WISELY USING YOUR ANGER

 

A man that had to work late all the time came home early one night to discover a strange car in his driveway. When he went inside, he discovered that his wife was cheating on him. At that moment the man became full of fury, grabbed his gun and shot both of them. He was not a violent man, but his anger got the best of him and caused him to commit a double homicide.

 

Anger is a powerful emotion. It is like steam in a pressure cooker that builds up and then forces it way out the vent pipe. When anger is uncontrolled it will explode causing one to either say things he would never usually say or cause one to do hurtful things that cannot be undone.

 

While being angry is not sinful within itself, it is an emotion that must be carefully controlled so that it does not lead to sin. Paul said:

 

Ephesians 4:26 "Be angry, and do not sin": do not let the sun go down on your wrath,27 nor give place to the devil.

 

Paul is teaching us that we can and will experience anger, but we must not allow anger to linger on. I know of one married couple who made it their policy to always forgive each other before they went to bed no matter how angry they were. Doing so allowed them to have peaceful night of sleep and allowed them to look forward to a fresh start the next day.

 

Some have the idea that we should never become angry in the first place, but that is not what is taught in Scripture. Instead, we are taught to keep our anger under control.

 

Proverbs 14:29 He who is slow to wrath has great understanding, But he who is impulsive exalts folly.

 

Proverbs 16:32 He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, And he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.

 

Solomon has much to say about the difference between controlling your anger and what will happen when you do not, but he nor the Bible every says that we should never be angry. Since our goal is to be like God, we should follow his example. We have several examples of God being angry.

 

Exodus 4:14 So the anger of the LORD was kindled against Moses,

 

Psalm 7:11 God is a just judge, And God is angry with the wicked every day.

 

1 Kings 11:9 So the LORD became angry with Solomon, because his heart had turned from the LORD God of Israel,

 

If God can be angry, we can to. We also learn God is merciful and keeps His anger under control.

 

Psalm 86:15 But You, O Lord, are a God full of compassion, and gracious, Longsuffering and abundant in mercy and truth.

 

Psalm 103:8 The LORD is merciful and gracious, Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.

 

Joel 2:13 So rend your heart, and not your garments; Return to the LORD your God, For He is gracious and merciful, Slow to anger, and of great kindness; And He relents from doing harm.

 

God has never allowed His anger to cause Him to sin. Like God, we should learn to be longsuffering and never allow our anger to cause us to lose control. We also learn that God does not stay angry for long.

 

Psalm 30:5 For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning.

 

If we allow our anger to continue, it will end in destruction, so let us learn from Godís example and not stay angry for long.

 

Solomon says:

 

Proverbs 25:28 Whoever has no rule over his own spirit Is like a city broken down, without walls.

 

During Solomonís time your main defense against enemies was a well constructed city with walls surrounding it. Without the walls, you were an easy target. When we do not try to keep our emotions under control we are just as weak and defenseless as city without walls. Satan will make us his target and we will find ourselves out of control. Emotions like anger will get the best of us, which is why we are taught to have self-control as Christians, which is one fruits of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23).

 

One example of someone who lost their self-control was King Herod. He sent the wise men to find out about Jesusí birth, but when they did not return with the information, we read:

 

Matthew 2:16 Then Herod, when he saw that he was deceived by the wise men, was exceedingly angry; and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the wise men.

 

Herodís uncontrolled anger caused him to have all these innocent children less than two years old put to death. There are many examples in the Bible about uncontrolled anger and there are many examples we have all experienced in our life of what uncontrolled anger can cause. As Christians, we must continue to increase our self-control so that we can rule over our emotions, instead of our emotions ruling us.

 

Solomon says:

 

Proverbs 14:17 A quick-tempered man acts foolishly

 

Proverbs 29:22 An angry man stirs up strife, And a furious man abounds in transgression.

 

If someone makes us mad and we react right away, many times we are going to say or do the wrong thing. So, we must train ourselves to think about the situation and give ourselves time to respond in a way that will not be sinful.

 

Proverbs 14:29 He who is slow to wrath has great understanding, But he who is impulsive exalts folly.

 

When we train ourselves to become slow to wrath, we become more like God, which can cause us to show more compassion and understanding toward the ignorance and cruelty of others.

 

Proverbs 19:11 The discretion of a man makes him slow to anger, And his glory is to overlook a transgression.

 

Instead of adding fuel to the fire, we can become like an extinguisher that chokes out the fire.

 

Proverbs 15:18 A wrathful man stirs up strife, But he who is slow to anger allays contention.

 

If we get into a conversation with someone that is angry with us and we start yelling back at them or call them names then the tension will build, but if we take control of the situation by using self-control, then the tension will decrease. As Solomon said:

 

Proverbs 15:1 A soft answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger.2 The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly, But the mouth of fools pours forth foolishness.

 

Or as James says:

 

James 1:19 So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath;

Though it is not easy to do, we must do our best to prevent quarrels from happening in the first place:

 

Proverbs 17:14 The beginning of strife is like releasing water; Therefore stop contention before a quarrel starts.

