Anger is a God-given emotional response that is usually tied to a goal, or a value, or an expectation. It usually ignites when we feel invalidated or rejected. It is expressed, depending on our personality, in two ways: by exploding or by imploding.
Righteous anger - This is anger directed at injustice. It is anger at acts that violate the gospel or at things that offend God. Ex…Jesus cleaning out the temple.
But let’s be honest for a minute. The vast majority of anger does not fall into the category of righteous indignation. I would guess that the vast majority of our anger is the result of having our own interests violated in one way or another.
James 1:19-20 - My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.
James gives us three things to work on:
• Be quick to listen
Have you ever been in an argument, and you were so focused on what you wanted to say next that you could not hearing what the other person was saying?
When you love and care your friend or your spouse you listen hard to what they are saying. If you respect your supervisor or your boss, you will listen. If you manage employees, you will listen if you care about them.
• Be slow to speak
We have to listen, because we really don’t know what to say until we have listened. Have you ever said something impetus and realized that you had spoken to quickly. Have you ever said something rash and off the cuff that made someone angry?
James says, a huge part of this equation is learning to be slow to speak. Someone said, God intended for us to listen twice as much as we speak since he gave us two ears and only one mouth.
• Slow to become angry
James is talking about “listening” and “speaking” in the same conversation as anger because communication is such a big part of anger, and how we respond to anger. If we can get better in our communication, we can reduce the anger we experience in our relationships.
When we show restraint, when we develop patience, when we are quick to listen and slow to speak we are being like God.
Today’s Challenge: In your anger take a “time out.” Get alone with God. Calm down. Determine why you are angry. Ask God how you should respond and what you should do. Ask God to calm your emotions.
Remember what he has done in your life. How can we receive grace and not give grace? How can we receive his love and not be loving? How can we receive God’s forgiveness and not forgive other people?
- What are the kinds of things that make you angry?
- Have you ever made excuses for your anger?
- How will you implement James' three-step strategy?
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