Mark 3:4-5 “And he saith unto them, Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill? But they held their peace. And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other.”
Emotions are an interesting study.
Some would say that to keep them under control; we must subdue the extreme. Others would allow the full immersion into the exploring of every emotion, allowing them to take us where they will. On the one side, you have a very dull, unexciting existence. On the other, a roller coaster ride whose peaks and valleys exhaust the soul.
There are emotions some say to refrain from feeling. Other emotions to avoid altogether. Still, others immerse and explore as Solomon did.
The phrase “whole heart” appears thirteen times in the Word of God. Each time it references these activities.
If we are to follow after God, we cannot do so with mediocrity or halfheartedly. We must be enveloped in the activity of praising God, seeking Him, and our obedience should be complete.
So, when I read that Jesus was angry, I took notice.
“And when he had looked round about on them with anger…”
Anger is one of those emotions we shy away from because of its destructive nature. Anger unabated has left a wake of destruction of property and people. Anger can be addictive. The brain emits dopamine in the case of extreme anger just as any drug and gives the person a euphoria, or ‘high’ just like a drug.
Seeing Jesus was angry, and knowing that He never sinned, there must be a way for us to deal with anger. The Word of God tells us:
Ephesians 4:26-27 “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil.”
We are commanded not to sin when we are angered. Furthermore, we are told not to allow the day to pass without dealing with it. Lastly, we are warned that failing to do so opens the door to the devil to give him a place to work.
Anger not dealt with will cause bitterness to grow. The fruit of bitterness is something to be avoided at all costs.
Hebrews 12:14-16 “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled; Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright.”
Anger often draws us into the courtroom of the mind. There, it begins to seek justification. Once justified, we feel the path to the extreme is open to us. We’ve become wounded, offended, abused, or rejected. We are victims seeking justice, retribution, or revenge.
Yet, we fail to bring God into the courtroom because He has a way of messing up our plans.
You may have heard the term, ‘righteous anger.’ Going to the Word of God, we find that a man after God’s own heart revealed to us how to properly deal with anger.
Psalm 139:21-22 “Do not I hate them, O LORD, that hate thee? and am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee? I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies.”
David’s anger had already grown to hatred, but, for a righteous cause. He was convinced that because they were against God, that they should be punished. The heart of David is revealed in the following verses.
Psalm 139:23-24 “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
David wanted God to counsel him on how he should deal with his hatred. We should take heed to follow his example when it comes to our emotions as well.
Other emotions, such as depression, work much the same as anger. In the case of extreme depression, the brain receives the same hit of dopamine that causes the same ‘high.’ Depression can be just as addictive as anger; and just as dangerous.
We must allow God, the Creator of our emotions, to teach us how to navigate the treacherous waters of such extreme emotions. Without Him, we will be tossed about and wind up shipwrecked somewhere or lost at sea.
Allow God to be your compass back to a life of peace, joy, and love. It will not always be that way, but knowing that we have God to guide us when the storm comes is comforting.