Updated: Jul 6, 2021
Our Shield and Protector. For those of us who deal with the sin of anger, anger is often our shield of defense. When we are threatened, vulnerable, or exposed, anger is a seemingly effective protector. Our anger causes people to keep their distance or retreat. This momentary success of our anger seems effective, but our vulnerabilities and fears are left unattended. The cycle of anger continues as we feel isolation and exposure (that we often contribute to). Our feelings are set aside temporarily, but the anger we use for protection is sure to surface again and again.
Note the link between fear and anger. Fear says, "I want something desperately, and I am not getting it - I am undone." Anger says, I want something desperately, and I am not getting it - "I must have it."
How do we express our vulnerabilities and fears? Anger gives the false sense of control and strength, while fear seems to point to weakness. We do not want to appear weak, so anger is the solution we use to portray strength toward the threats we encounter. One reason many men struggle with anger is the fear of appearing weak. Anger gives a false sense of control and strength. Anxiety can also have the same euphoric effect, but that is a different subject.
What fears do we face? 1) Financial loss or insecurity. 2) Exposure and humiliation. 3) Old wounds being opened. 4) Being known and rejected. 5) Loss of love. 6) Aging or death. 7) Being ignored or overlooked. What are we trying to protect? How is anger working to resolve our issues and what additional consequences or problems do we face because we use anger as a defense mechanism?
This defensive response of anger points toward a deeper spiritual issue. It is an issue of the heart. What are we treasuring above all else? Is Jesus not enough for us (Matthew 6:19)? What or who is our master? What fear do we serve (Matthew 6:24)?
In the end, as God's children He promises to be our defense, our shield, our protector, our rock, our strong tower, and our bulwark. We are vulnerable and no amount of anger will change that reality. In our weakness God's strength is magnified. Do not deny or cover our vulnerability, but rather find our protection in God. He sets us free from our fears.
Note: When we suffer the anger of another, we need to consider that they may be in self-protection mode and we need to use caution, but continue to move in closer. Angry people do not need rejection or isolation, but rather they need community (the church) to love them through the process of identifying the root cause of their anger (possibly their fears) and how to find hope and comfort in God.