It’s normal. But many people struggle with a constant feeling of anger and rage, either towards themselves or others. When left unchecked, these feelings can lead us to do things that we later regret. People in addiction recovery often struggle with anger because they’re ashamed or upset at themselves for their past behavior. As a Christian drug rehabilitation center, we understand that to overcome guilt and shame, you must address feelings like anger head-on. To help those in recovery from addiction better cope with their anger, we’re sharing scripture on anger, including examples we can learn from.
According to the bible, anger occurs when our desires rule us. These desires can include love, fear, hope, longing, respect, control, and more. When any desire, even well-intentioned ones, takes precedence over our desire to please God, things get out of hand.
When our desires take over and aren’t met, we become angry. So basically, the root of our anger is our desires. James 4:1 to 3 reads, “What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.”
James had the right idea. Here, he was pointing out that when our desires are not fulfilled the way we want them to be, we act out in anger. In James 1: 13 to 16, it’s also written, “Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am being tempted by God,’ for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire, when it has conceived, gives birth to sin, and sin, when it is fully grown, brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers.”
It’s common for people to place the blame on God and others when they’re angry. “Why are you doing this to me? What did I do to deserve this?” Oftentimes, we’re the instigators of our problems. As James wrote, God never tempts us, but rather it’s our desires that sway our emotions and behaviors.
He wants us to understand that acting out in anger will often end in sin and “great foolishness.” People have been hurt by their loved ones, lied to, and even killed as a result of anger and rage. In the case of a person who struggled with addiction, anger can easily lead to relapse.
To better understand this emotion and how it can be dealt with properly, below are multiple examples of anger in the bible, starting from Cain and Abel’s story and including the numerous times that Jesus himself became angry and how he dealt with it.
Cain was one of the first people we’re told about who struggled with anger in the bible. “Then the LORD said to Cain, ‘Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.’ Now Cain said to his brother Abel, ‘Let’s go out to the field.’ While they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.” Genesis 4:6-8 NIV
What preceded this conversation between God and Cain was the fact that Cain did not give the proper offering to God, but his brother Abel did. Has this ever occurred in your life? Perhaps a co-worker did a better job on a company project which resulted in you becoming angry or jealous, maybe even acting out on these feelings?
Maybe you’ve even directed your anger toward God. Learning how to deal with these emotions during addiction treatment is crucial to recovery.
Now back to the interaction between God and Cain. God asked Cain why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? God then offered what I feel was some very wise Fatherly advice “But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”
God was warning Cain - if you do not get a handle on things, disaster awaits you. Instead of heeding God's warning, Cain completely disregards the advice and brings his brother into the field to kill him! As a result of doing the wrong thing to begin with - which translated into self-righteous anger - Cain completely ignored what God told him to do, and the result is a tragic one - the first murder ever recorded in scripture.
What can we learn from this scripture about anger? Learning what God's will is and aligning our life with what He desires for us could help us avoid a lot of unnecessary suffering.
For someone battling a drug or alcohol addiction, entering a facility such as our Christian drug rehab could help change their life for the better. Additionally, while anger is a natural emotion – and one that even Jesus experienced multiple times in the bible, it’s what we do with our anger and how we respond that will make all the difference.
We often regard anger as a sinful emotion that we should avoid, but our anger isn’t the problem. Rather, it’s how we cope with our anger that determines whether or not we’ve sinned. In fact, there are things in this world that should make us angry, and that’s okay.
Some things are just not right and don’t align with what God wants for the world. Commonly referred to as righteous anger, this type of anger is good and fair to experience. It’s the same anger that God feels when he sees the evil that attacks the world. However, while righteous anger is good, we should not sin in our anger.
This is how Jesus worked. When he got angry over the evil he saw in this world, he didn’t stoop to its level. So what made Jesus angry?
This scripture on anger reminds us that anger isn’t the problem. It’s how we deal with it. Even Jesus became angry, but all for good reasons. And even then, he didn’t respond in sin. In moments when we feel as if we want to deal with things our way, let’s turn to these examples as reminders of how to properly cope with our emotions.
As we previously mentioned, Jesus was angry with the Pharisees due to the hardness of their hearts (Mark 3:5), yet He was not vengeful or hateful. Rather, He carried on his work of healing and allowed them to absorb what they may. Even so, many anger issues in the bible were followed by sinful actions and behaviors, which led to a whole other mess of problems.
If you’re struggling with anger in addiction recovery, you may feel angry towards yourself or your loved ones for not being there to support you. You may also have been struggling with anger since you first started using drugs or drinking, and now it’s time to manage it.
If you’re in this situation, below are some bible verses about healing anger that can mentally and spiritually bring you back to focusing on God and slowly help you overcome this emotion.
Although there’s plenty of scripture on anger, it’s not enough to just read these verses. You have to find ways to apply them to your life. For instance, Proverbs 14:16-17 reads, “The wise are cautious and avoid danger….” This means that you need to be wise about the situations you put yourself in.
So, if you received alcohol addiction treatment and you’re struggling with the desire to drink, don’t go to a club or a party where you know alcohol will be abundant. While it’s not guaranteed to be easy, God can help you overcome anything.
To complement our faith-based addiction recovery programs, we also offer bible studies for recovery because we know how destructive this emotion can be when left unchecked. While scripture on anger management can be helpful in the recovery process, it may not be enough.
For information on our Christian addiction recovery services and how we can help you or a loved one get sober, call Faith in Recovery today at 888-280-4763 or send us your contact information, and one of our admission specialists will reach out to you.