger controls the way you think, act and speak. Anger can become a god in a person’s life.
- Anger deceives. Anger serves as a camouflage that hides underlying realities and issues.
God’s anger is different from man’s anger. And it may surprise you that I did not write, “God is not angry.” God is indeed angry but His anger is motivated by something very different from ours. One simple set of statements encapsulates the reason why He is angry. Think of the message of the Bible in terms of a marriage; it starts w/a marriage that quickly deteriorates into adultery but the marriage does not end in separation but in a wedding.
- God is called the husband of Israel
- Christ is the bridegroom of the Church
- The Church is His bride
Five Qualities of God’s Anger:
- God’s anger is a redeeming anger. His love operates through His anger. Do you love even when you are angry? Does your anger separate you and your spouse or does it bring you together?
- God’s anger attacks what threatens the relationship. God’s anger addresses the real problem. What is your anger really all about?
- God’s anger is honest and invites honesty. Are you honest in your anger? Are you honest with yourself about who you are? Is there humility in your anger when you speak, knowing that, you also sin?
- God’s anger is patient and timely. God’s anger is seen in Adam/Eve betraying Him and yet the goal of His anger, though spoke of in Genesis 3, is seen thousands of years later in the cross of Christ.
- God’s anger is sacrificial. It costs Him something. It costs the sacrifice of His own Son. No greater sacrifice could be give than that.
What do you need to do? You need to be Christlike in your anger.
- Slow down in your anger. We need to slow down in our anger because we are so often mindless and unaware of what gods we serve in our anger and how it affects others.
- Narrow your anger. Your day-to-day relationships (marital, parental and employment) are not the real enemy. Satan is the real enemy. We need to fight him with faith in Jesus, the gospel and God’s Word. Attack the sin in your own heart not someone else.
- Be honest in your anger. If Satan and sin are our enemies, human words along are not going to resolve anger. We need to direct each other to the Lord. We need to remind each other of the Lord’s faithfulness and presence with us.
…have a lifelong task ahead of appreciating both God’s love and His anger on the cross. His actions call us to see ourselves as we really are, as needing God’s help, as needing His love, and being commanded then through His forgiveness, to live in love with others…do not believe anything about anger without first looking to the cross.