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The Christian and Anger

(Proverbs 12:16; 14:17,29; 15:18; 16:32; 19:11; 22:24,25; 25:28; 27:4; 29:20,22)

Lesson 12 -- third quarter 1998
August 23, 1998

by Mark Roth
© Copyright 1998, Christian Light Publications

It seemed so important that I go talk to So-and-So promptly...right then and there...despite the cold, wind, rain and late night hour. So without much forethought, I did what seemed so important. And managed to wreak great havoc. No, I didn't find the person for whom I hunted. But I still managed to bring tremendous ruin to the next 24 hours of my life and the lives of a few others. Had I not been so hasty, life would have been considerably less miserable. Was it really urgent that I embark on my Mission of Confrontation right then? Less than an hour later it didn't seem so. But I was upset (which being interpreted is "angry"). No, I wasn't going to go glare at anyone. No, I wasn't going to shout, bark or speak coldly to anyone. Of course not! I had my anger under control, it seemed. But not enough so to keep me at home. Clearly, "He that is soon angry dealeth foolishly"!

It seemed so obvious that she tell her errant friend the True Facts of Life. After all, truth known but kept is truth squandered. Besides, some people just don't respond to nice and easy approaches; they need the Cast Iron Skillet Cast on the Head technique forcefully applied. Forcefully and lovingly, of course. (Something related to speaking the truth in love...she thought.) That and not letting the sun set on your wrath...and not sitting on it yourself. So she put her thoughts down in well-ordered writing and launched the missive (or was it a missile?). What she sowed, she reaped...in greater quantity, as is always the case. Her friend brought her up to date on her inconsistencies and hypocrisies, then clinched it with, "I don't care if I don't see you ever again." And I, still gagging on the bile of my own hastiness, understood again that "he that is hasty of spirit exalteth folly."

When you are emotionally stirred, be very careful of acting quickly upon that emotion. Emotions often cloud our mind and weaken our ability to will what is godly. So don't be hasty! Most of the time little will be lost by deliberately giving ourselves the time to think. We may not think at the time that anger is driving us, but time and subsequent thought could well reveal otherwise. So slow down when upset. Use your discretion in recognizing your emotional state, then allow your discretion to rein in and defer your anger. Having done that, you will find it is much easier for the Spirit of God to work in you, enabling you to pass over the transgression against you. That is glory!

Proverbs 25:28 gives us another powerful motivator: "He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls." As an ancient city left defenseless when its walls failed, so our spirits become very vulnerable when we lose control of our spirits. Anger makes us susceptible to every other evil! So let's get those walls repaired!

Anger frequently results from the violation of rights. And a focus on rights most often comes from an unyielded, uncrucified self. So at the most basic level, the initial step in resolving anger has to be giving way once again to the Lordship of Jesus in our lives. Unless He is the Master all the time and in every area, and unless we are the servants in like manner, our rights and our self will constantly rise up to trouble us at the "most inconvenient times"! So, surrender!

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