I watched two cars almost collide as one turned into the other’s lane without seeing the car occupying it. The violated driver went ballistic—honking, yelling, and using inappropriate hand signals.
Driving has to be one of the great revelations of human nature. Yet road rage is no longer “all the rage.” Enter air rage, bike rage, computer rage and even wrap rage (Yes, W-R-A-P, as in those plastic containers that keep you from laying hands on your new purchase cause you can’t get it open).
Anger is by definition “an emotion related to one’s psychological interpretation of having been offended, wronged or denied and a tendency to undo that by retaliation.”
There’s an ocean of angry feelings in our world. We may try to stuff them, but what we stuff will eventually come out in some form of rage or perhaps even disease. If we don’t learn to communicate our feelings responsibly, we will communicate them irresponsibly, hurting ourselves and others.
The David of the Bible had some pretty intense anger issues. At times he expressed a desire to see his enemies consumed by God’s wrath (Psalm 59:13).
David was young, brave, loved by the people and honored by God. Unfortunately, this brought against him the jealousy of the king, Saul, who saw David as a threat to his throne and in his insecurity decided to kill him. So David is angry… and who wouldn’t be? But he freely expresses his thoughts and his feelings of anger to God. That’s was key! David’s response to Saul in Psalm 59 becomes a step-by-step outline of what to do with anger.
Step #1—Turn to God for help. David pleads—“Deliver me from my enemies, O my God; defend me from those who rise up against me. Deliver me from the workers of iniquity, and save me from blood thirsty men” (Psalm 59:1, 2).
Whatever your anxieties and trials, spread out your case before the Lord. Your spirit will be braced for endurance. The weaker and more helpless you know yourself to be, the stronger you will become in His strength. The heavier your burdens, the more blessed the rest in casting them upon the Burden Bearer.
Step 2— Explain your situation to God. Why are you upset? What happened? David said: “For Look, they lie in wait for my life; the mighty gather against me; not for my transgression, nor for my sin, O Lord. They run and prepare themselves through no fault of mine. Awake to help me, and behold” (verses 3, 4).
Walk through it point by point. Talking to someone who will listen brings a lot of peace. And with God it’s not just anybody but it’s Somebody who can make a difference!
Step #3—Let go. Give God your anger. Explode it out—“You therefore, O Lord God of hosts, the God of Israel, awake to punish all the nations; do not be merciful to any wicked transgressor” (verse 5). “For the sin of their mouth and the words of their lips, let them even be taken in their pride, and for the cursing and lying which they speak. Consume them in wrath, consume them, that they may not be; and let them know that God rules in Jacob to the ends of the earth” (Verse 12-13).
Tell God exactly how you’re feeling. Why? Because if you don’t explode to Him, you’re going to explode on somebody else!
Step #4—Praise God! “But I will sing of Your power; Yes, I will sing aloud of Your mercy in the morning; for You have been my defense and refuge in the day of my trouble. To You, O my strength, I will sing praises; for God is my defense, the God of my mercy (verses 16, 17).
Let your mind be filled with praise rather than anger. Give your anger to God in exchange for His peace and joy.
David was angry at what happened to him, but he channeled that anger toward God. And there are a lot of us that are angry with the injustice taking place on Planet Earth. One of the ways that we can channel that anger is to connect with God like David did and opt out of all the rage.
The Bible says, “be angry and sin not. Don’t let the sun go down on your anger.” Don’t stuff your anger and go to bed thinking that everything is going to be okay in the morning. Turn it over to God. Tell him about your situation, your feelings, ask Him for help and let it go.
Exchange your rage for God’s praise.
Listen to James Rafferty’s message on this topic here.
James has spent more than 30 years preaching the gospel around the world in revival seminars and evangelistic meetings. He and his wife Risë have two adult children, Jeiel and Kierra.