Anger Management
by Jon Walker

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. (James 1:19-20 NLT)

The slammed door, the “looks could kill” stare, the menacing tone, the threatening language. The silence, the cold shoulder, the eyes that flash, the pointed finger, the blaming phrase.

These behaviors all emerge from our anger. They’re weapons of the flesh that we employ, faithless in the belief that God can and will handle the situations we face.

As knights of old drew their swords, we pull out these weapons when we believe we’ve been wronged or when we see something wrong.

In and of itself, anger is not a sin. It’s an emotion, and our capacity for emotions comes from God. It’s what we do with anger that becomes a sin. The Gospels report the righteous anger of Jesus as he cleared the temple.

We often see our anger as justified when, in fact, it is self-righteous. Or anger may be an appropriate emotion for the moment, but instead of relying on God’s weapons of the spirit, we instead grab for the nearest weapon of the flesh.

God’s anger management techniques are extraordinarily simple and practical (which doesn’t mean they’re easy). He says the first thing you need to understand is that he’s in control. Your anger will not bring about the right things of God. In fact, your anger may push you into decisions and actions that are independent of God, perhaps even counter-productive to God.

It’s God’s job to change people, to get them to do the right thing. It’s not your responsibility to change your wife or husband, your friend or next-door-neighbor. That’s God’s job, and you are his ambassador, not his Mafia muscle.

What now?

· Slow to anger – Your anger will not bring about God’s plans. Give your anger to God, rather than “giving it” to someone else. It requires faith to believe God is handling an aggravating or egregious situation. “Lord, I believe, help my unbelief.”

· Slow to speak – You may have been taught to count to ten when you’re angry so you won’t rush into saying or doing something you later regret. One thing to remember as you count: The person you’re angry at is a fallen child of God, and God can take care of his own children. Besides that, if that person is a Christian, then the same Spirit that works within you also is working within your adversary. It may not appear to be so, but God has access to you both!

· Quick to listen – That means you’re trying to understand the other person. Maybe the conflict isn’t one of the heart, but one of the head – that is, you’re in agreement, but you’re going about it in different ways. Being a peacemaker doesn’t mean you agree to anything just to keep the peace. As an ambassador of Christ, you’re called to initiate the peace process – just as God initiated the process of peace with us, even when we were still sinners.

© 2007 Jon Walker. All rights reserved.



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