What Are Visible Signs Of An Angry Spirit?

 signals of an inner struggle with wrath

Anger is hard to hide. A person who struggles with unresolved anger and wrath will demonstrate a variety of behaviors that indicate his inner battle. Even though an angry person might deny having a “problem” with anger, those closest to him or her—spouse, children, and coworkers—will attest to seeing the evidences of anger in his or her behavior.

As you read the following list, consider your own life and discern if you often demonstrate a wrathful spirit.

  • Irritability

    Anger causes a person to become irritated with situations and circumstances that would not bother him otherwise.

  • Impatience

    Anger reduces tolerance for the weaknesses and limitations of others. An angry person often demands an instant response to his instructions, and he becomes upset if his instructions are not understood and applied.

  • Raised Voice

    Angry impatience is usually expressed by a harsh, loud voice.

  • Glaring Eyes

    Anger affects the facial features and empowers a penetrating glare, pronounced frown, furrowed brows, tense facial muscles, flushed complexion, prominent veins, and enlarged pupils.

  • Hurtful Words

    An angry heart will spew out unkind words of complaint, hatred, ridicule, and rejection.

  • Explosive Actions

    Anger puts extra force into simple actions like closing a door or setting something down. Haphazardly throwing things or pushing things around often indicates unresolved anger.

  • Relational Breakdown

    An angry person will usually close his heart to those who offend or hurt him. This rejection is demonstrated by silence, poor eye contact, or avoidance.

  • Attitudes of Superiority

    Wounded pride can stir up contentious anger that motivates a person to challenge the opinions, ideas, or instructions of others, especially of those in authority.

  • Physical Tension

    Anger causes the jaw muscles to tighten, which brings great pressure on the teeth when they come together and leads to clenching or grinding one’s teeth. Anger also causes a more rapid heartbeat, thus requiring more oxygen through heavy breathing. Anger’s release of adrenaline causes the heart to pump faster and veins to become enlarged.

Wrath and bitterness are not pleasing to God, and the presence of anger should serve as an alarm that something is wrong. Feelings of anger should lead us to respond to a situation or offense with wisdom and forgiveness, so that we do not develop an angry, vengeful spirit.

"Be angry, and sin not. Let not the sun go down upon your anger. Give not place to the devil.....And grieve not the holy Spirit of God: whereby you are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and anger, and indignation, and clamour, and blasphemy, be put away from you, with all malice. And be ye kind one to another; merciful, forgiving one another, even as God hath forgiven you in Christ." (Ephesians 4:26–27, 30–32)

 Church Fathers thoughts on anger

A brother asked Abba Isidore the priest, "Why are the demons so frightened of you?" The old man said to him, "Because, ever since the day I began practicing ascesis, I have striven to prevent anger from reaching my lips. (The Desert Fathers)

Do not befoul your intellect by clinging to thoughts filled with anger and sensual desire. Otherwise you will lose your capacity for pure prayer and fall victim to the demon of listlessness. (St. Maximos the Confessor,First Century on Love no.49)

For nothing is more grievous than wrath and fierce anger. This renders men both puffed up and servile, by the former making them ridiculous, by the other hateful; and bringing in opposite vices, pride and flattery, at the same time. But if we will cut off the greediness of this passion, we shall be both lowly with exactness, and exalted with safety. For in our bodies too all distempers arise from excess; and when the elements thereof leave their proper limits, and go on beyond moderation, then all these countless diseases are generated, and grievous kinds of death. Somewhat of the same kind one may see take place with respect to the soul likewise (St. John Chrysostom Homilies on the Gospel of Matthew)

My children, desire to purify your hearts from envy and from anger with each other, lest death should overcome you, and you will be counted among the murderers. For whosoever hates his brother, kills a soul. (Abba Anthony the Great.)

What are visible signs of an angry spirit?