Anger. It’s an emotion we’ve ALL felt from time to time. The person in front of us at the checkout is taking too long. Someone cuts us off in traffic. Someone at work is micro-managing us. A friend, family member or complete stranger says something insensitive to us. We find that there was a mistake on our tax refund and/or that we’ve been overcharged on one or more of our bills. We’re driving a long distance and one of the tires suddenly has a blowout. The cat hops up on the cabinet (while we got our back turned for just THREE seconds) and helps him/herself to a piece of “sandwich” we’re in the process of making for lunch.
WHATEVER the situation, anger solves NOTHING! Anger will NOT, by any means:
- Make the person taking F-O-R-E-V-E-R at the checkout line in front of us suddenly speed up in a jiffy
- Make the person who cut us off in traffic UN-CUT us off in traffic or magically make them look over at us and mouth the words: “I’m sorry“
- Make the coworker who’s micro-managing us suddenly STOP, smile and say “Sorry….I guess I AM micro-managing you, my apologies, didn’t mean to“
- Make the friend, family member or complete stranger IMMEDIATELY apologize for their actions and ask for forgiveness
- Make the tax refund mistake go away or make the numbers magically change to the correct amount before our very eyes
- Make the tire IMMEDIATELY “re-correct” itself so we can keep on driving
- Make the cat UN-EAT the bite of sandwich and meow that they’re “sorry” (well….they might possibly meow that they’re sorry, but that’s besides the point………)
It’s pretty much a given that EVERY single human being on the planet is going to experience frustration and ANGER at SOME point in their existence. That’s a given. But it’s how we DEAL with that anger that matters.
Lets say you’re in a work situation. Your coworker Steve is micro-managing you to the HILT! “No…..put that April file over here with the February files, that way, we can keep better track of it“. So then you do and not 30 seconds later, he “barks” at you AGAIN: “No….don’t put it at the BOTTOM of the pile, put it at the TOP of the pile of February documents“ (even if you’re sitting there questioning like, “WHAT?? That makes no sense!!! The TOP of the pile???? Where the file might possibly not be found or be confused with the February or January files? What the HECK???”
And then, just to test your buttons of patience EVEN FURTHER (or so it seems), good-ole “Steve-O” comes at you YET AGAIN: “Put all your most current May and April 2017 folders in the BOTTOM DRAWERS, we NEVER put them in the TOP DRAWERS that are closest within reach, YOU KNOW THAT!“
And it’s usually at THIS point in time that our fragile human minds want to scream EXPLETIVES at “Steve-O” and GIVE HIM A PIECE OF OUR MIND! (Which, ironically enough, is likely what Steve-O wants, in the first place. So why give him the satisfaction?)
But folks, we got to realize something, here. Whenever there’s something that “testing our patience to the limits“, it’s because of 2 reasons:
A). Satan and his demons are trying EVER-SO-HARD to BREAK US…….to GET us to FEEL angry, to GET us to FEEL resentful, to GET us to CUSS UP A STORM, SNAP, and/or possibly belittle others in the process!
B). Jesus is “using” the experience to TEACH us “patience”, as odd as that may sound.
Now, there’s TWO types of anger mentioned in the bible. There is what’s called RIGHTEOUS ANGER (Jesus over-turning the money changers’ tables in The Temple) and UNRIGHTEOUS ANGER (Cain’s anger over Abel, Esau’s anger towards Jacob, Saul pursuing David, Moses killing the Egyptian that was harassing a Hebrew slave, Herod’s anger with the 3 Wisemen, etc.)
Now, we can all “claim” that OUR ANGER towards the “sinful behaviors of others” is classified as “righteous anger”. But when’s the last time we honestly got “righteously angry” over the sinful behavior(s) of OURSELVES?
That’s PRECISELY the EXACT issue that Jesus is discussing in Matthew 7: 3-5 which states: “And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye“
In other words, we can’t fully “call out/rebuke” the unrighteousness in OTHERS until we first “call out/rebuke” the unrighteousness in OURSELVES………Because Romans 3:23 says: “For ALL have sinned, and come short of the glory of God“. That means that NOBODY is perfect. NONE. None on the ENTIRE EARTH, past, future or present.
The ONLY being that is WITHOUT sin is ofcourse, JESUS CHRIST ALMIGHTY. While he lived on the Earth, he was BLAMELESS and WITHOUT SIN. That’s WHY he was a suitable sacrifice unto God to “take away the PENALTY of the sins of the world/mankind”. Because only one who is completely WITHOUT SIN can be a suitable enough sacrifice to TAKE AWAY THE PENALTY OF ALL SIN (in God’s eyes), if that makes any sense?
