In the story of David and Goliath, we don’t see a lot of anger coming from David. What we do see is a lot of angry people around him. One such individual, as we have seen, was his older brother, who “burned with anger at him” (1 Samuel 17:28). Eliab should have been supportive of David when he arrived at the battlefront. But the anger in heart had been simmering for some time, waiting for the opportunity to erupt. And erupt it did.
Anger isn’t necessarily wrong in and of itself. The Bible reveals that there is a time to be angry and a time to rightly express your anger (see James 1:19). Jesus even felt anger at times (see Mark 3:5). However, anger becomes a giant when it works its way into your life and simmers under the surface, just as Eliab’s simmered under the surface.
One way to know this is happening is if you feel angry about something that never happened. Maybe you thought a friend did something against you, but in reality he or she never did. Your anger was wrongly felt. Or perhaps you have a genuine reason to be angry but express it in the wrong ways. Like Eliab, your pent-up anger rages out and damages people. Or perhaps you have rightly felt anger but fail to express it. Repressing your anger poses huge health risks and is truly one of the most destructive things you can do.
So, how do you overcome this giant called anger? How do you experience the victory that Jesus has already won over it? It begins by recognizing lasting change seldom arrives instantaneously. More often, God morphs your life little by little. The key to real change in your spiritual life is to consistently fill yourself up with faith—and continually link up with what Jesus is doing within you. Read God’s Word and substitute your anger with the truths you find there. Replace the angry conversations you are having in your mind with prayers for the people who have wronged you. Align yourself with God’s will and invite Jesus to have full reign in your heart.
It helps in this regard to remind yourself that you aren’t perfect. God forgave you, so you can forgive others. God made peace with you through Jesus on the cross, so when you are angry, rally back around the cross. Understand that God is your avenger, and he has freed you to make peace with others. Recognize that what he did for you is greater than what anyone could ever do against you. By Christ’s power, it is possible to forgive those with whom you are angry—and release the pain that has been poisoning your life.
It is also important to remember you are a son or daughter of God. Remind yourself of this fact daily. You may have been rejected by others and made to feel insignificant, but in God’s eyes you are loved, safe, secure, and significant. Let Jesus’ voice speak above the other voices that are trying to be heard in your life.
In the end, taking down the giant of anger is really about letting go of control. So do as David did and focus on God rather than the people who have wronged you. As you do, you will be freed to move forward in God’s power and do what he has called you to do.
What would you say is a healthy way of dealing with your anger? What is your usual way of dealing with anger? (Note that if you’re never angry, that’s a way of dealing with it!)
What helps you know that you are a loved son or daughter of God? What does it mean to think of God as your avenger? How does this help you not hold a wrong against another person?