These, and other like internal or external responses, are reactions that I am sure that we have all expressed or felt in part or in whole at some time or another. So many things can stir up that tiny flame of anger in our heart. Someone takes something that belongs to you. Perhaps someone is spreading false rumors about you. Your plans that you had made were changed against your will. These, and other similar circumstances, all can provoke us to anger . . . to sin according to the flesh instead of exhibiting the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:19-23)*.
Proverbs is a book that is replete with instruction in regards to anger. Anger is shown to be the cause of many things including strife and further transgressions: “An angry man stirs up strife, and a hot-tempered man abounds in transgression” Proverbs 29:22 (also Proverbs 30:33). But the child of God is called to respond not according to the flesh, but according to the spirit and righteousness. By doing so, instead of anger being the fruit borne, peace and love abounds which is pleasing to the Father:
-“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Proverbs 15:1
-“A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but the slow to anger calms a dispute.” Proverbs 15:18
-“He who is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who is quick-tempered exalts folly.” Proverbs 14:29
Before going further, it is important to realize the root cause of anger. We can keep pulling off the ‘leaves’ of the problem, but if the root is not removed, no gains will have been made in this area. When we examine the causing agents of anger, we see that it stems from the thought that we have been wronged; something is done against us or against what we feel is right or best; our plans, our desires, are set aside and considered secondary by others. Do you see what the focus is here? It is ourselves. It is setting our minds on our own things and not the things of others. This is a direct conflict with what is instructed in Philippians 2 and elsewhere in Scripture. If we forget ourselves, forsaking our own desires and needs to serve our Lord and Savior and to then in turn serve and bless others, where would anger have a place? This is called denying self. Christ has commanded that " 'If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me’ ” (Mark 8:24). Denying ourselves so that we can serve the Lord is the only means to overcome anger and its cousins.
In Colossians 3:8, we are commanded to “put . . . aside: anger, wrath, malice . . .” and again in Ephesians 4:31-32 “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” This is action on our part (and goes hand in hand with denial of self) that must take place before victory can be made in overcoming the anger which destroys. As we yield and relinquish our will to the Lord’s will, He will give us the strength to respond in a righteous manner.
Each time that a situation arises that can provoke to anger, we are faced with a choice. And which will we choose? To protect and defend our own perceived ‘rights’, or to follow in obedience our Lord and Savior by displaying a true and godly love that brings glory to the Father?
-Posted by Sarah