One Year Bible
New Testament passage for Sun., Nov. 18, 2012: James 1:19-2:17
19 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. James 1:19-20 (NIV)
Do you have an anger problem? Do you have a temper? What gets under your skin and makes you angry? Perhaps it's traffic or slow check-out lines. Perhaps it's the way everything seems to get in your way when your time is limited. Perhaps it's the attitudes of people. Arrogance just burns you up. Disrespect or cockiness really irritate you. Maybe it's the attitude of entitlement that a co-worker seems to get away with.
Then there other kinds of anger. It might be child abuse, or dishonesty in government. It might be the rise of crime in your good city.
There are two kinds of anger: GOOD ANGER and BAD ANGER. The Bible describes them as RIGHTEOUS ANGER and HUMAN ANGER. The first is good. The second is bad. The first (good anger) is the result of seeing the situation from God's perspective -- seeing it clearly -- seeing it as it truly is. The second (bad anger) is the result of a distorted vision. When we get riled up and raging, our anger DISTORTS reality. We say things we don't mean. We make a bad situation worse.
Anger is not always bad. There are times when even Jesus grew irritated with the way people acted. Ephesians 4:26-27 says, "Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil." Anger is a normal human emotion, but it must be held under the control of the Holy Spirit.
Anger is like a FIRE. We often refer to it like that. Someone might say, "That just burned me up." Or, if someone releases their anger at someone, we say, "they scorched them!" But, fire can be either good or bad. The same fire than can bring you needed warmth and comfort if it is under control, or it can burn your house down if it is out of control.
James says "slow down." Don't let your anger carry you places you shouldn't go. Take a deep breath and refuse to let your anger control your tongue. This is wise advice. Let me conclude by giving you some direction if you are dealing with anger issues.
1. Find out why you're always so angry. Dig a little deeper. It's not really the traffic or the neighbors. There may be something deeper eating on you. Deal with that.
2. Refuse to succumb to impulse anger. Walk away. Don't take the bait. Get some fresh air. It is not cowardly to walk away from no-win anger trap.
3. Realize who is the one really in danger. You may be angry at situations that warrant concern, but your anger is eating YOU alive. The situation may not change. You may be the one in real trouble.
4. Bring your anger to Jesus. Get it under the influence of the Holy Spirit. Let God deal with it. Yield your emotions to Him and let Him regulate your internal thermostat.
5. If you have bad anger, repent of it. Put that fire OUT. It will burn your house down.
6. If you have good anger, allow it to direct you into redemptive action. Allow God to channel your anger toward solutions rather than just sitting there stewing about it.
Many social commentators of our day have said that ANGER IS EPIDEMIC. From road rage to heart attacks, anger is taking a toll. Make a commitment to God today to handle your God-given emotions in a way that will lead you into a new day of peace. "Be angry and sin not."