One More Year of Choices
By Barbara Dahlgren
I wanted to title this blog: Choose Not to Get Angry. However, I thought that was a bit unrealistic. Plus, I couldn’t really find biblical support for that. After all, the definition of anger is an intense emotional state induced by displeasure. So anger itself is not the problem, but uncontrolled anger can be.
The Bible doesn’t say not to get angry. It does say: cease from anger (Psalm 37:8), let anger be put away from you (Ephesians 4:31), be angry but don’t sin (Ephesians 4:26), and don’t let the sun go down on your wrath (Ephesians 4:26). So I think it’s reasonable to assume even the meekest and mildest of us will get angry from time to time. Even Christ got angry occasionally, but it was directed at the sin, not the sinner.
When Jesus turned the money changers’ tables over at the temple, He was angry at the wrong being done and the total disrespect for God. They were taking advantage of the poor and making God’s house a market place, instead of a house of prayer. (John 2:13-17, Matthew 21:12-13, Mark 11:15-18, Luke 19:45-46)
When religious leaders were testing Jesus to see if He would heal on the Sabbath, Jesus looked at them with anger because He was deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts. (Mark 3:1-6)
Anger is a difficult emotion to keep in perspective. That’s why we are told not to get angry with a brother. (Matthew 5:22) Anger against a brother can cause bitterness, resentment, retaliation, and sometimes murder. Think of Cain and Abel. Unchecked anger embeds itself into our souls. So much so that we can lose all sense of reason. Remember that the word “anger” is just one letter short of “d”anger.
I can’t help but think of the old TV show, the Incredible Hulk. Mild mannered Dr. David Banner would say something like, “You wouldn’t like it if I got angry.” And when he got angry, he turned into a big green monster. The same thing can happen to us if we aren’t careful.
When we get angry, it is seldom for a righteous reason. We think we’ve been wronged. We think we deserve more. We think we aren’t accepted. We think we aren’t respected. We think we aren’t appreciated. We think no one loves us. We think we are being ignored. To be truthful, we think everything is all about us!
Then we each have anger trigger points heightened by being tired, hungry, frustrated, embarrassed, disappointed, stressed, or hurt. Maybe we are having PMS or the male equivalent, IMS. Then our anger gets blown out of proportion. We are like a spray can full of pressure. When just one more thing is added, our button gets pushed and we spray venom all over everyone in our path. We can never get what is spewed out back in that aerosol can. It stays in the air forever. Uncontrolled anger is not good.
Consider this… When Cain was upset that God accepted his brother Abel’s sacrifice and not his, God said, “Why are you so angry? You should rule over it.” (Genesis 4:6-7) But Cain did not rule over it. He let it fester! He became bitter! He ended up killing Abel. So we definitely need to learn to control our anger, or it will control us.
Here are a just a few biblical insights that will help us control anger.
- Try not to be so overly sensitive or take everything personally. (Proverbs 12:16)
- Be quick to listen and slow to speak. (James 1:19-20)
- When we do speak, speak gently. A gentle answer turns away wrath. ((Proverbs 15:1)
- Meditate on God’s word. The Bible says we can be angry, but don’t sin. Instead be still and meditate on God’s word. (Psalm 4:4)
- Then go one step farther and turn it all over to God. Trust in the Lord. (Psalm 4:5)
Suggestions for practicing this choice…
Think about this scripture from James 1:20: Man’s anger or wrath does not produce the righteousness of God.
Ask God to help you look at each situation that angers you from his point of view, not yours.
Say this often: An angry person is seldom reasonable; a reasonable person is seldom angry.
Remember this: For every minute you are angry, you lose sixty seconds of happiness.
Turn your anger over to Jesus. Keep your eyes on Jesus. Focus on Him. Ask Him for His peace. Ask Him for His wisdom in dealing with situations.