According to the Mayo Clinic, impulsive anger disorder is a pattern of behavior marked by “repeated, sudden episodes of impulsive, aggressive, violent behavior or angry verbal outbursts in which you react grossly out of proportion to the situation.” Its symptoms include rage, irritability, racing thoughts, and threats. What separates impulsive anger disorder from regular anger? Probably the frequency with which one experiences it and the context in which that anger is expressed.
David was understandably angry at being rebuffed after asking wealthy Nabal to share something with him during the sheep shearing festival. He and his men had provided a barrier that protected Nabal’s goods and servants from marauding Philistines (vv. 7–8). But Nabal also accused David of being little more than a runaway slave. Perhaps it was the insult, or maybe it was sparked by grief over the death of Samuel. Whatever the reason, David’s anger spiraled into a grim determination to answer with force (vv. 13, 21–22).
If it had not been for the quick thinking and wise words of Abigail, the result would have been disastrous for Nabal’s entire household and perhaps for David’s reputation as well. Not only did Abigail show herself to be a wise woman but a courageous one as well. She risked her life to protect her household and to remind David of God’s promises (vv. 28–31). Nabal was stricken when he heard what had happened, perhaps by a stroke or a heart attack. But verse 38 indicates that he died by the Lord’s hand. Abigail is the hero of this story. God used her to advise David and keep him from acting rashly. Anger is not always sinful, but when we act upon it without thinking, it often leads to sin.
>> Do you often react in anger? Ephesians 4:26–27 warns, “‘In your anger do not sin’: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.”