Tempers flare, words cut to the bone leaving emotional carnage in your wake. Determined to win, your heart fills with rage and your head is swimming in hatred. Hurtful and spiteful words line your tongue with deadly poison. Looking at your wife, realization sets in over the damage inflicted upon her. She hurls insults back at you and the devastation continues.
The world says that anger mixed with aggressive and violent rage is good and should be embraced. Fools believe that sinful living is the right path giving credence to the outcome of their lives: eternity without Jesus. Movies, television, social media, magazines and music all have genres specifically designed to perpetuate this mindset: an angry man gets things done at the cost of everyone and everything. These ‘heroes’ created out of the hearts of men display the antithesis of who God calls men to be.
The Bible tells us that God gets angry. As Moses spoke with the Gadites and Reubenites about their lack of following God wholeheartedly, the Lord’s anger burned against Israel and He made them wander the desert for 40 years (Numbers 32: 6-13). What should have taken four weeks ended up costing many of the men their lives away from the Promised Land because of their hard hearts. In all of this, God did not sin. Because He loves His people He will not allow them to behave sinfully and remain in His presence.
Living in freedom from our anger means we live for our God. He calls us as men to be wise in our decisions and upright in our relationships. What becomes fodder for our sinful nature is hurtful to others. A fool watches the world and envies those who have what he does not. Crazy celebrities become the standard in which we measure success, yet the hole within us cannot be quenched by the misdeeds of the world.
We must pick up our cross and die daily to ourselves as a reminder of what Jesus did for everyone, sinners one and all. It is surely an uphill battle wrought with temptations, persecutions and rejection, but with God all things are possible.
Paul implored the church in Ephesus to refuse to remain in anger, especially in the darkness where the enemy does his best work. “In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.” (Ephesians 4:26, 27, NIV) With rage in our hearts we allow foolish words to seep into the inner parts of our being where God resides if we’re in Christ. Knowing that He who is righteous and holy cannot remain where there is hate and evil, we must choose to let the anger within us be an alert system, not a system where others are alerted by our presence.
Pastor Rick Warren asked this very important question that deserves inquiry and self-examination, “Do you ever think about the fact that there is one letter difference between ‘anger’ and ‘danger’? When you get angry, you are in dangerous territory. You are about to hurt others – and yourself – with your own anger(1).”
(1) Excerpt from Daily Hope with Rick Warren, The Danger in Anger, viewed August 28, 2013.