Friday, January 8, 2010

Dealing with Anger?

Until now, most of the time this blog has been used for general musings, pictures of the kids, and of course recipes.  But today I've decided to talk about a subject a little close to home and personal for me..... anger.  Writing a blog post about it forces me to dig deep into scripture to uncover what God has to say about the subject.  And I get to share what I find with anyone out there interested in reading it.

I will be the first to admit that I struggle with anger on almost a daily basis.  Then I struggle with guilt over being angry.  I mean.... the Bible says that anger is wrong, right?

Well, yes and no.

Psalm 37:8 says "Cease from anger and foresake wrath; Do not fret, it leads only to evildoing. For evildoers will be cut off, But those who wait for the LORD, they will inherit the land."

Anger can lead us to do evil.  Anger, the emotion is not evil but it can give the devil wiggle room in our minds and our hearts.  If unchecked it can lead to wrath and fury, causing us to sin.

In Ephesians Paul gives Christians a set of standards to live by.  Among them are refences to anger.

"Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold."  - Eph 4:25-27

Also, verses 31 and 32 - "Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you."

Anger is a naturally occuring emotion.  What we do with our anger is our choice.  God tells us not to STAY angry, not to let our anger evolve to WRATH and cause us to sin.

"A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control" - Proverbs 29:11

"How much more grevious are the consequences of anger than the causes of it." - Marcus Aurelius

Anger itself is not a sin.  The Bible contains accounts of times when Jesus became angry.  (Matthew 21:12-13, Mark 3:5)  Jesus was without sin!  Therefore, anger is not a sin, it is neither wrong nor right (or for a more grown up word we can say it is amoral).  The anger displayed by Jesus is true righteous anger.  Jesus was angered not at a personal attack on him.  And He handled His anger in a appropriate way.  To learn how to deal with our own anger we can look at how Jesus dealt with His.

Got Questions Ministries lists the following six traits of Jesus' anger.

1) His anger had the proper motivation. In other words, He was angry for the right reasons. Jesus’ anger did not arise from petty arguments or personal slights against Him. There was no selfishness involved.

2) His anger had the proper focus. He was not angry at God or at the “weaknesses” of others. His anger targeted sinful behavior and true injustice.

3) His anger had the proper supplement. Mark 3:5 says that His anger was attended by grief over the Pharisees’ lack of faith. Jesus’ anger stemmed from love for the Pharisees and concern for their spiritual condition. It had nothing to do with hatred or ill will.

4) His anger had the proper control. Jesus was never out of control, even in His wrath. The temple leaders did not like His cleansing of the temple (Luke 19:47), but He had done nothing sinful. He controlled His emotions; His emotions did not control Him.

5) His anger had the proper duration. He did not allow His anger to turn into bitterness; He did not hold grudges. He dealt with each situation properly, and He handled anger in good time.

6) His anger had the proper result. Jesus’ anger had the inevitable consequence of godly action. Jesus’ anger, as with all His emotions, was held in check by the Word of God; thus, Jesus’ response was always to accomplish God’s will.

If we keep these in mind we can deal with our own anger in a way that is pleasing to God instead of letting it become a destructive force. 

My prayer for today is that I have the strength to let go of my anger and the selfishness that I use to justify it, to replace it with the love and forgiveness that God has shown to me.

Have a blessed Friday everyone!  Stay warm!

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