You Won’t Like Me When I’m Angry…
James 1:19,20 Let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.
I generally don’t think of anger as one of my primary defects, which may be why I act so badly when it does surface. When I do get angry, it is as though rage is a drug coursing through my veins, changing my behavior into something that I despise. I may not turn green or have superhuman strength, but when I indulge in anger, I say things that are super-stupid and super-destructive. This may not happen frequently, but when it does happen, it of course is usually with those I love the most.
Anger is one of those defects with which it is remarkably easy for me to blame others. If I eat too much, it is my own appetite that is to blame. If I am angry however, it is because you made me this way!
Everyone is frustrating me today… I am surrounded by idiots… People are so difficult… It may of course be that people are difficult and stupid (we are), but if I am angry with every person I meet and every person I meet is a jerk, it usually means that I am, in fact, the jerk.
I have met those who take this one step further and blame God for their anger. They are fond of recalling that one time when Jesus got mad (Matthew 21). Even Jesus got angry when those around him were acting badly… I doubt very much that Jesus lost control and said/did things that He did not mean. I doubt very much that our anger is ever righteous. We are far to defective to wield anger without behaving badly, no matter how right we are.
It is of course, in our rightness that we feel the most justified in our anger. When I am right and you are wrong, it is your ignorance that is causing my anger, right? As it turns out, I can be right 100% of the time (I doubt that is the case) but still act like a complete jerk in my anger. I can be completely right in my facts and remain completely wrong in my behavior.
I need to accept that my anger produces death and destruction. The anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God, no matter how right or justified I think I am. Anger, like all of my defects, focuses on self. I have been wronged! I am right! As with my other defects, it is my responsibility to do whatever it takes to take my eyes off of self and turn my gaze to God. My anger needs to be crucified and turned over to God daily.