For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness. – 2 Peter 1:5–6
People who are angry without knowing why express their anger in unhealthy and destructive ways. This type of anger is called free-floating anger, because there’s not an obvious cause. This leaves the angry person unable to constructively express his or her anger because he or she can’t identify its cause, and for this reason it’s unpredictable. Neither the angry person nor his loved ones are quite sure why or what sets him off. They only know that sooner or later it’s going to flash. Author Karl Bednarik says this about free-floating anger:
“This is inarticulate anger because it does not even know what it wants, and when it reaches the point of action, the action directs itself at random targets, comes to light in mysterious acts of violence, outbursts of blind rage, incoherent criticism, aimless resentment, dreary grumbling, or else in apathetic, helpless, sulky resignation… And this explosion usually—in fact, nearly always—involves innocent people.“
This isn’t the anger seen in Jesus as He cleared the Temple. That anger rose from a specific stimulus and its point of action resulted in a strong but appropriate response.
If you struggle with free-floating anger you must identify its source in order to heal. Let your pastor or a professional counselor help you.
- Steve Arterburn
“Temper is the one thing you can’t get rid of by losing it. ” – Jack Nicholson (1937– )