Aggression vs. Anger
A lot of Christian men have lost touch with their aggressive side. They get so caught up in being “Christ-like” and loving their neighbor, but they forget that there are numerous instances where Jesus was angry and did not “turn the other cheek”. Instead, He chose to use His anger for the right reasons.
One example of Jesus’ aggression is when He cleared the greedy money-changers out of the temple.
“And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers' money, and overthrew the tables” -John 2:15 (KJV)
Jesus literally got mad, kicked everyone out, and flipped over tables.
Now, I’m not saying that it would be beneficial for Christians to go around, flipping things over and yelling at people. Absolutely not.
However, in our pursuit of being more like Christ, we should be capable of using aggression in a way that gets our point across and is still able to glorify the name of God.
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Before I go any further, let’s establish a difference between “anger” and “aggression”. Anger is defined as “a strong feeling of annoyance, displeasure, or hostility.”
Aggression, however, is “hostile or violent behavior or attitudes toward another.”
While neither of these definitions sound particularly inviting, aggression has a purpose. It is a vector, pointed at something, towards a particular goal, whether that be a person, thing, or ideology.
Anger, however, is all scalar. It is magnitude with no direction, a state of being upset at everything and anything.
We can use aggression to our benefit. We can pursue our goals with aggression and will likely achieve them. If we pursue goals with anger, then we will become spiteful, and our chances of success are greatly diminished.
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There are a few ways that one can learn how to channel anger into aggression, so that it can be used for the right purpose. The following list is not all inclusive, but they are all ways that I have tried and tested. They have worked for me, and I am betting that they will work for you as well.
At some point in your journey through the any of the following activities, you are guaranteed to get frustrated. At that point, pay special attention to how you react, and how you use that anger, whether it helps your intentions or takes away from them. Apply your observations and findings to other aspects of your life, and you will learn how to use aggression, rather than anger.
The first (and my personal favorite) method would be through combat sports. Wrestling, jiu-jitsu, karate, MMA. It doesn’t matter what style you choose. Take the frustration that comes with fighting and use it to move your opponent. Take them down, submit them.
Another would be lifting weights. At some point, you are going to hit a plateau, and there will be a weight that you cannot lift. Use that frustration to get bigger and stronger, so that you can come back next time and lift the weight.
The third method, which puts me at risk of reaching full “goo-roo” status, is meditation. Say what you want, but it works. Turn off the music and background noise and sit with your own thoughts. This does not have to be a conscious act, but it can be. Also, prayer fully qualifies as meditation. Take all of the things that upset you and think about the positives that can come from the situation. Forgive people who have wronged you. Take it all to the Lord.
A person can do any one of these things and be a better person because of it. However, for maximum results, I recommend implementing all three methods into your life.