“For the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.” James 1:20
Sometimes I watch a car remodeling show in which a friend or relative steals or offers to fix their car. In reality they are having it restored to its original beauty. It takes a few days to accomplish this and to justify not returning the car the T.V. hosts come up with some creative stories. These stories usually causes the car owner to become extremely angry and the curse words start to fly. I often wonder how many of them are horrified at their display of anger when they see the show.
Recently I heard a lesson about Jonah being angry because God allowed a worm to attack the plant that was giving him shade. I thought why was Jonah so angry over a plant he had no control over? And wouldn’t you know it, that very same day, I experienced blinding anger over a situation in which I had no control.
After the situation was over, I realized I was just like Jonah. I had expectations that were not met. Jonah expected the plant to keep him in the shade for a long time and I expected to have a good day, free from hassle.
It’s the expectations we place on others and even God that are not met that cause us to become angry. To have anger is not sin, it is the way anger is handled that can become sin.
In Ephesians 4 Paul is teaching to put off the old self and put on the new self and in verse 26 he says “Be angry and do not sin…”
The Bible is full of examples of those displaying their anger, most in a selfish way, some in an unrighteous way, and few in a righteous way.
Moses is a great example of all three types of anger. He was selfish when he was angry with the Israelites for their constant complaining, misrepresenting God by hitting the rock instead of speaking to it. Numbers 20:10-13.
He was righteous in his anger when the Egyptian was beating the Israelite slave but unrighteous in his action of killing. Exodus 2:11-12.
He was righteous in his anger with Aaron and the Israelites when they made and worshipped a golden calf. And his actions were righteous when he separated the camp in order to purify it. Exodus 32:19-35.
Much like Moses I battled with anger throughout the years. Even though I have learned to be angry and still smile through it, I was still bothered over the fact that I had become so angry. I learned my anger was because I expected to have a trouble free life because I follow God.
God had been dealing with Moses about his anger for years. In the end his anger caused him to miss going into the promise land. Why was God so hard on him? Because he was God’s representative. When he struck the rock instead of speaking, he was showing the people God was angry with them for wanting water, not that God was a loving, forgiving, providing God.
We represent God in every action and in every word. What the unbeliever sees from you is exactly how they perceive God to be. We have the choice to show the world a loving and compassionate God or an angry God.
I have learned how to recognize anger at its onset. It shows up as a burning feeling of emotion. If you have a quick temper try to remember this scripture; Proverbs 29:11 “A fool gives vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control.”
Father, thank you for showing us the truth behind our anger and help us learn to control it. Help us show people you are a loving and compassionate God and not an angry God. In the name of Jesus, amen