“Everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.” – James 1:19-20
Anger. It happens in the workplace, in our families, and yes, even in “the family of faith” – our churches. But very often, anger isn’t here today and gone tomorrow; anger is a journey. It often begins with a small hurt, a slight, or a simple misunderstanding that builds and builds until, over time, all it takes is the slightest irritation to set us off. Boom! We explode with rage. And the casualties? Well, those are often the people closest to us who take the brunt of our anger.
We all have our triggers. What is it that sets you off? Maybe you’ve been left out, disrespected, or unfairly criticized. Maybe it’s being blamed for someone else’s screwup or the blatant betrayal of a trusted friend. You’re irritated. You’re frustrated. You’re angry. Left ignored, that anger can grow, leading you down a path of bitterness, regret, and even broken relationships.
James, the brother of Jesus, teaches that controlling our anger begins with rooting ourselves in the Word of God. It’s when we align ourselves with God’s Word and allow it to guide and shape us, that our lives begin to reflect the character of God. But this is easier said than done. So, here’s a simple tip to get you started: Listen first, then speak.
Be good listeners and slow talkers (James 1:19-20). When those feelings of anger spark, take a deep breath, and count to ten before speaking. This will slow you down on the way to anger. And never, ever postpone dealing with your anger. Don’t let the sun go down on your anger and allow Satan to get a hold of another moment through your anger (Ephesians 4:26).
Prayerfully, examine your life. Have you found yourself somewhere along the anger journey? Perhaps it’s an unaddressed hurt or misunderstanding that has grown into resentment or bitterness towards a particular individual? Maybe it’s a much more serious wrong done to you and you’re holding onto hurt and pain. No matter your specific situation or how far along the anger journey you find yourself, ask God for the freedom found in His supernatural forgiveness.