Now, lets look at the 7 above “anger-inducing cases” and see what happens when those people DON’T sinfully ACT on their anger:
- The person getting “irritated” at person in front of them in line sighs, takes a deep breath, patiently waits and then it’s THEIR turn. Life goes on.
- The person was cut off in traffic realizes that there’s a possibility that the person who cut them off did so “accidentally” and doesn’t fret about it.
- The person being micro-managed at work stops, takes a deep breath and realizes that the micro-manager is either highly stressed themselves or only trying to be helpful and doesn’t fret about it.
- The person who an insensitive thing was said to rationally realizes that the person probably didn’t even realize what was said was insensitive and just rolls with it. Life goes on.
- The person who sees a mistake on their tax refund sighs, takes a deep breath and then calmly calls the IRS phone number to let them know what’s going on. They know eventually they’ll get the check for the correct amount and don’t fret about it.
- The person who had a tire blow-out will eventually fix it themselves or stay calm, figuring that help will soon be on the way.
- The person who had their kitty eat part of their sandwich LAUGHS about it, instead of gets mad about it, then makes themselves another sandwich cause hey, it’s not the end of the world, right?
Now, we’ve SEEN cases in the bible where people ACTED IMMEDIATELY on their anger:
- Cain killing Abel
- Esau plotting to kill Jacob
- Saul plotting to kill David
- Herod killing all boys, aged 2 and under
- Moses killing the Egyptian, who was “being brutal” towards the Israelite slave worker
- Moses SMASHING the clay tablets of stone with God’s law on them (upon seeing the disobedient children of Israel)
- Balaam beating his donkey for what HE thought was “weird behavior”
- Jezebel plotting to kill Elijah
- Haman being FURIOUS over Mordecai not bowing down to him and giving him obeisance
- Jonah got mad at God for NOT destroying the city of Nineveh (after his prophesying) AND for making him preach there in the first place?
Just like we can see cases where anger was likely HELD IN……..(and not acted upon):
- Abraham was likely secretly resentful/angry of Sarah demanding Hagar & Ishmael’s “banishment” since it was Sarah’s idea in the FIRST place for Abraham to marry Hagar and have children by her.
- When Jacob deceived Esau out of his birthright and out of his “patriarchal blessing”, Isaac was likely “silently angry” with both his sons (Esau, for being so “careless” about his birthright/blessing and with Jacob for having deceived Esau AND HIM).
- Jacob was likely VERY ANGRY (on the inside) with Laban for deceiving him into marrying Leah, instead of Rachel
- Leah was likely resentful/angry towards her father for making her marry a man, Jacob, who clearly did NOT love HER, the way that Jacob loved Rachel, her younger sister), with Jacob (for loving Rachel more than her, and spending the MAJORITY of his nights with Rachel) AND with Rachel, for “being the favorite” of Jacob, etc.
- Jacob was likely resentful/angry (or at the VERY least, highly “annoyed”) with Leah for “buying a night with him with her son Reuben’s mandrakes”
- Old Testament Joseph was likely secretly angry with his brothers for selling him off as a slave, etc.
- Jacob (as well as Benjamin?) were likely secretly angry with all the other sons, after “initially” discovering the truth about Joseph, who was “far away in Egypt”
- Shem & Japheth were likely secretly angry with their brother Ham, for acting so foolishly and dishonorable with their “drunken” father, Noah
- New Testament Joseph was likely secretly angry with his espoused, Mary, for what HE must’ve thought was her “going out on him”, BEFORE discovering that she was “immaculately pregnant with the Messiah, Jesus Christ”
- Mary’s own parents were likely secretly angry with her for what THEY thought was her “dishonorable behavior” before THEY knew she was “miraculously pregnant with the Messiah”
It’s funny how many Christians today sort’ve hold alot of the biblical characters up on a pedestal and act as though they never “thought” or “did” anything wrong. But folks, ALL biblical characters (save for Jesus Christ himself) were FAR FROM PERFECT. And many of them (just like many of us do, TODAY) got ANGRY and IMMEDIATELY ACTED UPON THAT ANGER!
As for all the bible characters that seemed to “hold it in”, for every single time they were able to be patient and hold their anger IN, there was likely a counter time in their lives when they did NOT hold their anger in and acted more like the “insta-charge angerers” list up above.
Now think back to the last time you got angry about something…….TRULY ANGRY. Did it solve anything? Did it make the situation better? Or did it just make things worse? How did it impact the others around you? (And how did it affect your children, spouse, coworkers and even PETS?) Did it turn out to be a worthwhile experience? Did it make you feel happy and fulfilled at all? Did you feel as though the anger was “worth it?” Did you feel as though it pleased Jesus Christ at all?
