You do not travel far in consuming the headlines of our here and now without colliding head on with pure, unadulterated rage. Whether it’s the fatal road rage incident in our own “back yard” of Howell or ISIS beheadings and plots in the Middle East or Australia, events and people have taken a significant step beyond violent.
Anger is where rage finds its root, and anger is something we all experience. We read the headlines and say that will never be us, but would you stop for a minute to consider whether you have ever sped up to “make” or “prove” a point with another driver? Have you ever been unkind or sarcastic with someone in response to something they said or did? Anger begins in seed form. It rarely ever bursts outward in its most intense form without progressing first from far more innocuous irritations or injuries. Even the most violent criminal or terrorist did not fall to sleep one night whole and peaceful, and wake the next morning with an unquenchable, burning rage.
We must look inward and act outward in healing the seeds of anger. And we must consume and breathe the truths of scripture in doing so. The Bible is not short, nor is it vague in speaking to anger:
A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back.
A man of wrath stirs up strife, and one given to anger causes much transgression.
Be not quick in your spirit to become angry, for anger lodges in the bosom of fools.
A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.
Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.
These are only a few of the host of verses that speak to the reasons for anger, the definition of anger and the effects of anger. Don’t make the mistake of thinking anger is someone else’s problem. We all experience it, and we must all engage in healing it, whether we are it’s perpetrator or victim.
Let these words be your rudder as you navigate every minute of every day. Allow this truth of scripture to settle into your very soul and breathe out of your life into the lives of others.
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 of God.