This is the eighth blog in this series on love according to 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
God doesn’t tell us anywhere in the Bible that we should never feel anger. In fact, Mark 10:14 says that Jesus was indignant when He saw His disciples rebuke those who were bringing children to Him to bless.
There are two kinds of anger. There is a righteous and an unrighteous. The righteous anger stands up for what is right. The unrighteous anger fights against what is right.
The righteous anger lasts only a moment because it’s filled with love and mercy. For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime…. Psalm 30:5
The unrighteous anger continues and grows stronger because it’s filled with sin. Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.” Genesis 4:6-7
If we don’t deal with our anger, it will continue to build up until we finally explode. The more we allow it to grow in us the stronger it becomes.
I used to be a very angry person. In fact, my husband’s nickname for me used to be “Angry A.” Praise God I’ve changed, but I still have to be careful because I can easily fall back into it. If I don’t deal with my anger it will gradually build up in me.
We deal with our anger by paying attention to what irritates and easily provokes us, and asking God to help us in that area. For me, I’d find myself easily angered when my plans would suddenly change. I had to practice keeping my peace whenever something came up that would ruin my plans. The more I practiced and relied on God to help me, the less it became a struggle.
Another area that would trigger my anger was with keeping up the housework. A woman told me one time that her husband said he’d rather have a nice wife to come home to instead of a clean house. My husband would agree. I had to let some things go and not allow myself to stress out by trying to keep a perfect house. As I did, the calmer I became and the happier my family was.
Another area I found myself being quick to anger was when I was around someone else who was angry. It’s easy to hold our anger when we’re around people who are sweet and kind, but it’s not so easy when they’re not so kind.
Proverbs 15:1 says, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”
In my years of being a server, I frequently came across rude customers. For many years I would naturally respond the same in return, which only fueled their anger and mine and never ended well. Once I started walking with God, He started convicting me to be polite and friendly to everyone, no matter what. This wasn’t easy to do at first, but the more I did it, the more amazed I was at how I had the power to change the situation.
When someone was rude and hard to please, I would just smile more and give them the best service regardless. By the end of the meal, when they realized they couldn’t upset me and I provided them with good service, their attitude would change. I’d see their attitude calm down because I gave them nothing to fuel it. Experiencing positive results made me determined not to give fuel to someone else’s anger. As I did this, I realized I needed to be doing it outside of work as well.
Galatians 5:15 says, “If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.”
My husband was the least angry person I knew. But being around “Angry A” for so many years, I started rubbing off on him. For the first half of our marriage we’d just feed off each other and our problems would escalate. When we’d argue, walls would get punched out, things would get broken, sentimental items would get destroyed. My husband even ended up in the hospital one time because he cut himself breaking something during one of our fights. If God hadn’t stepped in to help us we would’ve completely destroyed our marriage and each other.
When we don’t deal with our anger we leave the door wide open to the enemy who seeks to destroy us. Ephesians 4:26-27 says, “When angry, do not sin; do not ever let your wrath (your exasperation, your fury or indignation) last until the sun goes down. Leave no [such] room or foothold for the devil [give no opportunity to him]” (AMP).
God gives us a whole day to work out our feelings of anger and to deal with it before we go to bed. He doesn’t want us to wake up with it the next day because the more we hold on to it, the more it builds up, and the stronger it becomes.
You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.
Amanda Beth is a wife and mother of four children, and author of an upcoming book titled: YOU CAN HAVE A HAPPY FAMILY Steps to Enjoying Your Marriage and Children. She has been married for 14 years and has experienced transformation in her life and marriage since she surrendered her heart to Christ ten years ago. http://www.amandabeth.net/