Holy People Are Slow to Anger
In a Wall Street Journal article published a few years ago, a columnist observed that outrage has become the signature emotion of American life, that America has become addicted to outrage. He contended that members of healthy societies reserve outrage for special occasions such as Pearl Harbor and the World Trade Center attacks. Today, however, he said that many Americans become indignant at very slight provocations, particularly when things don’t go their way.
As Christ’s imitators, we must be different from the world as God is different from the world (1Pe 1:14-16). The gospels report few instances of Jesus’ anger. He was angry at the corruption he saw in the temple (Joh 2:14-17; Mat 21:12,13). He was angry and grieved at the Pharisees’ hardness of heart (Mar 3:1-5). Jesus was angry when God was dishonored and others were harmed. Jesus patiently endured personal mistreatment, however (Mat 12:18-20), knowing that through his sacrifice, humanity would be saved.
James tells us that, like Jesus, we should be a people slow to anger. “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness that God requires.” (Jam 1:19-20)
If we are righteously angered by sin, we should channel our energy to bring healing and do good rather than evil. “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.” (Eph 4:26-27)
With practice, we will get better at controlling anger. Like a muscle, self-control gets stronger with exercise.
Let’s not participate in the fury so common today. Let’s be peacemakers, and let’s be sons and daughters of God (Mat 5:9). -Paul