“You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.” James 1:19-20 NLT
He was living on the street, so we decided to let him move in.
I hadn’t heard from my son in a while. Then one day my daughter informed my wife and me he was living on the streets. We made contact and invited him to live with us. Since he had been living a rough lifestyle-which included drug use, we established conditions. Not fully trusting him, we didn’t give him a key to our house. While we were at the grocery store one day, he called wanting us to hurry home so he could get in. After subsequent calls, my blood was raging by the time we arrived home. After a heated argument, I invited him to leave. My anger cooled quickly, but his took months. I wasn’t slow to speak, nor was I slow to get angry.
Anger is an often misunderstood emotion. Knowing some facts helps us deal with it in a healthy way.
Fact 4: Anger divides the mind. During the short time my son lived with us, neither my wife nor I could focus on anything but our situation. We constantly worried about what he might do next. We lived in a state of tension. When anger preoccupies my mind, I can’t focus on spiritual things. My nearness to God-along with my ability to hear His Spirit speaking to mine, diminishes. I can’t think about two things at once, so when anger has me dwelling on one thing, I’ll be avoiding everything else.
Fact 5: Anger steals focus. This aspect flows from the previous. Anger divides my mind causing me to dwell on the situation that has angered me. Satan plays in my mind, keeping my thoughts focused on the person or circumstances. As long as he can keep me focused there, he can keep me from focusing on what God wants me to do.
Fact 6: Anger eats physically, spiritually, and emotionally. My body isn’t compartmentalized. What eats at me emotionally-anger in this case, will affect my physical well being if I don’t process it quickly. And when I’m in emotional and physical turmoil, my spiritual life will suffer. I may blame God, neglect God, or ignore God.
Ask God to help you be slow to speak and slow to get angry.
Prayer: Father, when people or circumstances aggravate us, direct us to You for comfort and guidance rather than toward an angry spirit.
Martin Wiles Hodges, South Carolina, USA