What does God say about anger?
The Bible is a beautifully woven tapestry, with many threads woven through it, one of those threads being God's desire for us to live peacefully.
God wants us to rest in His peace, Jn 14:27, " Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid" unfortunately, anger can destroy that peace. Ps 103:8, “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.” Our Lord feels anger, but He does not let this feeling change His love for us, nor does He let it affect His behavior, Eph 4:26-27, “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil.” The devil uses our anger to lead us away from God, Eccl 7:9, “Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger resteth in the bosom of fools.” Anger has a place, but it should never rest in our bosom, and it should never lead us away from God.
So, what exactly is anger, and how does the devil use it? Merriam-Webster defines anger as: “a strong feeling of displeasure.” Anger is not a problem; it is a warning light. When the warning light goes on, we know something is bothering us, and we should begin the process of dealing with the problem. Why do we feel anger? Is it because we didn’t get our way? Or, we couldn’t control every situation? Overcoming our need to control things requires humility, Jam 4:10, “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.” The proud do not want to know God, and they do not want to listen to His advice, Prov 11:2, “When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom.” When we sow anger, we reap the results the devil has devised for us; yelling, rage, lost tempers, swearing, bullying, arguments, lashing out, slamming doors, becoming silent, crying, stomping, swearing, red faces, high blood pressure, aggressive behavior, and displays of bigotry, Gal 6:7-8, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.”
The proud allow the devil to use their anger to bully and belittle others, but God calls us to the opposite response, He asks us to build others up, 1 Thes 5:11, 14, “Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do...Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.” When we provoke others to feel anger, we are sinning against our own soul, Prov 20:2, “The fear of a king is as the roaring of a lion: whoso provoketh him to anger sinneth against his own soul.” When we measure our words before we speak, we protect our souls, Prov 21:23, “Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles.”
We can witness displays of anger in our own society, in the form of road rage, shootings, bullying, and similar responses. We need only read the comments to our weekly blogs to witness this behavior, as a few people try to bully believers into denying God's existence. God calls us to a different response, 2 Tim 2:24, “And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient.” The first time I read a hateful response to one of our blogs, I felt angry. After praying about the feeling, I realized we are a family, each on different parts of the path leading to heaven, and driven by our reasoning with God's Word. So, when someone attacked His Word, I felt defensive. My first response was to try to reason with them.
A few have shown no interest in reasoning, only in attacking God and anyone who believes in Him. This blog is being prepared several weeks in advance of publication, and the following comment was posted in response to our previous blog on Freedom, "Shut the F... UP!#$#@." Notice, there is no interest in reasoning, only in spewing hatred. When we are patient, we feel the anger and calmly look for a solution to the problem, which brought us the feeling. Ultimately, I had to resolve the root problem, I now forgive them for their hatred, pray that they will listen to the next person God sends their way, and ban them from the page. This is the only solution that solves the root problem, Matt 10:14, "And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet." Our family is no longer subjected to their hateful comments, and we can resume our work of reasoning with God, without the negative environment they are trying to create. Fortunately, there are very few of these negative attacks, and those few can no longer infect us. I no longer feel anger when I read these posts, I can forgive them for their hatred and pray daily for God to send someone to help these people find their way to Him. It breaks my heart to think of people living with this kind of hatred. Responding to hateful posts only fuels the anger, so instead, we need to pray for them.
If our anger lasts more than a few minutes, it drains our energy, limits our potential, affects our ability to focus on important matters, and ruins relationships. Anger demands a conclusion, and the best one is forgiveness, Prov 19:11, “The discretion of a man deferreth his anger; and it is his glory to pass over a transgression.” Forgiveness recognizes that we are imperfect, we all make mistakes, and we want God to forgive us, so we must forgive others, Col 3:13, “Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.” God has told us how many times we are to forgive others, Matt 18:21-22, “Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.”
When we understand that the feeling of displeasure is anger, we can begin to use God’s Word to light the way to reason with our discontent and discover better responses, Heb 4:12, “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
God’s way is the fruit of the Spirit, Gal 5:22-23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” When we follow God’s way, all things work together for good, eventually, Rom 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Anger has a small part to play in our learning how to use the fruit of the Spirit to resolve our perceived problems, and that part is recognizing we need to do something, rather than allowing our anger to build up and lead us to unfruitful responses and away from God.
God is always faithful, and His Word will always lead us to solutions and His peace, if we will first believe, Rom 10:9-11, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.” We can learn to use our feelings of anger to lead us to humility and repentance, if we follow God’s way for our lives. Allowing anger to lead us to evil responses only escalates the problems we face. God always calls us to return good for evil, for this is the only way to overcome it, 1 Thes 5:15, "See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men." and Rom 12:21, "Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good." This is the solution to our current civil unrest.
Martin Luther King, Jr. led a peaceful movement that showed his love for everyone, and things changed. He led the Montgomery Bus Boycott, which ended segregation on buses. He founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) in 1957 to coordinate efforts in the American Civil Rights Movement. In early 1963 King started the Birmingham Campaign, which resulted in Eugene “Bull” Connor losing his job. King was one of the leaders in the march on Washington on August 28, 1963, where he delivered his famous "I have a dream" speech, which led to the passage of the Civil Rights Act (1964). He organized and led many peaceful marches, which directly led to the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. This great man was a Christian and followed God's way to help change injustices. Any other way only leads to violence and more distress for everyone.
Those in power, no matter their color, need to make sure everyone is treated lovingly and justly, this is our Lord's desire, Prov 21:15, "It is joy to the just to do judgment: but destruction shall be to the workers of iniquity." and Is 1:17, "Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow." and Matt 12:18, "Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit upon him, and he shall shew judgment to the Gentiles." Our God calls on leaders to relieve the oppressed, and the only way for this to happen is for everyone to be treated justly, Acts 10:34-35, "Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him."
When we listen to God, He leads us to peaceful resolutions and away from anger. We should not let the warning light of anger remain lit for more than a few moments. When we follow Godly responses to anger, we are led to His peace, Jn 14:27, "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."
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