By Benjamin H. Liles
A gentle answer will calm a person’s anger, but an unkind answer will cause more anger. People with quick tempers cause trouble, but those who control their tempers stop a quarrel.
~ Proverbs 15:1, 18, Expanded
I have to admit to this major flaw I have. I do get angry. More than often my wife and I have a conversation and I end up feeling hurt and thus get angry. Does this happen to you as it does me? If it does, don't think you're alone. A lot of people have this problem. James, one of Jesus' brothers, said, "What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask" (James 4:1-2, New American Standard).
I also want to add on that most times that people fight has to do with pride. We can say, along with Solomon, "Pride comes before destruction, and an arrogant spirit before a fall" (Proverbs 16:18, Holman Christian Standard). At the same time we can be angry without it leading us to sin. Think on this a moment, would you be angry over the neglect of children, the elderly, the treatment of elders or elderly? I know i would. I have an extreme intolerance of people mistreating others for their own benefit or gain.
I have this question for you, my reader: how would you handle a parent who walks away from their vehicle to leave their child in without air or no window cracked open? You'd be angry over that I'm sure. Maybe you'd be angry over a pet owner who doesn't tend to their pet well. Maybe their pet is in the same situation as a child in a closed up car. Me? I'd smash a window, regardless of being prosecuted. I'd rather extend justice and mercy where it wasn't exercised to benefit and encourage those who need it.
Jesus said it best: "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance" (Mark 2:17, New King James). Jesus got angry more than once, but His heart was moved toward those who needed a healing touch. He regarded those who didn't care about extending mercy, grace or truth as being "snakes, vipers, brood of vipers," and "white washed tombs" (see Matthew 23:27, 33). Paul wrote, "For He says to Moses: "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion" (Romans 9:15, Berean Study; Paul's comment on Exodus 33:19).
I do believe we can be angry and not sin. When we get angry over an injustice done it is called righteous indignation. God exercises it all the time. Now here's where Biblical teaching, faith in God, and how I live my life comes into play. I do my best to live the way I say I believe. I extend love and mercy the best way I know how. I may not always be a peacemaker, but I give it my best shot with the Lord's help. But I want to show how God truly is toward His people.
We all, and I mean myself too, believe and thing God is overbearing, far off, or non-existent due to our misunderstanding of how He deals with us. This part of God's attribute comes from the article The Wrath of God: "The wrath of God is His eternal detestation of all unrighteousness. It is the displeasure and indignation of Divine equity against evil. It is the holiness of God stirred into activity against sin. It is the moving cause of that just sentence which He passes upon evil-doers. No, while God will vindicate His dominion as Governor of the universe, He will not be vindictive."
When God sent Israel to the invading army of Assyria to be dispersed, He also allowed Babylon to cart of the remainder of Israel, particularly the descendants of the line of King David. On both sides of the primary characteristics of Israel they weren't following God anymore. They allowed idol worship, they refused to help the elderly, to encourage or help those in need. They despised one another, sold off relatives to nations; those who were in debt to them (for example, say a father who needed food for his home, selling off a daughter into slavery). It was these things God got angry with His people.
And for a time, God dealt with Israel, His people, in this manner. But also He talked about His deep love for them. "I will betroth you to Me forever; yes, I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and in justice, In loving-kindness and in compassion, And I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness.
Then you will know the Lord" (Hosea 2:19-20, New American Standard). God said this about Israel, directly after He said, "For their mother has played the harlot; she who conceived them has acted shamefully. For she said, ‘I will go after my lovers, Who give me my bread and my water, My wool and my flax, my oil and my drink.’ Therefore, behold, I will hedge up her way with thorns, and I will build a wall against her so that she cannot find her paths" (Hosea 2:5-6).
Just as God will not tolerate unrighteousness, sin, and any selfish motive, neither do we. It is better to expose corruption for what it is, in order to bring healing and reconciliation than it is to remain silent. I say this because here in America there is a tide of bullying happening in our school systems. Is it right for one child to beat up another for some silly thing or another? This is basically what Israel was doing to her own. Not only that Israel was withholding the Lord's favor and blessings to others. It's just plain wrong to be shameful, lewd, improper, hateful, and mean-spirited.
To conclude this I have this to say: we ought to be so Heaven minded, so devoted to God and His tender mercies that it overrides our sinful nature. Jesus told countless people whom He healed, "See, you are well. Do not sin anymore, so that something worse doesn't happen to you" (John 5:14; also see John 8:11). By allowing sin in our lives, we are saying, "No" to God. We're saying we know better then He does. I'd rather He be in my life, not only showing me how to live, but how to extend His mercy and grace toward others. May this bless and encourage you to being proactive in your walk with Jesus Christ, Lord and Savior.
Father, You are holier than I can ever hope to believe or even fulfill on my own. I ask that You always give me a word: not just for my well-being, but also to build up and encourage others to want Your will in their lives. I put off everything that hinders me from You. I lay down my pride, my ego, everything that isn't of You has got to go. I rather Your righteousness, Your mercy, and Your grace be evident, not only in and through my life, but to bless others. I want You high and lifted up. May Your praise and glory always be on my lips, dwelling in this body, Your temple. In Jesus' holy and precious name I pray. Amen.