Faith

Which is stronger, love or anger?

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I saw a Facebook post the other day in which someone wanted to know which was stronger, love or anger?

Most of the responses included just one of the two words, and it was interesting to note that women often considered love to be stronger, while men thought anger came out on top.

The more I thought about it, I could see both emotions were equal in their ability to elicit a response. For me, it is hard to say whether anger is stronger than love, or vice versa, as I am capable of expressing and receiving both.

I guess it depends upon the context.

Anger can propel someone to action, but many times love will cause people to make sacrifices, which also involves action in a different direction. One is focused on self, and the other denies self to focus on others.

Anger rises when we see someone we love being taken advantage of or hurt by someone else. But, responding in anger to get revenge works only to throw fuel on an already heated situation.

Anger can demand urgent attention and an immediate response, but love involves a steady drip of prolonged attention.

I could get angry with my child and certainly vocalize my displeasure in a way that makes the child cringe. Running in a street, kicking a dog or pushing a sibling down the stairs would elicit an angry response.

But, over time, it is the small displays of love, mercy and grace which will have more impact on that child. Yet, dad’s crazy, angry response to any situation will no doubt be embellished over the years until it become family folklore.

People can do stupid things and say silly things out of anger, but the same is true of love — just ask any teenage boy.

When upset with someone, I am perfectly capable of transforming my tongue into a dangerous flamethrower as I seek to exert power over the other person. However, I can do stupid things in love, too. The entire diamond industry exists to convince men to spend thousands of dollars on a rock the size of a pee to “show his love.”

In the short term, anger may be stronger in a physical sense as we throw rocks to destroy someone or something, but in the long term, building a life using blocks of love is far more enduring.

The Bible makes it clear that love is much more important than anger.

Proverbs 15:1 notes that a gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 27:4 describes anger as being “cruel and overwhelming.” Proverbs 30:33 explains that stirring up anger produces strive.

However, in 1 Corinthians 13:1, Paul explains that love is indispensable. He writes, “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.”

Righteous indignation way be justified at times, but you will never, ever regret reacting to any situation in love.

It is unlikely that we have ever heard someone say, “We were arguing and things got out of hand and I told her that I loved her, and forgave her. Then, I asked her to forgive me. Boy, now that things have settled down, I see that was a completely inappropriate response. I should apologize.”

Anger will often rip apart, cause division and regret. Words said in anger may cut so deeply the wound never completely heals. Most children carry the wounds of unintentional, but hurtful words spoken by a parent well into adulthood.

Yet, love heals and binds. It brings sunshine to a darkened heart. Words spoken in love at just the right time can alter someone’s destiny.

So, back to the original question as to which is stronger, anger or love?

Both are equally as potent, yet anger often comes with regret, while love rarely does.

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Greg Gerber

A native of Wisconsin who moved to Arizona in 2009, Greg Gerber is a DODO -- Dad of Daughters Only -- to three grown daughters. He worked as a journalist for many years before pursuing a career as a faith-based writer, author, coach and speaker. Greg is the author of Pornocide: How Lust is Killing Your Faith, Stealing Your Joy and Destroying Your Life.

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