January 7, 2016
Anger is an emotion that we all deal with. If we don’t learn to control our temper, anger can cause unimaginable hurt to people around us. Words said in anger leave deep scars in the one you direct your words toward. “Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger resteth in the bosom of fools.” Ecclesiastes 7:9. Stop and think before you act and you will see that the person you are angry with is just another human who more than likely had no intention to make you mad. The news is full of stories about people whose anger is out of control and in their rage they murder someone. Road rage is prime example of uncontrolled anger that quite often results in violence. Nothing justifies unbridled anger and Christians need to learn to control it.
Have you ever lived with a toddler going through the terrible twos? These little ones get frustrated when things don’t go their way and temper tantrums are all too frequent. They need to be taught to control their anger. Adults who continually get mad have never grown past the terrible twos and need to learn to control their anger rather than allowing it to take control. Anger can flare up if someone takes your parking spot or hurts your pride. Do you get mad at a parent or grandparent for sharing the wisdom they’ve gained in life? If you listen you might learn something. Anger is a selfish emotion that’s mostly about “me”: “You hurt me” or “You didn’t treat me the way I wanted you to” or “You didn’t let me have my way”. Me, me, me. You cannot control the way another person acts or what they say, but you can learn to control yourself. “A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.” Proverbs 15:1. Measure your words with kindness and you might be surprised how others react. Most people don’t set out to make you angry and accidentally say or do something that offends you. Overlook these things. “The discretion of a man deferreth his anger; and it is his glory to pass over a transgression.” Proverbs 19:11. If you are a Christian God has forgiven your transgressions, so what right do you have to not forgive another person?
A major cause of anger in Christians is being out of fellowship with God. That’s a bad place to be. The world dictates a certain way of dress, ungodly morals, and filthy language, but the way of the world is opposed to God’s ways. If you claim to be a Christian but don’t follow God in all you do, then your flesh is at war with the Holy Spirit. When you try to please the world you cannot please God and that’s when anger is ignited. “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” Ephesians 4:29-30. When you truly accept Christ’s sacrifice as the atonement for your sins the Holy Spirit is sealed inside of you. He will lead you in God’s ways and help you to make choices that honor God. If you ignore His guidance and follow the ways of the world you are in direct conflict with God. The turmoil that boils inside of you creates anger. Foolish pride will get in the way of you honoring God and you will grieve the Holy Spirit. “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.” James 4:10. God shows you grace and mercy when you fall short of His perfection. Pass His love on to others.
Should you stay away from people in order to avoid anger? Nobody should live completely isolated from others. In fact, God doesn’t want us to hide ourselves away. If we don’t have contact with other people, how can we share the Gospel? Spiritual strength is developed when we choose to honor God in all we do. Part of that strength comes from studying our Bible in order to know His ways, and part of that strength comes from applying His word to our daily living. “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Romans 12:2. When a Christian chooses to conform to worldly ways their walk with God is weakened and they grieve the Holy Spirit. Repent and turn back to God and you will find that you aren’t so angry anymore.
God can use us to calm situations, or we can allow Satan to use us to cause conflict and strife. “A wrathful man stirreth up strife: but he that is slow to anger appeaseth strife.” Proverbs 15:18. Many situations will come up in the workplace or at school in which we can be a peacemaker or we can make the situation worse by our attitude. Is someone spreading rumors about you? Instead of being angry, honestly and prayerfully examine yourself to be sure there’s no foundation for the rumors. If there is, correct the problem with God’s help. If there is no basis for the rumor, it will only make things worse if you get angry. You can only control your own actions. A Christian should never stir strife or spread gossip about others, but should show God’s love to others. “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:” Ephesians 4:31. Pray about situations that are causing you to be bitter. Seek God’s direction. Maybe it’s you that needs to change. God will show you how to make the situation better if you pray and turn it over to Him. Anger will not solve anything.
Are you living deep in sin but trying to hide it? Your secrets probably aren’t so secret and trying to hide them will only make you bitter. “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.“Proverbs 28:13. By choosing to practice sin you remove yourself from blessings that God has for you. You may think you can hide your sins from people around you, but you can’t hide them from God. Acknowledge your sin, confess it to God, and ask Him to forgive you…then stop that sin. Do you secretly look at pornography, listen to music that is satanic, or watch movies and television that promote sin? If you don’t honor God then you honor Satan. As stated before, the Holy Spirit lives inside every true Christian and is grieved when we are out of fellowship. Get right with God and make His ways your ways. You will find that the closer you walk with God, the more peace you will have.
Anger has no place within a marriage and can result in violence. Spousal abuse is inexcusable. Whether it be physical, verbal, or emotional abuse, it’s disobedience to God. “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord…Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it” Ephesians 5:22 & 25.Wives are to be submissive, but husbands are not to beat them into submission. Today there are many things that get in the way of a God-honoring marriage and these things can cause tension and anger between a husband and wife. Study God’s word to learn what a husband’s role and a wife’s role in a God honoring marriage is. Anger has no place there. “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:” Ephesians 4:26. Control your anger, love your spouse, honor God.
If someone wrongs you, it isn’t up to you to get revenge. It is God who we should trust to avenge our troubles. It’s God’s desire that everyone comes to salvation and if people around you know you are a Christian but you’re always vengeful and angry, does that show God’s love? Will your bitter attitude draw a lost sinner to Christ? It would be so much better if you would set your pride aside and show mercy. Let God fight your battles because He sees the bigger picture. “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.” Romans 12:19. Let God work His love in others, but allow yourself to be His instrument. “Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:20-21. Learn to forgive others as you have been forgiven.
Bitterness will also result in anger, especially if that bitterness is towards God. Are you mad at Him? We humans tend to want to blame someone else for our problems, and God gets blamed for our disappointments and failures. Has someone you loved died? Do you think God should have made you rich? Are all of your friends married but you aren’t? God is not to blame for any failure or disappointment in life and none of these things should result in anger towards Him. Was your loved one a Christian? Even though you miss them, rejoice that they are now in the presence of Jesus! Riches? God never promised anyone riches, but He will fulfill every need. You’re not married? Maybe you need to ready yourself to be a Godly husband or wife, or maybe God is using you in other ways right now. “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you” 1 Peter 5:6-7. God loves you. He wants the best for you, but you need to submit to His will. Evil comes from Satan who only wants you to be bitter towards God. “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.” 1 Peter 5:8-9. Satan wants Christians everywhere to be angry with God and with people around us. He can’t steal our salvation, but he can cause us to be poor witnesses for Christ. No matter what disappointments we have in life, as Christians we have the joy of salvation. That should override every angry thought, bitterness, and hostility within you. God loves you. God gave His life for you. The Creator of the universe loved you enough to be the once for all sacrifice for your sin. How can you be angry?
If you’re a Christian and anger controls you, pray for God’s help. “He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.” Proverbs 16:32. We’ve all heard the advice to count to ten before getting angry. How many times have I raced through those numbers and then let my anger flow? Too many to count. Here’s a better idea. Slow down. Memorize ten Scriptures and when you get mad recite them to yourself. There are at least ten in this commentary that will help. How about “Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.” Romans 12:17-18. Good advice from the Apostle Paul, who learned to control his anger by submitting to the will of God. Another verse to learn is “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” 1 John 4:7-8. Love is of God, not anger. If you don’t love others then you don’t know God.
God will help you overcome conflicts within you and conflicts you have with others. He has forgiven you of your sins, learn to forgive others. Submit to Him and allow His love to reign over your life.
God bless you all,
Ron Graham’s previous commentaries archived at http://www.raptureready.com/featured/graham/graham.html
All original scripture is “theopneustos” God breathed.