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Points to Ponder: If Anger Rules, Guess Who Isn't?
Points to Ponder
If Anger Rules, Guess Who Isn't?
By Pastor Whitmore
Weekly Contributing Writer
Are you mad? I don't mean crazy mad, but mad as in hot with anger. Have you ever been so angry that it did sort of make you crazy? No one could reason with you (if they tried, you got angry at them). You just couldn't think straight. You found that the emotions boiled within you to the point that you couldn't focus on anything else. Been there?
Some people are functionally angry. They do their work, fulfill their obligations, and can even drive at the speed limit (some of us can't get that when we're at peace with the world); however, there is a simmering fire under their outwardly calm countenance.
What makes you angry? Injustice against you or another? When someone you trusted fails to keep his/her word? Do you get angry at yourself because you messed up or failed to reach the expected standard? Some people can be set off by almost anything, it seems. Such folks are difficult to get near because of the danger of having your head shot off by an angry outburst. Anger is a powerful emotion. Scripture says it's acceptable to be angry; but the power it wields can harm or even destroy.
The Apostle Paul instructs the Ephesians in "putting off the old man' to practice behaviors which are evident of the new man, the newly born, saved person.
"Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil." (Ephesians 1:26-27 NKJV).
When you are out of control, the devil will gladly hop into the driver's seat of your heart and play games with your mind. You will be thinking all kinds of useless and destructive things, inspired by your anger. And the anger will fuel itself and get even hotter. So Paul says, in citing Psalm 4:4, do not let these feelings fester. Deal with the issue before bed time.
Some people are perpetually angry, even to the point of exuding hostility. I have had such persons in congregations we served and in a community Bible Study I have led. I enjoy the exchange of ideas and debating the deeper meaning of scripture. I have learned and enjoy learning from those who see a Bible passage differently. But often in the exchange of ideas and perceptions, these persons will fire back (often in writing) a personal attack against me rather than against the idea I had shared. I regret that. I have often learned from people who disagree with me. Hostility, however, conveys no measure of Christlikeness even if the truth is present.
In the Psalm from which Paul quoted, the complete verse is insightful for me:
"Be angry and do not sin. Meditate within your heart on your bed and be still." (Psalm 4:4).
It's okay to be angry, just don't let it compel you to react. A reaction inspired by anger is probably not inspired by the Lord and so you will wind up with sinful thinking leading to sinful actions.
David offers a better alternative: Meditate within your heart. Someone has said that to meditate is to think God's thoughts after Him. How do you do that? Know His Word by regularly being in His Word so that the Holy Spirit can call forth to your consciousness a word of the Lord which befits your situation.
"Your word I have hidden in my heart that I might not sin against You." (Psalm 119:11 NKJV).
As you reflect on the cause behind your anger, meditate on your bed. In other words, relax, be quiet, and let the Holy Spirit speak to your heart through the Word. Perhaps, if you will wait for Him long enough, He will reveal to you that there is another reason for why you are angry. What you think it is, on the surface, is merely triggering in you something that's been there for awhile; you just never dealt with it.
Our emotions are so strong and offer such a powerful defense against the slings and arrows of life that we may tend to trust them too much. In fact, for some people, Christ cannot be the Lord of their lives because their emotions are ruling their hearts. They trust their perceptions and feelings.
David says deal with your anger in quiet solitude. Simmer down. Answer the negative power flowing through you with a positive response.
"Offer the sacrifices of righteousness and put your trust in the Lord." (Psalm 4:5 NKJV)
How do we trust the Lord when a powerful (even justifiable) anger is pulling our heart strings? Offer the sacrifice of righteousness; do the right thing that you can do and trust God with the rest; " . . . for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God" (James 1:20 NKJV).
Ponder this principle today:
"If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, 'Vengeance is Mine, I will repay.' says the Lord." (Romans 12:18-19)
Hilltop Christian Fellowship, 12624 Trinity Church Drive, Clear Spring. Listen to Rev. Whitmore on WJEJ-1240 AM, Tues and Thurs at 10:45 a.m. & p.m. & Wed at 10:45 a.m. www.hilltopchristianfellowship.com.