President of Pinecrest
"A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word
stirs up anger" Prov 15:1 NKJV.
In other words, a right response to anger can change the
situation; a wrong response can provoke wrath.
"He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty;
and he who rules his spirit, than he who takes a
city" Prov 16:32.
The Kingdom of God is within us, thus, one who controls his
temper has taken an important "city." The first
step in our becoming an overcomer is that we must first overcome
Proverbs 22:24 gives further advice, "Do not make friends
of a hot-tempered man," as we may partake of his ways
and become ensnared. It is much easier for us to be pulled
down, than for us to lift someone up. Leaven in a lump will
spread until all becomes leavened. If we tolerate an angry
environment, we will become infected.
To express anger is a learned response that can become a
habit. This expression of anger then, needs to be "unlearned."
I have been told that it takes about twenty days to either
form or break a habit. A newer habit takes less time to break
than one that has been established over a long period of time.
When we come to Christ and receive His righteousness, He
covers us so that God sees us through the blood of Jesus as
being righteous. This is judicial, or imparted righteousness
that must now become experiential. Thus, there are things
we need to learn and unlearn while we live under this covering.
Handling our anger is one of these.
A hot-tempered person will constant trouble in this area.
If we associate with him, we may become like him, when in
fact, we would desire to help him unlearn. Thus it is important
that we listen carefully to the Lord's directions.
Ecclesiastes 7:9 says,
"Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for
anger resides in the lap of fools."
Ephesians 4:26-27 tells us,
"In your anger do not sin, Do not let the sun go
down while you are still angry, and do not give
the devil a foothold" NIV.
This is not saying that we should never be angry. In fact,
to put an absolute lid on our emotions could be harmful. Therefore,
in response to a provoking circumstance, we are not to lose
control, but rather, we are to control our anger and respond
with a gentle answer. If we do become angry, we are to guard
what we say. Words cannot be retrieved, nor actions canceled.
When my wife, Helen, and I were first married, Nicholas Tavani,
who is a wonderful counselor, gave this advice; "Never
let the sun go down on your anger, as unforgiven anger creates
a beachhead for the devil. You are two different people working
out differences and learning to live together." We have
found over the years that he was right. This was excellent
James 1:19 tells us,
"... take note of this: Everyone should be quick to
listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry" NIV.
A so-called quick temper is not all that quick. It had bred
over a period of time before it was released. Instead, we
are to be overcomers of the battleground that is within. The
"city" that needs to be conquered is us, so the
Lord can establish His Kingdom within us. He will displace
the devil and fill us with Himself when we have won this battle.
We can be sure of this: no one can make us angry; we allow
ourselves to be angry, and then deceive ourselves by justifying
it. Practical, straightforward James sums it up in Chapter
1, verse 26,
"If anyone considers himself religious and yet does
not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives
himself and his religion is worthless" NIV.
Let us allow the Holy Spirit to speak to our hearts regarding
our tendency to react to circumstances, to become angry. Each
of us needs to be that warrior who takes a city, and conquers
anger, that giant in the land.