Mountaintop Musings: More thoughts on A biblical view of anger
May 29, 2019
One area in my life that I feel God has made some good changes in me concerns anger.
I can remember too many times in life when my “temper” got the best of me. It was not this impersonal “temper”, but it was a willful and intentional lack of self-control that tripped me up. I did not get my way, so I vented. It may have been not getting more ice cream; it could be when the team I was on did not win; maybe someone took a toy, told a lie about me, or betrayed a confidence. One time a “friend” stole a knife rom me. So, the natural thing to do was to find him one night and beat him up.
I could go on with pages of this, but the point is made that Dave Carroll used to be terrible with, and still must be careful to have self-control.
A year ago, I was helping a friend with the floor shifter on his old Chevy pick-up. Trying to get the shift column in was tough. We never got it in that day. But another guy was there who commented that “I don’t know how you can keep so calm, because I would be swearing and throwing tools by now”. He mentioned he had a bad temper. I said, no what you have is a lack of self-control. Well we had a good talk about that, and he kind of agreed with me. Now I am friends with this guy too, and we still are. But to say it is our “temper” which causes us to mis-treat others, or “go off” is a cop-out. It is failing to take responsibility.
One mark of maturity is to take ownership of our thoughts, words, actions, life! Or you can say one mark of maturity is when we recognize our anger and take steps to deal with it. Sinful anger is always a negative influence on life. James 1:20 says that the anger of man cannot achieve the righteousness of God. In other words, our anger will produce results that are the direct opposite of what God would have for us. In Galatians 4:22 the Apostle Paul writes “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control…”. It is not difficult to see that anger is not a byproduct of the control of God in one’s life is it?
Once the “anger train” leaves the station of one’s heart it rolls into the mind, and then out of the mouth! The outcome is always a train wreck! Anger is a forerunner to a host of other sin and problems, Genesis 4: 5-8; and leads to strife, Proverbs 15:18, 29:22. Our anger reveals that we truly do not trust the sovereignty of God (his control and rule in all of life), Psalm 37: 1-11 (especially verses 7-9). The more anger we carry with us the more difficult it will be to navigate life.
When you are angry your anger is sinful when you:
Are quick tempered or have outbursts;
Fail to exhibit mercy, compassion and forgiveness;
Seek vengeance or retaliation;
Quench the fruit of the Spirit in your life if a Christian;
Let the sun go down on your wrath (Ephesians 4:26); and
Live so as not bring honor to God.
I could list more but the point is anger is never part of a satisfying solution. A person slow to anger has great understanding, can calm things, and is obedient to the Word of God (Proverbs 14:29, 16:32, 15:18 and James 1: 19-20). A biblically wise person will turn away anger and hold back their anger (Proverbs 29: 8, 11).