TO CHEW ON: "So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God." James 1:19,20
Any Christian who struggles with losing their temper has probably noticed, pondered, even memorized the above verses.
[The word translated wrath is the Greek word orge. It means anger, the natural disposition, temper, movement or agitation of the soul, impulse, desire, any violent emotion but especially anger.
The dictionary defines anger: a strong feeling of annoyance, displeasure, or hostility.]
But anger has many shades. We can see its range when we look at a list of synonyms. Here is only a partial list from Dictionary.com: acrimony, animosity, annoyance, antagonism, blow up, cat fit, enmity, exasperation, fury, hatred, hissy fit, huff, impatience, indignation, irritability, outrage, peevishness, petulance, resentment, stew, temper, violence.
The Bible talks about anger in many places.
- Naaman's anger almost kept him from being healed -2 Kings 5:11.
- The anger of Sanballat, Tobiah & Co. over Nehemiah rebuilding the Jerusalem wall led to focused prayer, renewed vigilance by the builders and eventual success - Nehemiah 4:7.
- Jonah's anger at God not destroying Nineveh led to God teaching him a lesson under the hot Nineveh sun - Jonah 4:1-11.
- The writers of Psalms and Proverbs say about anger:
- It causes harm - Psalm 37:8.
- It is foolish - Proverbs 14;7; Ecclesiastes 7:9.
- Self control is noble - Proverbs 16:32; 19:11.
- Anger is a liability in friendship - Proverbs 22:24.
- Jesus pronounced harsh judgment against people who curse others in anger - Matthew 5:22.
- Paul named anger as one of the works of the flesh to put off - Colossians 3:8.
- He also listed a quick temper as a quality that disqualified a person for church leadership - Titus 1:7.
I love how the Amplified Bible puts meat on the bones of what anger and its opposite look like:
"Let everyone be quick to hear [be a careful, thoughtful listener], slow to speak [patient, reflective, forgiving]; for the [resentful, deep seated] anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God [that standard of behaviour which He requires of us] - James 1:19,20 AMP.
The Bible minces no words about the danger of anger. It's definitely a red light emotion for the Christian!
PRAYER: Dear Father, help me to recognize when anger is growing in me and to deal with the self-centered attitudes that are so often at its root. Amen.
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Scripture quotations marked AMP are taken from the Amplified® Bible,
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Used by permission." (www.Lockman.org)