Are you known to have a bad temper? Do those who know you best tend to walk on eggshells around you because of your known propensity for a short fuse? Is it not altogether uncommon for you to blow your top?
Anger is a major issue in the lives of many who profess Christianity. Some deal with silent, but deadly, kinds of anger issues. Others are known to wear their anger on their shirtsleeves. Some grow angry when things don’t go the way they would like them to go and stay angry for an extended period of time. Some are known for short, but outrageous, outbursts.
Regardless of the way anger is demonstrated in your life, does a propensity for anger manifest the soundness of mind that Christians are called on to exhibit in their daily lives (2 Tim. 1:7)?
There are many spiritual issues directly linked to anger. Yet, one of the most prominent, but overlooked, is the instability that comes with one who does not know how to rule his spirit (Prov. 16:32). This instability seeps over into many avenues of one’s life, but becomes intensely obvious when one becomes angry.
One of the strongest manifestations of this in Scripture is seen with King Saul. One specific event set him off and he never fully recovered. His life was marked by some of the most erratic, or insane, behavior in all of Scripture and it all boiled down to anger.
It began when they returned from the battle where the young man, David, slew the Philistine giant, Goliath. Upon their arrival home, David was lauded for killing his ten thousands, while King Saul was praised for killing his thousands. The account says, “Then Saul was very angry, and the saying displeased him . . . So Saul eyed David from that day forward” (1 Sam. 16:6-9). From that point on, Saul’s behavior went from bad to worse. Observe some of the following events, all surrounding Saul’s anger toward David…
- Saul cast a spear at David to pin him to a wall as David played music for Saul – 1 Sam. 18:11
- He was afraid of David – 1 Sam. 18:12
- He said he would give his daughter Merab to David as a wife, but then gave her to another man instead – 1 Sam. 18:17-19
- He then gave David another daughter, Michal, who loved David—but he gave her with a wicked motive – 1 Sam. 18:20-21
- He tried to have David killed by tricking him into earning the hand of Michal, his daughter – 1 Sam. 18:25
- Had a peaceful period with David at the request of his son Jonathan – 1 Sam. 19:4-8
- Tried to pin David to a wall again with a spear as David played music for him – 1 Sam. 19:9-10
- Sent messengers to kill David, who was ironically saved by Michal, who was given to David – 1 Sam. 19:11
- Saul sent messengers on several other occasions!
- Saul tried to kill his own son Jonathan because Jonathan loved David – 1 Sam. 20:27-33
- He even had eighty five priests of God murdered for helping David – 1 Sam. 22:6-19
And this is the short list (you are encouraged to read all of 1 Samuel 16-22). His behavior had highs and lows. His judgment was blinded by his anger. He did things no reasonable man would do. His anger controlled him. He hurt others to get at the object of his anger. He tried to use everyone and anyone in the exercise of his anger. He tried to commit murder on more than one occasion. He spent the rest of his life pursuing David. He truly became insane in his anger.
Does this describe you at times? Does your anger get the best of you, causing you to do things you later regret? When angry, do you act more like an insane man than one in your right mind? Are you living with anger and malice in your heart right now?
If there was ever a man who had a right to be angry with His fellow man, it was, and is, Jesus Christ. Yet, did He manifest anger when He died for our sins? Did he revile and threaten when He bore our sins in His own body on a tree (1 Pet. 2:21-25)? Not at all. As a matter of fact, Jesus sought God’s forgiveness for the very men who nailed Him to that cross (Luke 23:34)?
In light of such an example, what is it that we have dealt with that could possibly justify not only getting, but staying, angry? If you are living with anger, turn it over to God and let Him handle it (Rom. 12:19)! He will judge righteously and set all wrongs right in His own due time. If you are known for a short fuse, don’t try to hide the fuse, remove it. Is whatever it is that sets you off worth losing your soul over? If you believe that you were just born with a bad temper, and can’t help yourself, you are deceiving yourself (1 John 1:8-9). King Saul traveled down a dark road, not because he was born with anger issues, but because he chose that road! Anger is a choice! At that critical moment of temptation, when your blood is starting to boil, deliberately and purposefully choose not to be angry. With the strength of the Lord, you can do it (Phil. 4:13)!
Have you ever wondered why some who commit murder can get a lesser sentence by pleading temporary insanity? Anger, in so many ways, is a form of temporary insanity. So many sins—life changing sins—have been committed while angry. Don’t let anger ruin your life. Master your anger, don’t let your anger master you!