Beware the Wrath of … (me)

Anger can destroy your marriage, your family, your job, and maybe even your life. It is without a doubt the number one destructive emotion – to others and yourself. 

Pinned to the Wall

King Saul stood head and shoulders above everyone in the kingdom. He was a success story until envy (the 2nd deadly sin) led him into anger. Do you remember the story?

As they were coming home, when David returned from striking down the Philistine, the women came out of all the cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet King Saul, with tambourines, with songs of joy, and with musical instruments. And the women sang to one another as they celebrated, 

                  “Saul has struck down his thousands, 
      and David his ten thousands.” 

And Saul was very angry, and this saying displeased him. He said, “They have ascribed to David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed thousands, and what more can he have but the kingdom?” And Saul eyed David from that day on. 
The next day a harmful spirit from God rushed upon Saul, and he raved within his house while David was playing the lyre, as he did day by day. Saul had his spear in his hand. And Saul hurled the spear, for he thought, “I will pin David to the wall.” But David evaded him twice. 

The last verse is the one that impresses me: “But David evaded him twice.” There is a lot of advice about anger in the Bible: “Be not quick in your spirit to become angry, for anger lodges in the bosom of fools” (Eccl. 7:9) Fits of anger are “works of the flesh” (Galatians 5:20). An angry man is precluded from becoming an elder (Titus 1:7). Jesus taught anger prepared a person for the fires of hell! (Matthew 5:21-24)

It seems like anger is particularly a problem for men. Look at Paul’s instructions for men and women in 1 Timothy 2 and fathers are to be careful not to “embitter” their children (Ephesians 6:4; Colossians 3:21).

“Everybody gets angry!”

Yes, there are degrees of anger – including “righteous indignation” (see John 2:10 ff.), but we are talking about an evil, uncontrolled anger: allowing your anger to cause mental, physical or emotional harm to yourself or others. Technically, when anger explodes, it is called “wrath.”

Causes of Anger

If you want to deal with your anger, you must admit to yourself: your anger problems are no one else’s fault. Did you know that most abusers describe themselves as “victims”? Rule number one is “You are responsible for your actions (and reactions).”

Why do you get so angry? Could it be you are spoiled? Are you a bully? Do you force you will on everyone else? Do you how this sin is tied to the first deadly sin, pride?

Of course, there are many other reasons for anger. Injustice makes me mad! Unresolved grief is another major cause of anger. Finally, stress – the disease of our age – is another cause of anger. Recently, due to orders to remain at home during the pandemic, there has been a rise in cases of abuse, and couples who love each other dearly are finding their relationships strained to the breaking point.

Overcoming Anger

James, the brother of Jesus, reminds us “My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you” (James 1:19 – 21).

In other words, swap that quick fuse out for something patient. That happens when we seek the life of a disciple; when we learn to love. *

Be a Blessing!

(* Shameless plug for my new book, “The Stairway to Love” available on Amazon.com)

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