Monday, October 14, 2013
At least not by me.
And if my efforts to fix it are foiled, I get angry. Oh, it feels righteous enough; after all, I'm trying to do something sooooo right. And my anger flares in irritability, in frustration, in hot snappiness at my loved ones.
What does the Bible say about my anger? Really, I'd rather avoid this. After all, I never hit anyone in my anger... or break anything...
But James 1:20 says "the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God." I need to face this.
The Bible is clear about one thing: my anger is sin. In Matthew 5:21-22a, Jesus says, "You have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.' But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment." And in Galatians 5, "fits of anger" are listed as works of the flesh, and in Galatians 5:24 it says, "And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires." (emphasis mine)
It's easier to think of works of the flesh as adultery, murder... you know, things I would never do. I'd rather not look at my anger.
But again the Bible speaks clearly: Colossians 3:1-2, 7-8 tells us, "If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.... In these you too once walked when you were living with them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth."
And in Ephesians 4:31-32, we are told "Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you."
My anger is sin. Plain and simple. Sin.
So how do I get rid of something so entrenched in my personality? Notice that Ephesians didn't stop at telling me to get rid of my anger (and wrath and bitterness...). It informed me what should replace my anger. I need to be kind, tenderhearted, and forgiving. And in Galatians 5, it goes on to say, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control..."
So, my charge is to rid myself of anger...to replace it with kindness, forgiveness, tenderheartedness, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. And I don't have to do this by myself. The Spirit, God's Holy Spirit, is with me always. By seeking God, I have received many of the gifts of the Spirit, and I trust that God isn't done with me yet. "He who began a good work in you (me) will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ." (Philippians 1:6)
I'm glad I'm not on my own in this one. I think it's going to take a while...