ANGRY OR NOT?
SCRIPTURE READING — PROVERBS 15:1-4
Proverbs 15:1 — A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
Consider a period when you were irritated by the actions of another person. Perhaps they passed you in the traffic and cut you off. Maybe they made a disparaging remark about someone else on social media. Or, it is possible that someone made you feel silly in front of your peers, which caused you to feel ashamed. It is simple to provide a retaliatory or defensive reaction in any of these scenarios.
But if we let our anger get the best of us and act out, we will simply make the issue much more difficult. Our fallen nature compels us to seek vengeance against the one who has wronged us, but the approach to conflict resolution that the Bible encourages us to take is more peaceful.
Today’s proverb directs our attention to the teachings of Jesus, who instructed His followers,
Matthew 11:29 — Take my yoke on you and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
One of the very rare instances that Jesus really mentioned qualities about Himself, is one of those times. He has a heart that is kind, humble and lowly.
As Jesus also demonstrated, there are times when it is appropriate to feel angry, such as in circumstances in which God is being ridiculed or injustice is being tolerated, although these instances are rare.
Mark 11:15-17 — Then they came to Jerusalem. Jesus entered the temple area and began to drive out those who were selling and buying in the temple courts. He turned over the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves, and he would not permit anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. Then he began to teach them and said, “Is it not written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have turned it into a den of robbers!”
In addition, Paul exhorts us not to sin in our anger,
Ephesians 4:26 — Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on the cause of your anger.
Psalms 4:4 — Tremble with fear and do not sin! Meditate as you lie in bed, and repent of your ways! (Selah)
This is how Jesus does His ministry. How may you reply calmly the next time someone provokes your anger?
Lord Jesus, I pray that you confer upon me humility and a kind spirit, so that I may reflect your love and wisdom to those who are in my midst. Remove my resentment so that I may become more like you. Amen.