Our theme for this month: “Character and Integrity”
Our Bible verse for today: “My dear brothers and sisters, understand this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger, for human anger does not accomplish God’s righteousness.” James 1:19 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “Control your anger”
I once knew a man who was prone to explosive outbursts of anger. He had a very short fuse and could be easily set off. And when he was, look out! He would roar in fury, he would pound the table, he would throw things, slam doors, punch walls, and sometimes hit people. He was a menace to be around and he made life uncertain and unsafe for his family.
A person like that has a deep character flaw at least, but probably serious psychological problems as well. Uncontrolled anger isn’t normal. It’s also not scriptural. The Bible teaches us to control our anger. In fact, the more spiritually mature you are, the better able you will be to control your anger.
When James writes that “human anger does not accomplish God’s righteousness”, he’s drawing a distinction between “human anger” and “righteous anger”. Anger isn’t always bad. Some things should make us angry. Exploitation of the poor; child molestation; abortion; human trafficking; elected officials violating the public trust. There are things that should make us angry. But in such cases, our anger should be under our control and properly channeled. Jesus was angry that the money changers had defiled the house of the Lord (Matthew 21:12-17). But He controlled His anger and channeled it in a proper and constructive way by overturning the tables and clearing the flea market out of the Temple. This was righteous anger. It was anger for an appropriate reason, but under control and properly channeled.
Inappropriate human anger manifests itself in many forms. It can be explosive, as in my example above, but it can also be silent and seething. It can involve outbursts and shouting, or it can take the form of sullen withdrawal and resentment. “Human anger”, as James meant it, is always inappropriate and sinful. “Righteous anger” is always for an appropriate reason, and it is under control and properly channeled.
From time to time we all struggle with the various forms of human anger. It’s a character flaw that we all share to varying degrees, and it’s also a deficiency in our spiritual maturity. Therefore, it’s something that a growing and maturing Christian will want to get a handle on and learn to overcome. The best resource I have ever found to help with anger management is the Bible study called “The Anger Management Workbook” by Les Carter and Frank Minirth. You can order it online and I’m certain you will find it to be informative and helpful.
I encourage you to learn the difference between human anger and righteous anger, and then learn to properly control your anger.