 

Solomon describes strife like the releasing of water. We all know how power water can be once it starts flowing. It very difficult to control and there is little you can do until the water stops flowing. So, the best thing to do is to prevent the water from being released. If we can prevent an argument from getting out control, then we can keep raw emotions from rearing their ugly head and the consequences that come from them. We should certainly practice this kind of self-control when it comes to our home.

 

Proverbs 21:19 Better to dwell in the wilderness, Than with a contentious and angry woman.

 

No one can cause more strife quicker than an angry wife or husband because our mate knows exactly what to say and do to hurt us. As Solomon said, it is better to leave that home and live in the wilderness than to be around that angry person. For the sake of our marriages and for the tranquility of our homes, let us strive to keep this is kind of destructive anger far from us.

 

Solomon also warns us about hanging around angry people:

 

Proverbs 22:24 Make no friendship with an angry man, And with a furious man do not go,25 Lest you learn his ways And set a snare for your soul.

 

Whether we realize or not, the people we hang around influence our character. If we hang around those who are always negative and complain about everything, it will not be long until we are doing the same. If we hang around those who are always angry at one thing or another, we will find ourselves doing the same. No wonder Paul said:

 

1 Corinthians 15:33 Do not be deceived: "Evil company corrupts good habits."

 

Solomon also says:

 

Proverbs 4:14 Do not enter the path of the wicked, And do not walk in the way of evil. 15 Avoid it, do not travel on it; Turn away from it and pass on.

 

Proverbs 9:6 Forsake foolishness and live, And go in the way of understanding.

 

As Christians, we need to hang around people that can help us grow and become more Christ-like, instead of more worldly. So let us keep our distance from those who do not exercise self-control because their ways will end in strife and sin:

 

Proverbs 29:22 An angry man stirs up strife, And a furious man abounds in transgression.

 

Proverbs 26:21 As charcoal is to burning coals, and wood to fire, So is a contentious man to kindle strife.

 

While there are certain aspects of anger that we should avoid, there are some things that we should embrace because there are many things in this world that should cause a faithful Christian to be angry. For example, when think about all the innocent babies that have been murdered by abortion clinics, it should disgust and make us angry. We should use our angry to motivate us to try and get this sinful act done away with.

 

However, we should use our anger to commit another sin. Some have actually went to these abortion clinics and pulled out a gun and shot the doctors that commit the murders. While some may cheer them on, they have sinned because they too have committed murder. When we use our anger to motivate us, we must use it a way that is not sinful.

For example, we can educate people about the sinful nature of abortion, we can vote for people who are against abortion, and we pray for wisdom on the best way to help people see the ugliness of this sin.

 

We should also be angry about the homosexual movement in our country. We should use our anger to speak out against their agenda, but we cannot use our anger to do harm to these misguided people. Again, our goal should be to use our anger to help motivate us to make changes without us sinning in the process. All sin should cause to be anger because sin makes God angry.

 

Psalm 97:10 You who love the LORD, hate evil!

 

Proverbs 3:7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the LORD and depart from evil.

 

The more sin makes us angry, the more we will despise it and stay far away from it, which is a good thing.

 

We also have to watch out for a misguided anger because sometime we become angry when there is no reason that we should. A great example of this comes from the story of Jonah. God wanted Jonah to preach to the city of Nineveh, but Jonah tried to run away from God. Through Godís intervention, which included a storm and three nights in the belly of a fish, Jonah went to Nineveh and preached. They repented and God spared them, but this made Jonah angry.

 

Jonah 4:1  But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he became angry.2 So he prayed to the LORD, and said, "Ah, LORD, was not this what I said when I was still in my country? Therefore I fled previously to Tarshish; for I know that You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, One who relents from doing harm.3 "Therefore now, O LORD, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live!"4 Then the LORD said, "Is it right for you to be angry?"

 

Jonah did not like these people of Nineveh at all. He did not want God to show them mercy. He wanted them to face the wrath of God. Instead, of being happy that these people repented it made him angry that they would receive Godís forgiveness. It upset him so much that he just wanted to die.

 

How many times have found ourselves so angry at someone that did us wrong that we hoped something bad would happen to them? How many times have struggled with forgiving those who have repented? In order justify our anger toward them, we might convince ourselves that they really did not repent or that they will never change their ways. Just as Jonahís anger was misguided so is ours if try to hang on to our anger after someone has repented.

 

Most who feel this way about someone, would not someone else to treat them this way. They would want people to give them the benefit of the doubt and they certainly would want God to longsuffering toward them if they sinned. We cannot read where Jonah every said that he did not like Godís longsuffering when it came to his own life, but his anger toward these people wanted God to show partiality by withholding his mercy from them, yet allowing himself to have Godís mercy. Of course, if you read the rest of the chapter, we discover that Jonah has more pity for a plant than he did for the people of Nineveh.

 

Let us be careful not to allow our anger to be misguided. If God forgives someone, we need to rejoice about it and not allow our personal feelings to interfere with grace of God.

 

As we have learned, anger is powerful emotion that must be controlled. If we do not control it, devastation is near, but if we use our anger in a good way, it will help motivate us to fight against the evil way without us sinning. Let us continue to grow and learn how to use our anger in a positive way to help grow the kingdom of God.