We live in a world where every person has a right to freedom of speech, and boy oh boy, does everyone use this right. Every person has something to say, something to shout or something to scream. However, what is concerning is that what is being said, shouted or screamed, is normally insults, or words of discontentment as a result of anger. We live in a world where desires of the majority of the people are not met, resulting in anger. People are either getting what they believe they do not deserve or not getting what they believe, they deserve, the result is anger. Most of the time, because of this anger, the behavior of people or their response are both ungodly and sinful. what does the bible say about anger?
James 1:19–20 (ESV): 19 Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; 20 for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.
James begins a new topic here in verse 19, with an imperative ”Know this”. The greek word translated here as ”know this”, also means to comprehend, to understand, to take in. Those that must understand, those that must comprehend, those that must know, what James is about to talk about, are his beloved brothers, meaning those that are Christians, those that have repented and placed their trust in our Lord Jesus. James commands these believers to know ”this”. This here refers to what James is about to talk about.
What James commands them to know is that, every person must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger. Take note that this is also a command. James is commanding them to come to an understanding that they must, and underline must, they must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger. This is not optional or negotiable. James says every believer, not just some believers, but every believer must obey this command. Every believer must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger. In other words, every believer must listen more than they speak. I once had a saying we have two ears and one mouth for a reason. James also says that every believer must be slow to anger. Those believers who are short tempered and are very quick to be angry, must repent immediately. Believers must exercise self control. They must control their emotions. James is not saying do not be angry but, he is saying do not be too quick to get angry.
In verse 20, James zooms in on anger and gives a reason why believers must be slow to anger. James says the reason why believers are to be slow to anger, it is that the anger of a man does not produce the righteousness of God. This means human anger, does not result in the one who is angry, doing that which God requires of us. I am sure that none of us can dispute this.
So what does this means to us today? Well, as a believer, you are likewise, commanded to bring your anger under control. You are commanded to know that anger brings about sinful behavior. Self-control, is the fruit of the Holy Spirit
Galatians 5:22–23 (ESV): 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
If you continuously fail to control yourself but allow yourself to be controlled by your anger, then even your salvation might be in question. No one flicks a switch in you to be angry, you make a choice to be angry. Anger is a choice and therefore, you can control it. You are commanded to control it, you do not have a choice. So, the next time you feel a need to be angry, ask yourself the following
- Why am I getting angry?
- Is the reason for my anger justified before God?
- How do I want to behave as a result of my anger?
- Is my behavior as a result of my anger going to glorify God?
If the answer to question 2 and/or 4 is no, then you have sinful anger and you are about to act sinfully. Stop and pray.