Did you know that Jesus got angry? We typically think about anger as a sinful emotion, but that’s clearly not the case if Jesus—who never sinned—felt anger. How you deal with it, however, could be sinful. Today seems like an incredibly poignant time to be talking about anger.
Unless you’re living under a rock, you’ve probably heard that America elected a new president this past week. As I’ve scrolled through social media and discussion boards on the internet, I’ve noticed a lot of people expressing anger. Some are doing it in appropriate ways and some are lashing out at everyone and everything in their lives. Families and friendships are being divided by it.
Clearly, anger is a powerful emotion. No doubt. But we become paralyzed by anger when we let it control us. Oddly, it doesn’t look like paralysis. Instead, uncontrolled anger and rage looks incredibly active. We may yell and scream, throw and destroy things, or emotionally and physically harm others.
The devil uses uncontrolled anger to paralyze your journey to Christ. It draws you into yourself instead of into Him. It stops your spiritual growth and can even lead you farther from God. But God doesn’t want anger to control you.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23 (ESV)
Alone, we are ill-equipped to deal with anger. We need God’s help to deal with it in a God-pleasing way. The solution is to ask God to cultivate the fruit of the Spirit within you. Read the fruits of the Spirit regularly. Better yet, memorize it. Remind yourself of the Spirit’s fruit each morning when you wake or as you leave the house.
Then when anger rears its ugly head, stop and pray for these fruits. Ask God’s Spirit to calm your heart and give you direction regarding how to respond to the anger you’re feeling. Instead of rage, respond with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.