Last week, we looked just a bit at fear. This week, we want
to talk about anger. You know what anger is. It’s that seething beneath the
skin that gives us ulcers and heart issues and increases our blood pressure.
It’s that last straw that regrettably causes us to lose control of our words
Do you see the progression? It starts with seething and smoldering. The Bible
uses the word kindled. Jacob’s anger kindled again Rachel in Genesis 30:2. Balaam’s
anger kindled against the donkey in Numbers 22:27. Saul’s anger kindled against
his son, Jonathan. And what happened when their kindling reach combustion
point? They lashed out. James 3:5 warns us that a little kindling grows into a
Uncontrolled anger is destructive, and even letting it
seethe damages our health. Denying it allows pressure to build up until vicious
steam escapes scalding everyone around us and leaving a gaping hole in our
hearts. It is based on pride. James 1:20 says our anger does not work for our
good or the good of the Lord.
Just as God knew we would fear, he also knows we will
experience anger. He experiences anger. Jesus experienced anger. It’s not the
experience where the danger lies; it is in the outgrowth. Fear binds us. Anger exposes us.
Fear and anger plague the world around us. We see it on the
news, running in our streets, and motivating and ruling in government. Society is
consumed by these two. And all the while, people are calling out for change. God
is so aware of the ramifications of anger that he warns us not to make
friendships with angry people because their attitude rubs off on us, and we
will be trapped. (Proverbs 22:24)
So, what is the
solution for anger?
You might be surprised!
It is forgiveness. Anger is sourced in an annoyance to self. Something
or someone gets in our way. That driver impedes our path. That person disagrees
with our opinion. Those rules make it more difficult to reach my goal.
Frustration sets in, it kindles (and sometimes too quickly), and we begin to
seethe, or we explode.
Anger says, “I am the only one that matters. My needs come
first.” It ignores the fact that others live on this planet, and experience the
same frustrations with us, as we do with them. Anger holds such a high opinion
of itself that no one else’s opinion matters. Anger is self-focused and seeks
to remove anything that gets in the way.
To forgive that driver, you have to say you have done the
same thing at times, and forgive his mistake.
To forgive that person who disagrees with you, you need to
respect their right to have an opposite opinion, and forgive them for being
wrong! No! I’m joking!
But to think that my opinion is the only right opinion is
faulty. If I like blue and you like green, it is only a personal choice. It is
nothing to come to blows over. Why not be
the adult in the situation
and just agreed to disagree. There is no need to
break friendships or marriages over opinions. We are to live in grace instead
To get angry at the speed limit or the red-tape of life is
to fight a losing battle. We are best to accept that laws are necessary for our
safety, and the red-tape of life has grown from the mistakes of others and
sometimes ourselves. “To err is human; to forgive, divine.” So, forgive the humanity
of those around you and recognize you are human, too. Humble yourself. It won’t
Do you struggle with
Have a short fuse? Smolder and Seethe? Let’s look at some practical
things you can do, but don’t forget, the most important thing you can do is
agree with God—uncontrolled anger is sin.
- When you
first feel that twinge of anger, stop
and ask where it is coming from. What spurred it? Were you caught off guard? Were
you tired or hungry? Were you rushed? Find the source and get things into
perspective. You got angry. Why? How does the other person feel? Can you come
with a quiet word to diffuse the situation? Are you better to remain silent?
- Quickly, count
what it will cost. If you blow
up, will things just get worse? Who will you hurt? Are you willing to deal with
- Then, decide
what outcome you want. Do you
really want to lose control? Do you want to say words you will regret? Would
you rather be able to move on without an episode?
LOOK - Look
space. God says he will make a way of escape from tempting situations. Where is
your out? Could you turn and look away? Could you shut your eyes? Could you
count to ten? Could you go for a walk? What could you do that would not
heighten the situation, but give you space to get hold of yourself?
- Learn to
your emotions. To do this,
you must slow everything down. It is the pace of anger that creates the most
problems. We lash out without thinking of the words, the outcome, or the feelings
of others; then we wonder why we face more anger. You want to be a person in
control. So, remember, your reaction is
—every time! No one can make you act in anger. It is a choice
One of my favorite verses on matters like this is 1
Corinthians 6:12, “All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not
expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the
power of any.” (KJV)
To me, paraphrased this says, “I have a choice.
I can do what I want, but not everything is beneficial.
I can do what I want, but I refuse to let emotions, people, or situations have
power over me.” And that includes anger. It wants power to expose my weaknesses
and leave me embarrassed, hurt and bound in fear.
“No way,” I say, “I will not give anger control. I choose to
forgive. I choose to show grace. I
choose to exercise self-control
, and allow the water of the Word to quench
the fire in my heart.”