Thursday, July 13, 2006
Yesterday afternoon and evening I witnessed someone trying as hard as she could to sort out and cope with the consequences of a fit of anger that she had given in to some time ago. This fit of anger has torn apart a family that until now had been able to persevere so much that they thought they could make it through anything together. It's so heartbreaking to see what words spoken rashly in anger can do to relationships.
As I read my devotion this morning I thought I would share it here because it just speaks so plainly that we don't do well when we act in our anger.
“God said to Jonah, Doest thou well to be angry?” Jonah 4:9
Anger is not always or necessarily sinful, but it has such a tendency to run wild that whenever it displays itself, we should be quick to question its character, with this enquiry, “Doest thou well to be angry?” It may be that we can answer, “YES.” Very frequently anger is the madman’s firebrand, but sometimes it is Elijah’s fire from heaven. We do well when we are angry with sin, because of the wrong which it commits against our good and gracious God; or with ourselves because we remain so foolish after so much divine instruction; or with others when the sole cause of anger is the evil which they do. He who is not angry at transgression becomes a partaker in it. Sin is a loathsome and hateful thing, and no renewed heart can patiently endure it. God himself is angry with the wicked every day, and it is written in His Word, “Ye that love the Lord, hate evil.” Far more frequently it is to be feared that our anger is not commendable or even justifiable, and then we must answer, “NO.” Why should we be fretful with children, passionate with servants, and wrathful with companions? Is such anger honourable to our Christian profession, or glorifying to God? Is it not the old evil heart seeking to gain dominion, and should we not resist it with all the might of our newborn nature? Many professors give way to temper as though it were useless to attempt resistance; but let the believer remember that he must be a conqueror in every point, or else he cannot be crowned. If we cannot control our tempers, what has grace done for us? Some one told Mr. Jay that grace was often grafted on a crab-stump. “Yes,” said he, “but the fruit will not be crabs.” We must not make natural infirmity an excuse for sin, but we must fly to the cross and pray the Lord to crucify our tempers, and renew us in gentleness and meekness after His own image.
This devotion came from the morning and evening devotional by Charles H Spurgeon. I get these twice a day on the living waters website but you can also read the entire book and other classic christian literature on www.ccel.org
This just made me take a minute to think that anger, though a natural emotion and often unavoidable can and usually does work against us. In the situation I referred to earlier it has destroyed a family and caused many deep and painful wounds not only for the persons on the receiving end of an angry burst but for the person giving it out. I thought I would share the verses that are going in my devotions notebook with all of you since we all have to deal with anger in our lives and it is always best to know what God's word says about it.
Proverbs 14:17 He that is soon angry dealeth foolishly: and a man of wicked devices is hated.
Proverbs 19:11 The discretion of a man deferreth his anger; and it is his glory to pass over a transgression.
Pr overbs 22:24 Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go: 25 Lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul.
Ecclesiastes 7:9 Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger resteth in the bosom of fools.
Matthew 5:22 But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.
Colossians 3:8 But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.
James 1:19 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: 20 For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.
I also thought I would share these quotes:
Anger is momentary madness, so control your passion or it will control you. -Horace
When I hear of anybody losing his temper, I always pray that he may not find it again. Such tempers are best lost. -Spurgeon
People first abandon reason, and then become obstinate; and the deeper they are in error the more angry they are. -Blair
I don't have any idea how the situation that we are dealing with will work out but I do know that all involved have learned a great deal about anger.