Good and Angry: Four Anger Myths

They may not be many in number, but they do exist: Christians who are thoroughly confused about anger. During counseling, reading, and sermon-listening, four myths have come to my attention repeatedly. Here’s a brief, non-expert—but hopefully thought-provoking—response.

Myth 1: If you don’t let it out, anger will drive you crazy.

This popular notion probably has its roots in Freudian psychoanalysis. Freud’s million-dollar idea (or at least the pop-psych version of it) was that the human subconscious sort of reroutes “repressed” emotions into psychoses that seem unrelated to their causes. Pent up anger can eventually make you think you’ve been abducted by aliens or that people you know and love are afflicted by a strange disease only you know about and that you have to shoot them to cure them. So, to be healthy, we must express not repress.

This kind of thinking about anger is common in popular film and television. If only the serial killer had openly expressed his anger, he would never have become such a monster. Cue commercial.

Sometimes Christians view anger this way as well. “I just need to vent,” they say.

But if we remove the Freudian assumptions, the idea that it’s healthy to openly express anger looks highly questionable. Is there really a place anger goes to lurk when we’re not feeling it? Certainly our thoughts and beliefs live in memory, but what if anger—and other emotions—really exist only when we’re feeling them?

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Why Am I So Angry?

Editor’s Note: The following is reprinted with permission from the book Why Am I So Angry? For more information about the book, please contact Iron Sharpeneth Iron Publications.

by Debi Pryde

Where do anger and fighting among people originate? What causes strife? James answers these questions in James 4:1, and his answer is swift and simple, but not exactly what we like to hear. The Bible clearly declares that the problem lies within us, not without. James makes us understand that anger originates in our corrupted human nature and is the angeroutward manifestation of inward self-motivated desires. “But,” you might object, “what about righteous anger? And isn’t anger just an emotion? Surely being angry can’t be wrong or selfish when someone has just wronged you or treated you with cruelty! Wouldn’t expressions of anger be justified in such cases?”

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