• Where does it come from?
• How does it express itself?
• How does it affect us?
• How do we deal with it?
rage /rāj/ noun 1. great or violent anger: raving fury: great force or violence.
I think it’s fair to say that rage has its origin from unattended anger. We all experience anger at different points in our lives. Anger is an emotion that communicates to us that we have been violated, that something is wrong, or that our boundaries have been crossed. Usually it takes years of ignoring anger, that it eventually turns into rage; it is basically the last stage of anger before destruction.
Did you know that some people have been enraged since they were infants? I know, it’s a bit scary.
Children don’t usually have the right vocabulary to what they feel and their negative emotions eventually build up. So, without knowing what the emotion is, they respond in anger to people who have hurt them in their vulnerable, childhood state. How does this happen? For example, when a child has a need, but Mom and Dad keep ignoring this need, the child’s heart will be wounded and they will respond in anger. There are also some whose parents were just plain neglectful, rejecting, or abusive. These parents made their children believe that their pain is irrelevant and an inconvenience. So, how do these children survive the pain? They carry it with them until it just becomes unbearable.
How have these experiences shaped the way these people process anger? First, their hearts are stuck in a state of anger. As a result, they believe that their needs will never be met. They then get tired of being angry, and finally they respond in rage hoping to end the cycle.
You think the person with road rage is really angry that YOU cut them off? It is something much deeper than what you see on the surface. When you see a person react like this, they become a tool in the enemy’s hands. Satan makes it easy for them to engage in violent behavior and since his mission is to destroy, this person becomes destructive.
Genesis 4:3-10 NASB
When it was time for the harvest, Cain presented some of his crops as a gift to the Lord. Abel also brought a gift—the best portions of the firstborn lambs from his flock. The Lord accepted Abel and his gift, but he did not accept Cain and his gift. This made Cain very angry, and he looked dejected. “Why are you so angry?” the Lord asked Cain. “Why do you look so dejected? You will be accepted if you do what is right. But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master.” One day Cain suggested to his brother, “Let’s go out into the fields.”And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother, Abel, and killed him. Afterward the Lord asked Cain, “Where is your brother? Where is Abel?” “I don’t know,” Cain responded. “Am I my brother’s guardian?” But the Lord said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground!
When Cain’s offering was disregarded, his anger took him to a place of murdering his brother. It was the need to be accepted that made him sin. If you have hatred in your heart the Bible says that you have already murdered.
1 John 3:15 everyone who hates his brother is a murderer; and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.
When people are in destructive mode, like Jesus said, they will do their father’s bidding instead of The Father in heaven’s bidding. What does that mean? Every time a person functions in rage, they’ve lost control of themselves and are in the hands of Satan as a tool for destruction. They can’t hear wise counsel because they are seeking vengeance. God says that vengeance is His and we should leave it up to Him. But Satan makes people behave in ways that insinuate that God does not exist. These people try to find a means to avenge themselves because they think, after all – God is invisible, but their pain is not.
Rage destroys everything it touches: from self-esteem, identity, friendships, family relationships, jobs, trust, marriages, social privileges, and even freedom. Just think of how many people have ended up in prison because of their rage.
So, what should you do when you feel enraged?
1. Acknowledge that you have a problem with rage and that you’ve not been able to manage it in a healthy way. Without this important step, it will be like someone convincing you of a problem that you don’t have. It has to be your choice to make changes because the work will be very deep to change course.
2. Allow yourself to see the destruction that has resulted from your behavior and actions. Be honest and see how the depths of your destruction has affected other’s lives.
3. Identify the needs that have not been met. These are the areas in which your heart is seeking justice. Acknowledge the people that have failed to meet these needs. This will help you to forgive and let things go.
4. Learn to connect with your anger in a healthy way. Some people move from one extreme to another. That is – from not showing any anger at all to being fully enraged. Identify what needs you need to meet as you try to manage your anger.
5. Embrace God’s way of justice. He is the only one that will execute the perfect justice. This means truly understanding God as a righteous Judge. It is very important that you understand this attribute of God in this unjust world. Finally, be encouraged. As you continue on this journey, you will make mistakes, but it’s through these mistakes that you will learn to love yourself, be compassionate to others, and eventually learn to depend on God for strength through it all.