September 08, 2011

Bad Anger

Ephesians 4:25-32; Matthew 5:22

Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools.
Ecclesiastes 7:9


I was talking with some children about anger, and we agreed that sometimes we get angry and sometimes people get angry with us. But calling someone a name like “You fool!” when we get angry is never a good thing..

Jesus’ point in Matthew 5 is not simply about name calling; it’s about relationships. The energy behind bad anger is not about loving others—it’s about loving oneself. It’s the kind of anger that cares more about venting or reacting or expressing one’s hurt, or diminishing someone else, than about serving the cause of a neighbor.

There’s a lot of bad anger around, and it’s the kind that leads to sin because it tends to unleash destructive energy. Sometimes our anger is simply about wanting someone else to feel pain because they have made us feel pain.

We have to ask ourselves, What do we get angry about? Do we get angry about the things that anger a just and holy God? And do we express that anger in healthy, constructive ways?

Most of us will get angry this week. But will that anger generate energy that breaks down relationships, rather than restoring them? If it does, we’re entering dangerous territory. That’s Jesus’ take on things—and Jesus was no fool.

Lord, your Word warns us that anger can give the devil a foothold. If there is any such foothold in my life, please help me remove it. If I have been wronged, help me to find a wise way toward restoration. Amen.

About the author — Henry Kranenburg

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