If you stick around for very long, you’re going to hear me say this a lot.
Anger is bad for you.
This week, the Wall Street Journal published an article advocating anger is bad for us. They cited a study done in 2002 in a Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin that supports the claim. And, they’re right.
Think about it: How do you feel after you vent frustration to a friend, family members, or even a coworker? Do you actually feel better? Or do you find that your anger and frustration actually compounded afterwards? It creates a terrible cycle and before you know it you’re locked in bitterness – and it can be so difficult to get out.
Turns out quieting our anger is what God wants. There is a belief in society as a whole and even (maybe especially) in the church crowd that anger is good for us. That WSJ article said Aristotle was the one who said venting was cathartic, but I think he fell short of the true effects of venting. You might feel immediate relief from finding a friend agree (at least in the moment) with what you are saying in anger. But it stirs you up and everyone around you – and that’s not good.
Some people I care a great deal about have fallen victim to this and I know I’m not alone. Hey, I count myself among this crowd. I have learned a lot over the last year about how much freedom comes from letting go. One of my favorites, Brant Hansen, published a book called Unoffendable on this very subject. His book is all about how we don’t have the right to be angry. Think about that for a minute. People often say, “Well, Jesus got angry at the moneylenders and knocked over all their tables!! If Jesus can do it and not sin, then it must be good for me!” Nope. We don’t know what to get angry about nor do we know how to handle it when we do get angry.
I have found it much healthier to not vent and to not get angry. It’s not who I naturally am and it was tough when I was trying to do it on my own. But, it turns out God listens when you pray. Today, I am much better off at keeping anger in check and I am absolutely happier for it.