Diseases spread around the world at a rapid pace but nothing spreads into an epidemic as quickly as anger. Look around and see. You drive down the road and see people making obscene gestures at others while screaming and honking. You go to a child’s sporting event, which should be an enjoyment for your child, and all you hear is parents screaming at officials and coaches in anger. You go to a crowded shopping center and see people fighting over items. You turn on the news and you see politicians trying to make you angry enough to hate their opponent. You look inside homes and you see spouses and children screaming at each other. Anger is everywhere, it’s an epidemic. It is even inside our churches. Why has it become so? And how do we stop it? The first step is looking in the mirror and changing ourselves.
Proverbs 15:1 “A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.”
Anger in Marriage: I believe the road to every divorce begins with one word of anger from one spouse to the other. This leads to the other spouse getting angry because of the original angry word, and the anger spreads, so now instead of one angry person we now have two angry people. And then those two people carry that anger over to their workplace, to their church, to their children, and then that anger spreads even more. It’s a vicious cycle that keeps feeding itself. If you want a closer relationship with your spouse, cut the anger out, and speak with kind words. You can have disagreements without feeding anger. Have a discussion out of love and respect for one another and you will get what you want 1,000 times more often than if you come in anger. How can we expect someone to show us love and respect if we don’t do the same to them? Before you snap at your spouse, take a moment, step back, and put yourself in their shoes. Ask yourself how you would want them to respond to you. Would you want them to snap at you in anger? or would you want them to come to you in love and respect, and ask that they do something differently? Tone of voice can diffuse any situation or make it worse. The choice is ours. If you choose to speak in anger, it ultimately is going to come back to you in anger, and make your life worse as a result. If you choose to speak in love and respect, then more than likely love and respect will come back to you, and your life will improve.
Anger in Children: Parents who complain that their kids are grouchy and disrespectful probably need to look in the mirror. Our kids are only a reflection of us. They learn almost everything from us, including behavior. If we are grouchy and snap at them in anger, they are going to pick up that behavior. And that leads to them being angry with you, which leads to you being even more angry at them, and anger begins feeding itself once again. The bible says in Colossians 3:21 “Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.” If you want your children to be kind and respectful to you and to others, then you need to be kind and respectful to them. If we do this, our relationships with our children will grow and be filled with love and respect for one another, instead of being filled with arguments and disrespect. Discipline is great, but should always be done in love, never out of anger.
Anger at friends, family and neighbors: Matthew 18:21-22 says “Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.” These days we don’t even take Peter’s suggestion of 7 times. We say one strike and you are out. You have offended me once and I’m never going to forgive you for it. What would happen if we heeded Christ’s words and forgave our brothers and sisters 70 times 7 times? How much better would this world be?
Spread Anger or Spread Joy?: We as Christians are to be the lighthouse of this world spreading God’s love to others. We cannot do that if we allow our anger to rule our lives. 1 John 4:20 says “If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?” Our anger could certainly block someone from seeing Christ. Will you go around frowning? or will you go around smiling? Will you count your blessings? or will you count your enemies? The choice is yours. I am pledging to count my blessings, and not my enemies. Who will join me in changing this world one person at a time? It begins with YOU!
I leave you with some great scripture on this subject. I urge you to read them all.
James 1:19-20 “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.”
Proverbs 29:11 “A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards.”
Proverbs 19:11 “The discretion of a man deferreth his anger; and it is his glory to pass over a transgression.”
Ecclesiastes 7:9 “Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger resteth in the bosom of fools.”
Proverbs 15:18 “A wrathful man stirreth up strife: but he that is slow to anger appeaseth strife.”
Colossians 3:8 “But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.”
Proverbs 14:17 “He that is soon angry dealeth foolishly: and a man of wicked devices is hated.”
Proverbs 16:32 “He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.”
Ephesians 4:31 “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:”
James 1:19 “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:”
Proverbs 12:16 “A fool’s wrath is presently known: but a prudent man covereth shame.”
Proverbs 22:24 “Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go:”
Proverbs 29:22 “An angry man stirreth up strife, and a furious man aboundeth in transgression.”
Luke 6:31 “And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.”
James 3:3-6 “Behold, we put bits in the horses’ mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body. Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth. Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!”
Psalm 37:8 “Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.”
Colossians 3:12-13 “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.”
Proverbs 15:5 “A fool despiseth his father’s instruction: but he that regardeth reproof is prudent.”
Proverbs 10:12 “Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins.”