“Cain was very angry” ~ Genesis 4:5
“Jacob became angry” ~ Genesis 30:2
“Moses was angry” ~ Exodus 16:20
“Moses became very angry” ~ Numbers 16:15
“Samuel was angry” ~ 1 Samuel 15:11
“Saul was angry” ~ 1 Samuel 18:8
“David was angry” ~ 1 Chronicles 13:11
I was a trifle irked today. Can you tell? A friend of mine ~ someone very dear to me ~ said something to me that I wish she hadn’t. And worse than just saying something not so nifty — what could be worse, you ask?
She said something about one of my kids. You wanna make a mom angry? Aim at her child.
Now, she certainly didn’t mean to be unkind. I know she didn’t. She’s crazy about my kid – she’s practically been a second mom. But there it was. The statement was made and I was livid. For about ten minutes, I alternated between pacing the floor, crying, and venting to the Apple of my Eye. I didn’t respond to her at all (her comment had been in print) but I thought of several things I could say.
Nothing unkind, you understand, just letting her know how she’d made me feel. You know, just honesty. That’s good between friends, right?
But after about ten minutes, I had given it to God. Just let it go. Which is good, although I’m not sure what I’m going to say to her the next time I see her. She’s probably going to bring it up, and I don’t know if I’m supposed to pretend I’m okay with it. That seems like lying. Is that the kind of lying God wants us to do? I don’t know…
So after I settled down, I started to give thought to the emotion of anger. I know a few verses off the top of my head, like Ephesians 4:26, “In your anger, do not sin,” and James 1:19: “everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.”
But when I looked to see what else Scripture had to say on the subject, I noticed two things. First of all, I noticed all those verses on the top of this post. Look at all of those amazing heroes of the Bible who knew well the feeling of anger!
I know, Saul doesn’t really count as a hero, but he was a good guy for awhile. And Cain wasn’t a hero, but he’s there because he’s the example of what happens if we disobey: “In your anger, do not sin.”
Anyhow, it reassured me to see righteous men feeling anger ~ some of it even directed at God!
The other thing I noticed was that most of the time, when I came across the words “anger” or “angry” in Scripture, it was talking about God. Maybe an indication that it’s an emotion that should be reserved for Him? Hmm…..
I was proud of myself today, because after only a few minutes, I had released my anger, and because I had obeyed the dictum in Ephesians ~ do not sin in your anger. But then I saw Matthew 5:22, when Jesus said, “I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgement,” so maybe I don’t have that much reason to be proud after all…
Anger is inescapable. Those of us with a long fuse have to deal with it less than those of us with a short fuse, but it’s there nonetheless. But the good news is, it’s there along with other things, like love, joy, and peace… like kindness, gentleness and goodness. All we have to do is let those win.