Anger, an exercise in futility

Anger, an exercise in futility

Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires. – James 1:20

Ephesians 4:26-27 

 26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger,

 27 and give no opportunity to the devil.

What is anger? It is a common human emotion and it is part of the human experience. The Father feels anger. The Father gave us the ability to feel anger as well. The Father being holy, righteous, and totally sinless feels and expresses anger totally differently than fallen people.

Usually for people, anger has one of three primary underlying causes: not getting your own way, having your way blocked, or unmet expectations.  

All anger is not the same. Anger exists along a continuum from mild to extreme. It may manifest as frustration or irritation or seething, explosive, murderous rage. And of course, anywhere in-between.

What does anger actually accomplish? Sadly not things that our righteous Father desires.

James 1:20 Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.

If you are angry, you cannot do any of the good things God wants done (The Contemporary English Version).

Uncontrolled anger is an exercise in futility, so stop kidding yourself. Short tempers and thoughtless words only stir up strife.

Proverbs 15:1  A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare.

James 1:19  You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.

We are capable of controlling our reactions. The Father provided an object lesson. He gave us two ears but only one mouth. Engage your intellect and develop strategies to overcome useless, futile reactions to real or perceived offenses. Be sensible.

Proverbs 19:11 Sensible people control their temper; they earn respect by overlooking an offense.

REFLECT & PRAY

An angry person stirs up dissension and starts fights; a hot-tempered person commits all kinds of sin (Proverbs 29:22).

Father there is no question to anyone that knows me well, that I struggle with anger and rage. It is almost as though a savage beast lives within me in a cage. Every now and then I open the door. Please help me to control my anger.

INSIGHT

The anger of people does not accomplish anything good, and actually comes with a lot of overhead. Given the choice, it would be wise to limit our anger as much as possible.

Some people have seething anger underneath and it flares repeatedly. We might refer to them as hot-tempered. Webster defines hot-tempered as becoming angry very easily. They sadly often have the emotional control of a velociraptor. Solomon provides caution.

Proverbs 19:19 Hot-tempered people must pay the penalty. If you rescue them once, you will have to do it again.  

Proverbs 25:28  A person without self-control is like a city with broken-down walls.

Ephesians 4:26-27 

 26 And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry,

 27 for anger gives a foothold to the devil.

As fallen people, we have a tendency to hold on to anger until it becomes part of our character. It takes on a life all of its own and sort of moves in, taking up residence in our innermost being. Anger begins to distort our sensitivity and way of thinking. We find fault and get agitated without foundation in fact. Some become paranoid. Others feel like the world is out to get them. One wise sage once said, “the world is not sentient, it does not know you exist. It is not out to get you.”

The peace of God which the Father offers to each of His children and inner joy and satisfaction are often noticeably absent. Peace and joy simply cannot coexist with anxiety, frustration, anger, and bitterness. Anger left unchecked will result in depression and a desire for revenge.

Ultimately the Scriptures view anger as defiance against the living God.

Num 15:30 But the person who does anything with a high hand . . .

Num 15:30 But those who brazenly violate the LORD’s will . . .

Num 15:30 But the person who acts defiantly . . .

In the original Hebrew the phrase which is rendered with a high hand is beyāḏ rāmāh. It is a graphic word picture of a person with a clenched fist, filled with rage shaking it in the Father’s face. It refers to deliberate, intentional sins.  

Anger is a kind of poison that damages our character, our relations with others, and our closeness with the Father. The Father’s heart is grieved and saddened when his children live in anger. When our fists are raised in anger, we cannot receive and enjoy His blessings.

Ephesians 4:30 Do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption.

Is anger lurking within so deeply buried inside that you are unaware of its presence? Ask the Father to reveal that which is hidden. Determine to release it and do not embrace it again.

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