James 1:19-20: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.
Proverbs: 15:1: A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
Ephesians 4:31: Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.
All of us have been angry at some point in our lives. We become angry at the driver that cut us off in traffic, we are angered when events in our lives don’t go the way we planned or hoped, we are angry at those people whom we believe have wronged us somehow. Most of us can deal with our anger, we realize how destructive anger can be and we learn ways that we can manage or at least minimize our outbursts of anger.
This past week I have seen up close, the results of anger, rage, and jealousy that have been cultivated in people for a long period of time. I have witnessed the damaging effect that it can have upon a person’s life if allowed to go unchecked. And I also have come to realize that some people just enjoy being angry and mad at anything or anyone.
In the book of James we read that we should be slow to anger. God doesn’t want us to spend our time upon this earth being angry. If we are constantly angry we miss out on the many good things that God desires to place in our lives. He won’t do that it you have anger and malice in your heart.
James also warns us that we should be slow to speak and slow to become angry. Being slow to speak is a difficult concept for many of us to grasp. We want to speak first and we want to be heard before we are willing to listen. In fact, there are many people that simply don’t know how to listen or they don’t want to listen. Instead they only want their point of view heard and they twist words to their own advantage or to further their agendas of hate and rage. The Bible tells us that this type of anger does not bring about the good and righteous life that God desires for each of us.
Anger if allowed to simmer over time will destroy your relationships with other people and it pulls you farther away from God. As believers, God wants us to build up and to encourage each other. The apostle Paul in writing to the church in Ephesus tells us that we are to “put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” Paul is telling us that as followers of Christ we have been changed and made new, and that “new self” should be self-evident for all to see. We should be about building others up not tearing them down with hurtful and hate-filled words.
The Bible tells us that some anger is sinful and some is not. We should be angry with the many types of injustice that exists in our world today. As Christians, we should be angry when we see people in this world starving or persecuted for their beliefs. We should be angry when we see those less fortunate, those without a voice, being ignored or abandoned in this world. We should be angry when our faith is falsely attacked and slandered. However, we must also turn that anger into action and set our minds to do something about the things that we deem unjust in this world.
As I said earlier, I have witnessed the raging face of anger this week in my own personal life. It was terrible to witness how that anger raged into a personal attack on my ministry and upon who I profess to be as a follower of Christ. All that I can do is to further resolve myself to be led by God and to continue to do what He has called me to do. As believers, we must also pray for those who want to damage our ministry and our reputation with hate-filled words and false accusations. God wants to bring about peace in our lives and in our relationships and we must continually pray that He will bring back those that are filled with anger and rage into a closer relationship with their creator God.
Jesus said, in Matthew 5:44: But I tell you: Love your enemy and pray for those who persecute you.