44 - Where Anger Comes From
|Written by David Delk|
|Wednesday, December 10 2008 10:01|
You've felt it. It's that rush of emotion that seems to flood through your veins. It's that volcanic eruption that screams for release. It's the pot whose lid begins to rattle as the contents boil over.
Perhaps it comes when a car cuts you off in traffic and then slows down because he doesn't know where he is going. Maybe you feel it when you step on the toy car with a bare foot. Perhaps it's when your wife just can't seem to see things from your perspective. What is it that makes you angry?
In Numbers 20, Moses got mad at the people of Israel. They were tired of wandering in the desert and complained to Moses about the lack of water.
The Lord told Moses to take his staff and speak to the rock, then water would come forth for the people.
So Moses took the staff from the Lord's presence, just as he commanded him. He and Aaron gathered the assembly together in front of the rock and Moses said to them, "Listen, you rebels, must we bring you water out of this rock?" Then Moses raised his arm and struck the rock twice with his staff. Water gushed out, and the community and their livestock drank. (Numbers 20:9-11)
Where does anger come from? And how can we overcome it? Consider the following four insights...
FOUR INSIGHTS INTO ANGER
1. Anger usually comes as a result of unmet expectations.
2. Anger usually comes when we feel most out of control.
WHY ANGER IS SO DANGEROUS
There are two main reasons that anger is so dangerous.
3. Anger takes you farther than you really want to go.
4. At its root, all unrighteous anger is anger against God.
How can we overcome anger?
Dealing with anger is not simply a matter of will power. We can't simply decide to not get angry anymore. If you have enough self-discipline, you may be able to hide anger or internalize it, but you can never deal with the root.
In James 1:19-21, James says we should be "slow to become angry." And then he tells us to "humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you."
Dealing with anger requires a humble acceptance of God's lordship over our lives. As he told Moses, it requires that we trust Him and have the faith to believe that he is working all things for our good (Romans 8:28). A vibrant, daily trust in God can help us to react to situations not from self-interest, but by seeing things through the eyes of faith.
A PRACTICAL TEST
During the next week, if you find yourself becoming angry, take a few moments and think about what's going on. Why are you angry? What is it that is not happening the way you want it to? Where does this expose a lack of faith in God?
Then pray and ask God to give you more faith. Meditate on God's patient love for you and thank him for the riches of His grace.
A FINAL WARNING
If you experience anger in your life on a consistent basis, please take this warning to heart. Getting angry is like playing with fire, sooner or later you will get burned.
When Moses was called by God, he wasn't called to simply lead his people out of Egypt, he was called to lead them into the promised land (Exodus 3). In Numbers 20, we see the reason that Moses was not allowed to fulfill this calling - a seemingly insignificant outburst of anger.
Anger brings hurt. When we are angry, we hurt others. And we also hurt our relationship with God. This is why Paul says, "In your anger do not sin…and do not give the devil a foothold" (Ephesians 4:26, 27). Anger is a foothold for the devil because in it we are asserting our independence from God.
Don't let habitual anger rule your life any longer. Turn back now, before you say or do something that can never be overcome.
Repent, come back to the cross - experience the love and forgiveness of Christ. Pray that He will grant you faith to live in the light of His peace.
David Delk is the Executive Director of Man in the Mirror.
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