Because the truth is, anger solves NOTHING and takes away EVERYTHING! It takes away your mind, heart, sanity and spirit! And if left PERPETUALLY UNCHECKED, anger can be the catalyst for you losing your own very SOUL! Anger causes people to do MANY, MANY unrighteous and harmful things (both to themselves and to others). Anger causes hate and violence, rape and murder, ruined relationships and marriages, all sorts of sin and crime. It’s not worth it.
The next time you feel angry (about ANYTHING or ANYONE), just take a deep breath, relax, take ANOTHER deep breath and IMMEDIATELY re-asses the situation. And ask yourself, “is it worth it?”
Anger won’t repair your relationship or marriage……..won’t make things better for you at home or work……..won’t make you a better son/daughter, friend, coworker, spouse, niece/nephew, grandson/granddaughter, etc.
Anger (in and of itself) will help destroy everything you’ve ever worked for. Don’t let it win. Don’t let Satan and his demons win. Remember that WHEN the Old Testament characters unleashed their anger, unchecked, they were PUNISHED for it by God! However…..whenever they held their anger in and did NOT act on it, they were BLESSED FOR IT, BY GOD!
Now, that doesn’t mean that it’s not alright to feel angry from time to time, as anger is a normal, human emotion. It’s just what we DO with that anger that counts. Ephesians 4: 26-27 says: “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil”. So, in other words, when we let anger stew and come out full strength, the bible says we are “giving place to the devil”, meaning, we’re giving him leeway in our lives!
I want to share my own personal experience here with anger and what all it’s done (or hasn’t done) for me. I’m usually a patient person and it takes alot to get me angry. But when my patience is tested to the hilt, I don’t tend to get just a “little” angry, I get VERY ANGRY! And all the times I got REALLY ANGRY, it did absolutely NOTHING for me. In fact, it has DESTROYED close relationships I’ve had in my life! It has taken so much FROM ME and has done absolutely nothing FOR me!
Anger robs the soul of LIFE! It really does. You can even spend your whole entire LIFE being mad at someone (or at God, even). Only to later find that it SOLVES NO PURPOSE! People that were estranged from parents/friends/relatives, for example, and hated them for YEARS? When they DO finally make up with them and start speaking to them again, they’re oftentimes GRIEVED about all that WASTED TIME that they COULD’VE SPENT together, making amends and letting bygones be bygones.
And all the times in my life when I just let my anger go, did NOT act on it, but prayed to the Lord Jesus Christ about it and trusted JESUS with it? Miraculous things would start to happen…….Things at work and home would start to run much smoother……..things that made me so angry before no longer seemed like such a big deal, anymore……the grass & trees looked greener, the sun looked brighter, the singing birds sounded more beautiful, people were nicer, plus I was FAR more content & happier……happier than I’ve ever been, actually…….
So if you’re angry about someTHING or someONE, I want you to ask yourself if it’s worth it. Is it worth all that LOST TIME that you COULD be spending making amends with that person/those people? It says in the bible that we must forgive others if we ourselves want to be forgiven. So what does that entail, one might ask? Well, for one, it means LETTING GO OF ANGER. I know that’s hard to do. I know it’s easier said than done. (Been there, done that, I KNOW how it feels). But if we want to move FORWARD (both, in our spiritual relationship with Jesus Christ AND with each other), then we MUST let go of our resentments/ANGER (anger towards God/Jesus, towards other people, & towards ourselves, etc.)
Even SELF-ANGER (anger at self) is DESTRUCTIVE and serves no purpose. For how can we faithfully serve God/Jesus is we’re too busy condemning ourselves to oblivion? Who CARES about what sin we did 10 years ago, 20 years ago, 2 years ago or 2 months ago? Does that REALLY hold any true bearing for what we’re doing for the Lord Jesus Christ in the HERE and the NOW?
The anti-thesis of anger is PATIENCE…..humbled PATIENCE. Jesus Christ puts us in “long lines”, etc. at the bank or grocery store, etc. to teach us PATIENCE. Jesus puts us in EVERY “patience-testing situation” to teach us PATIENCE. In fact, did you know that Satan the Devil gets ANGRY whenever WE are PATIENT? It’s true. And whenever WE get ANGRY and ACT ON IT, Satan’s happy as a lark! That’s WHY we should never let Satan win in the “war on anger”.
If you or someone you know is currently struggling with the perpetual problem of ANGER, I would HIGHLY encourage you to pray to the Lord Jesus Christ about it, HUMBLE YOURSELVES before Jesus, give your whole LIFE to him, and then, just sit back and watch all the miraculous things he’ll do in your life, when you CONQUER YOUR UNRIGHTEOUS ANGER IN JESUS’S NAME! 😉
And yes, though I DO still struggle with anger in my life from time to time (especially in the work setting), I’m getting much, much better these days at conquering it in Jesus’s name! And I pray that all of you will continue to do the same! 😉
“I can do ALL things through Christ, who strengthens me” – Philippians 4:13