Thursday, July 12, 2007

One of Satan's Most Destructive Tools

“A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control” (Prov. 29.11) That is the assessment of the wise man of Proverbs. He adds, “A fool shows his annoyance at once, but a prudent man overlooks an insult” (12.16). And, “A fool is hotheaded and reckless. A quick-tempered man does foolish things” (15.16-17).

The Bible is filled with the folly of angry men. Cain killed his brother in anger. An angry King Saul relentlessly pursued David. Anger, among other evils, fueled Jezebel. In their anger, the chief priests and Pharisees sought to have Jesus killed.

Anger is a powerful weapon in Satan’s hands. Paul warns, “In your anger do not sin: do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold” (Eph. 4.26-27). Anger that is left unchecked and unresolved can lead to great tragedy—violent outbursts, physical harm, emotional stress, family heartache, strained relationships, destroyed reputations.

Jesus taught about the danger of anger, most notably in his Sermon on the Mount. He equates the unchecked emotion of anger with murder, teaching that anger must be quickly resolved.
Among the first qualities given of an elder is that he is to be “temperate, self-controlled...gentle, not quarrelsome” (1 Tim. 3.2). To Titus, Paul instructs, an elder is to be “not over-bearing, not quick-tempered …self-controlled… disciplined” (1.7-8).

I struggle with my anger. Perhaps you do, as well. Let us strive to be even-tempered, showing the character of Christ in our relationships and in our dealings with one another, for anger is out of place in God’s family.