If you don’t define your anger, your anger will define you!
May 15, 2017, 5:00 AM

 “If you don’t define your anger, your anger will define you”, you may have heard this saying many times.   But ask yourself, have you allowed your anger to shape your identity?  What is taking place within our hearts when we get angry? Why are we so quick to seek vengeance and vindication?


There are numerous reasons our emotions get all amped up: feeling our “rights” have been violated, frustrated over our current circumstances, not having control over a situation, our pride getting hurt, feeling misunderstood, being disrespected or someone blocking what we desire. At the core of all these reasons is the fact that we wanted something and didn’t get it. We spend more effort trying to justify our response than dealing with our anger.


“What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you?  You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it.” James 4:1-2


Wow, “Kill” seems like a pretty harsh word.  You don’t really want to kill want to kill someone do you?  But, in Matthew 5:22, Jesus placed the anger you hold towards someone on the same playing field as the sin of murder. The Bible says we shouldn’t take our anger lightly.  It is no wonder then that Scripture also urges to not let the sun go down on our anger in Ephesians 4:26 and to put all anger away in Colossians 3:8 and Ephesians 4:31.


Selfishness, ungratefulness and impatience often define our anger. Yet, living in this fallen and mad world, sometimes our anger is justified. But, we must be careful not to work to justify our anger and unforgiveness because it places us on shaky ground. We either become a vigilante who takes matters into our own hands in hopes of seeking vengeance or we play the victim card for the rest of our days. Either way, if we don’t master our anger and deal with our unforgiveness, we will walk around with a chip on our shoulder feeling we are owed.


The longer we let this anger fester the more it clouds our judgment. In anger we can spin out of control. Our angry responses get us nowhere. It leaves our heart extremely vulnerable and causes us think unclearly. Proverbs 27:4 compares anger to a flood in its power to destroy and harm. Other parts of Scripture go as far as saying anger kills the foolish man. How?  By consuming our thoughts and dictating our actions which tend to bring with it all kinds of sin.  Your anger will bait you into doing things you regret and destroy the things that are most important to you.


We’ve got to go farther than anger management.  Anger is not to be managed, it’s to be mastered.  In order to learn what is required for mastery, you must start with a question, what did you not get that you wanted?  Then I must figure out if is it as important as I am making it out to be.  Is it worth destroying a relationship over?


This is my Prayer: Father God, instead of trying to justify my anger, help me to spend my energy on mastering it. Lord I know that all too often I take my anger too lightly and I lose sight of the distance it creates in my relationships.  Jesus show me how to not be a display of selfish anger, but to reflect Your heart and Your character.  Lord teach me to become a person who is patient, loving and forgiving. In Jesus’ name, Amen.