Mark’s provocative title helped us to look at the topic of anger. Last night’s focus was on our anger; the next Bible study will be on God’s anger, with the homework to consider the question ‘What makes God angry?’
We live in an age of rage, where anger is visible all around us. By studying anger and its power, we can learn self-control so that we do not lose our temper when frustrated or annoyed. Anger can be defused at times by our understanding of circumstances and by our calm response; it can also be defused through love and forgiveness.
Different things cause us to be angry. James 1:19-20 TNIV advises us on how to avoid anger: by being quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. Our anger does not bring about the rightous life that God requires. Our anger usually escalates tense situations and makes things worse.
Eph 4:31-32 TNIV shows us the proper reaction we should have: being kind, compassionate, forgiving. Romans 12:19-21 TNIV takes it a step further, urging us not to take revenge but to show mercy to our enemeis. We are not to be overcome by evil (or by anger), but to overcome evil (and anger) with good.
Matthew 5:22 TNIV urges us not to be angry with our brothers and not to judge them. Anger so easily leads to sin, even though it may not be sinful in itself. Anger, if uncontrolled, can lead to foolish words (and even filthy language) – see Colossians 3:8 TNIV.
Ps 4:4 TNIV gives us good advice to cool down, to lie on our beds, search our hearts and take time out to reflect. Prov 22:24-25 TNIV also gives good advice, urging us to avoid spending too much time with hot-tempered people. Ps 37:8 TNIV also warns of the dangers of anxiety, for fretting often leads to anger and sin.
Christian ways to avoid anger include:
1) having gentle answers to defuse wrath (Prov 15:1 TNIV)
2) being patient (Prov 15:18 TNIV)
3) seeking calm and searching our own hearts first (Ps 4:4 TNIV) – often we need to identify what it is that is really eating away at us!
4) learning not to sin while we are angry (Eph 4:26-27TNIV).
5) learning the way of love, which is the perfect answer to anger (1 Cor 13:4-5 TNIV). If we have the love of God in us and working through us, it will be directed towards other.
6) worship and prayer (1 Tim 2:8 TNIV).