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January 16, 2022 | Doug Sauder
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“Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; do not fret—it only causes harm.”—Psalm 37:8 (NKJV)
When I was growing up, I grappled with anger issues. During my teenage years and up into adulthood, my anger reached its peak. I can even remember a season while dating my wife Christine and her giving me a nickname, "the Incredible Hulk." She affectionately called me that based on how I responded to different circumstances in anger.
The truth about anger is that it’s a human emotion. What we do as a result of this emotion determines if we are sinning or if we are experiencing "righteous indignation."
Let's look to Jesus as a case in point. The Bible tells us that Jesus, out of anger, began to drive out the money changers from the temple (Matthew 21:12). We know that Jesus walked in perfection and did not sin; therefore, this type of anger is considered righteous indignation. Does this mean we should become angry often or about every little thing? Certainly not! Psalm 37 says anger can cause us harm. And James 1:19 (NIV) says, “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.”
I believe the best use of anger is to channel it into something positive. One example is Pastor Doug Sauder. His righteous indignation about how kids were being neglected inspired him to start 4KIDS of South Florida. Scripture is full of examples of righteous anger as well as good or justice as a result of this emotion.
Anger is definitely something that can easily turn into sin if we are not cautious. If you are struggling with unhealthy or sinful anger like I was, I encourage you to pray and ask Jesus to help you overcome your anger by flooding your heart with love. Proverbs 10:12 says that hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all sins. In other words, if you’re dealing with a past hurt that causes you anger, ask Jesus to help free you from that pain through forgiveness and love. I can testify that this really works. Because of my wife’s many prayers and my time spent seeking Jesus diligently about my anger problem, I have been able to harness my emotions of sinful anger!
DIG: Read Proverbs 14:17, 16:32, 17:9, and Ecclesiastes 7:9.
DISCOVER: Are you harboring bitterness because of anger or hurt you have experienced?
DISPLAY: Even as God in Christ forgave you, be willing to forgive others. If your anger has caused you to sin against God or someone else, you may need to ask for forgiveness. Now, walk in the newness of the Lord.