What is a good definition of anger?

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Photo by Dayne Topkin on Unsplash

According to David Powlison in Good and Angry: Redeeming Anger, Irritation, Complaining, and Bitterness, anger is a negative evaluation, in which an individual shows active displeasure towards something important enough to care about. It was quite sobering when I reflected on this definition because in agreeing with Powlison’s definition I realized that my problem is too often I’m against all sorts of ideas, persons, reactions, issues that truly are not that important. Put another way, my judgment and values are often skewed.

Powlison goes on to say that a person who is angry 1) identifies some perceived wrong, 2) takes a stance of disapproval and feels displeasure and then 3) is moved to action — to say or do something about it (39). Again, as I reflected on the instances where I chose to get angry I realized my perceived wrongs are just that: my perception. My perception is off-base & me-centered. I need the truth-exposing, freedom-giving nature of God’s Word to show me where I’m wrong, because all too often I am.

Anger is a real problem with many people and if I’m being blatantly honest I’d say all people struggle with anger in some capacity. In a quickness to anger we’re showing ourselves distinctly different from God who is slow to anger. In addition, His anger is always righteous, true and good, whereas your anger and mine is not. So how do we walk in victory with this all-too common emotional struggle? Great question.

I would highly recommend the above linked resource, as well as Robert Jones’ book Uprooting Anger. You of course are welcome to leave a comment or ask a question on this site. I’d be happy to help if I can.

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