Definitive and distorted anger

By Dave Henning / July 15, 2016

“Two kinds of anger exist: definitive and distorted.”- Gary Chapman

” ‘Anger’ is one letter short of ‘danger’.”- Author unknown

In Chapter 4 (“When Anger is Wrong”) of Anger, Dr. Gary Chapman states that, due to original sin, we  have the “tendency to take every good gift of God and distort it into something perverse.”  Specifically, Satan loves to pervert the divine purpose of anger.  Consequently, Satan considers this tactic one of his most successful.

One of Satan’s most powerful strategies functions to convince us that all of our anger is of equal value.  As a result, this deception leads us to conclude that we always have the right to feel angry.  However, the fact remains that much of our anger is distorted.  Dr. Chapman differentiates between definitive and distorted anger.

Definitive anger is:

  • born of wrongdoing
  • the only kind of anger God ever experiences
  • valid anger

Distorted anger is:

  • triggered by any number of things that have nothing to do with any moral transgression
  • a response to inconvenience, irritation of an emotional hot-spot, or a reaction to exhaustion or stress
  • not valid anger

The biblical account of Naaman illustrates that people can recognize distorted anger and make positive responses.  Most noteworthy, Naaman experienced strong but distorted anger.  When confronted by his servants, Naaman stopped his rage and listened to reason.

Naaman’s positive response to his servants’ admonition raises two questions.  First of all, how do we identify when our anger is distorted?  In addition, how do we process distorted anger?  This chapter addresses the first question.  Gary answers the second and more challenging question in the following chapter.

Today’s question: How would you characterize your responses to your ministry downsizing or vocation loss?  Did youexhibit definitive or distorted anger?  Please share.

Coming Monday: the new Short Meditation, “God’s recreation”

Tomorrow’s blog: “Identifying distorted anger”



About the author

Dave Henning

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