As a child, the eldest of four girls, I was taught that nice girls are never to get mad. We were not allowed to show anger; if we did, we were punished. Being restrained from, and being punished for, showing a natural, human emotion did not seem to make sense, but when your parents tell you something it is believed without doubt. Learning to express anger in a healthy way is difficult for those who were not encouraged or allowed to be real monstruos marinos.
The bible says, “Be angry and sin not’. Many interpret this to mean we are never to get angry, but that is not what it says. It actually says, “Be angry!” God never meant for us to not get angry. He created us with emotions; He knows our frame. He follows up with a condition, “…but sin not.” This should indicate to us that it is OK to be angry as long as we don’t sin in the expression of that anger.
How do we be angry and sin not? We first must be sure that when we are angered it is for the proper reasons, and there is no selfish agenda on our part. Our anger should have the right focus. Anger aroused because of injustice, abuse, unfairness, and evil is rightly focused anger. We should be angry when we see evil perpetrated upon another or when people are cheated.
Secondly, we must exercise self-control when angry. Our emotions must be restrained so as not to cause harm. In other words, we are to control our temper, not let our temper control us. When confronting the things that incite anger in us, we must focus our emotion on the source of the anger with the intent of remedy. There should not be ‘collateral damage’ from our anger which hurts our loved ones because of our lack of restraint.
Next, our temper must be for a short period of time and not linger indefinitely. The bible also says, “Do not let the sun go down on your anger.” God is wise and knows what is good for us; thus, this command. Living in a state of anger for more than a short duration can cause unrest and stress that can lead to disease. Get it out and get over it.
Lastly, our expressed anger must end in the proper result. It should serve to accomplish improvement in lives – ours and others. Some of the greatest progress made in the world came about because someone got angry and cared enough to do something about it.