“Anger: Three Historically-Enduring Characteristics”

September 28, 2010

When we look at the beginning of the Bible, we find that anger was not far behind the first sin of mankind.  In Genesis 3, Adam and Eve fall prey to pride and sin infects the human condition from that time forward.  One chapter later, their oldest son, Cain, murders his brother, Abel, out of rage.  So, it’s no wonder the two—sin and anger—have been closely related throughout history ever since.  (I will deal with this connection further in a future article.)

Before moving on, though, we do well to take a closer look at Cain’s anger to see what we can learn in regard to the ongoing character of anger.  And, we note at least three things that have been true of every instance of anger since: 1) Anger is self-centered; 2) Anger is irrational; and 3) Anger is explosive.

First, anger brings about a self-centered reaction.  As Cain would not listen to the Lord in Genesis 4:6-7, so angry people can focus only on what they want and find it impossible to see beyond the end of their noses.

Second, an angry person doesn’t think clearly.  The reason is that anger is a very strong emotion.  It clouds the ability to think of even the most otherwise logical people.  When the heat (i.e., emotional—in this case, anger) level goes up, the light (i.e., insight, based in clear, logical thinking) level goes down.

Third, an angry person is, at the very least, like a firecracker going off.  Most of the time, though, the angry explosion is more like a stick of dynamite, or even a megaton warhead.  And, like a bomb, the destruction is often widespread, including huge long-term consequences of what is often a very brief reaction.

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