On the Go
Steve LayEvangelist, Chouteau Hills Church of Christ
In the early days of television, there were many comedy shows. On one program, one of the characters came out in a heavy coat on a hot summer day. When asked why he was wearing the coat, he explained to his partner that he was hiding two sticks of dynamite under it. He was going to fix a fellow who had the annoying habit of jabbing him on the chest whenever they talked. He said, “When he thumps me this time, I’m going to blast his finger off!” But the man was overlooking what he would do to himself.
Anger, like dynamite, is explosive. It can cause much damage, so it must be handled with care. Not only can it hurt others, but it often destroys the person who harbors the anger. Anger often causes more problems than it solves. Therefore, just like dynamite, it must be handled with care.
Solomon wrote in Proverbs 14:29, “He who is slow to wrath has great understanding, but he who is impulsive exalts folly.” He added in Proverbs 19:11, “The discretion of a man makes him slow to anger, and his glory is to overlook a transgression.” These are the words of a wise man, and if we are wise, we will pay attention to them.
It is important to realize that it is not a sin to be angry. Paul wrote in Ephesians 4:26, “Be angry, and do not sin: do not let the sun go down on your wrath.” The Bible tells us of several times when God was angry, and it also tells of occasions when Jesus was angry. Obviously, they did not sin; therefore, it is not a sin to be angry.
But we should notice that Jesus never became angry at what people did to Him personally. 1 Peter 2:23 tells us that when He was reviled, He “did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously.” When you consider all the terrible ways Jesus was mistreated and abused, you realize how amazing this is. He did not try to retaliate. As the prophet predicted, He did not even open His mouth. Jesus remained calm every time He was abused or mistreated. The reason He could do that was because He totally emptied Himself; He had perfect humility. He was more concerned about other people than He was about Himself.
It is when man thinks about himself, his rights and his privileges, that anger usually gets him into trouble. Anger tempts a person to say and do things that he will later regret. Words and actions that are done in a moment of anger will often create wounds that will last for many years. James 1:19 says, “So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.” We should heed that advice.
It takes wisdom and self-control to handle anger. It only takes one letter to turn the word, anger, into danger. And the longer one is angry, the more dangerous it is. Rather than nursing anger so that it becomes a simmering resentment, we should get over our anger as quickly as possible. Solomon wrote in Proverbs 17:14, “The beginning of strife is like releasing water; therefore stop contention before a quarrel starts.”
Anger has repercussions. While it may bring harm to others, it may very well totally destroy the one who has the anger. The wise thing for us to do is to put away all bitterness, wrath, anger, and malice. Take Paul’s advice found in Romans 12. Don’t repay evil for evil. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Do not avenge yourselves, but trust God to take care of it. Vengeance belongs to God, and He will always do the right thing.
Beware of the danger of anger! Don’t let it destroy you.