The ABC’s of Wisdom: Building Character with Solomon - Anger
A Warning for Hotheads
An angry man stirs up dissension, and a hot-tempered one commits many sins.
Here is a simple fact: Either you learn to control your temper or your temper will control you. How many of us have undergone tremendous heartache because at a crucial moment we lost our temper and spouted off when we should have been silent?
We all know that anger is a powerful emotion that can be used for good or for evil. Anger isn’t always wrong. We know, for instance, that anger is one of the attributes of God. Did you know that the Bible speaks over a hundred times of the anger of God? We know that God never sins, yet the Bible speaks repeatedly of His anger toward sin and disobedience. We know also that there are times when anger is justified and even righteous. Ephesians 4:26 says, “In your anger do not sin.”
When we see people hurting other people, when we watch the wholesale slaughter of the unborn, when we see children being lured into drugs and prostitution, when we see families torn apart by sin, that ought to make us angry. If we sit idly by while the world goes to hell, if we don’t get angry, if we don’t weep, if we don’t care, then something is wrong deep inside us.
So then, anger can be a very useful and even Christian emotion. However, righteous anger can quickly lead us in the wrong direction. The same verse that says, “In your anger do not sin,” adds this phrase, “Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.” That is, don’t go to bed angry. Even if your anger is justified, don’t go to sleep that way. Deal with it, talk it out, pray it out, walk it out-but don’t try to sleep it out. That won’t work.
What happens when you don’t deal with your anger? It settles deep in your heart, it hardens like concrete, it distorts your personality, it squeezes out your joy, it oozes the smelly black gunk of unhappiness over every part of your life. That’s why the very next verse in Ephesians offers this warning: “Do not give the devil a foothold” (Ephesians 4:27).
All rock climbers understand that verse. In order to get up the side of the mountain, you’ve got to get a firm foothold. That’s what Satan wants to do in your life-he wants to use your anger (even your legitimate anger) to get a foothold in your heart.
The first step is admitting you have a problem. So many of us have a public face that looks good and a private face we keep behind locked gates and stone walls, a face of anger and hatred.
Next, share your struggles with a trusted friend. If you have someone who will hold you accountable, you’re much less likely to say or do something foolish.
Third, ask the Lord Jesus to give specific help in the area of your anger. Name the sin, confess it, and claim the power of the indwelling Christ.
Jesus has shown us the way. You don’t have to live in anger and bitterness over the way people treat you. Through the power of the Holy Spirit your life can be different.
Lord Jesus, thank you for showing us how to live. May Your love replace any anger in my heart. Amen.
When was the last time you got angry? What happened? Are you satisfied with the way you handled the situation?
What are your own personal warning signs that you have crossed the line from righteous to unrighteous anger?
Want instant access to all 100 daily devotionals? The ABC’s of Wisdom: Building Character with Solomon is available in ebook format for the Kindle, Nook, or Ipad. Purchase your copy here!