In his book The Other Side of Love (Moody), Gary Chapman describes anger as "a cluster of emotions involving such feelings as disappointment, hurt, rejection, embarrassment and other similar feelings. … It is the opposite of love. Love draws you toward the person; anger sets you against the person."
His description sounds about right for those of us who have struggled with anger in our marriages. But then Chapman goes on to write something downright startling: "Anger is not evil; anger is not sinful; anger is not part of our fallen nature; anger is not Satan at work in our lives. Quite the contrary. Anger is evidence that we are made in God's image; it demonstrates that we still have some concern for justice and righteousness despite our fallen estate."
So what are we to believe—that anger erects barriers between loved ones or that it's part of God's holy imprint on us? Both, says Chapman, a pastor, counselor and popular seminar leader. Knowing there had to be a lot more to it, we asked him to clarify the sources of anger, its effects on marriage and what we should do about it. Here's what he had to say.
You maintain that anger isn't the evil force we assume it to be, but it still wreaks a lot of havoc in marriage. What are we to make of that?
Well, let's be honest and recognize that anger, like every other gift from God, has been distorted by sin. That's what causes problems. It's that "distorted anger" that we don't know how to deal with.1