By Pastor Nathan Richardson Heartland Community Church
What Anger Does
People argue. Arguments come in all different sizes, some are calm, while others are anything but, with harsh words and maybe even physical violence. Is it possible for people to disagree and not to become angry? Is it possible that being angry is okay?
In the Old Testament there are many representations of God’s anger. He becomes upset when people build idols; this is explained as a jealous anger. He is also mad with Uzzah when he touches the Arc of the Covenant. Of course God also flooded the earth to rid it of all unrighteousness. He also destroyed Soddom and Gomorrah. In the New Testament Jesus becomes angry with the Pharisees due to their stubborn hearts. They were upset with Jesus due to his healing on the Sabbath. Jesus also became mad when people were misusing the temple. Many people would call this righteous anger.
I think there are times in this world that when it is okay to become angry: watching the news or having a friend that has gone through an abusive relationship, racism, pornography, bullying or sex trafficking. I think these same things still cause God to become angry today. There is a lot wrong with the world and it should cause us to be upset. But how do we handle anger in the everyday. We cannot become angry about everything. This is no way to go through life. The end result is loneliness, as anger can drive a wedge in our relationships. The Bible addresses anger quite a bit. Look at some of these verses:
Proverbs 12:6: Fools quickly show they are upset but the wise ignore insults.
Romans 12:19: My friends do not punish others when they wrong you.
Ephesians 4:26: “When you are angry, do not sin, and be sure to stop being angry before the end of the day”
James 1:19-20: My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.
1 Timothy 2:8: Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing.
These verses can give us some very applicable ways to deal with anger:
Get over it quickly, do not dwell on it, and stop being angry before the end of the day. No need to have a restless night and not sleep very well. Do not hold grudges. It will affect you more than the person you are angry with.
Listen well. Most of our anger is because we do not fully understand. Let others talk and hear how they feel. Allow the person to communicate his or her thoughts and care about what they have to say.
Be quiet. Allow what you hear to sink in, think about it; you don’t have to settle the conversation that day. Come back and revisit your thoughts. When we take time to think, it allows the truth to sink in.
Slow to become angry. What are the things that anger you? If you get angry about everything, you go from a person who becomes angry to an angry person. No one wants to be defined as that.
John the Baptist lived out all of this. When approached one day by his disciples in John 3 they complained that Jesus and his disciples were baptizing and people were going to them instead of John and his disciples. I like how John responds. He tells them about the Bridegroom and how he should be the center of attention on the big day. John goes as far to say that he is more of a best man. His actions are to make this day special for the groom. John adds, “He must become greater, I must become less.”
How amazing would it be if we all had this attitude with Jesus and our neighbor? It would definitely keep a lot of arguments from ever happening.