Don’t fly into a rage unless you are prepared for a rough landing. Anger falls one letter short from danger. People constantly blowing fuses are generally left in the dark. If you lose your head, how can you expect to use it?
A Filipino saying advises: “Postpone today’s anger until tomorrow.” (Then apply this rule the next day and the next.) When you are upset, take a lesson from modern science: Always count down before blasting off. Seneca quipped, “The best cure for anger is delay.” Proverbs 16:32 counsels, “He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.”
Blowing your stack never fails to add to the air pollution. How many great ideas have you had while you were angry? How many “expensive words” have you said when you were upset? You’ll never get to the top if you keep blowing yours.
One of the worst fruits of anger is revenge. No passion of the human heart promises so much and pays so little as that of revenge. The longest odds in the world are those against getting even with someone.
Instead of revenge, consider what the Bible orders: “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ say the Lord. Therefore, ‘If you’re enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head’” (Romans 12:19-20 NKJV).
Francis Bacon added, “In taking revenge a man is but even with his enemies; but in passing it over, he is superior.”
Marcus Antonius reflected, “Consider how much more you often suffer from your anger and grief than from those very things for which you are angry and grieved.” David Hume said, “He is happy whose circumstances suit his temper; but he is more excellent who can suit his temper to any circumstance.”
Anger comes back to you, and it will surely hit you harder than anyone or anything at which you throw it.
Time spent in getting even is better used in trying to get ahead. Revenge is like biting a dog because the dog has bitten you. When trying to get even, you will always do odd and unhelpful things.
“Vengeance is a dish that should be eaten cold.” – Old English Proveb
MY PERSONAL REFLECTION:
When you get really angry, you can either repress it. Or express it. But the healthiest thing you can do is confess it. Give it to God. Tell him how you feel. Unload your backpack of burdens at the feet of God.
How many of you have ever read the Psalms? In some of them, David wrote them when he was really angry. In theology, these are known as “the imprecatory psalms,” or “the Angry Psalms.” In Psalm 3:7 he says, “Deliver me, o my God! Strike all my enemies on the jaw! Break the teeth of the wicked!” David found out that by writing about his anger to the Lord, he was able to get it off his chest without hurting anyone.
Maybe you’re thinking, “Jhun, I just can’t control myself like that. When I get angry, I feel like my emotions are all pent up. And I can’t hold back. I have to let it out.” You’re wrong. You can hold back. Have you ever been in an argument with someone at home, and then the phone rings? You’ve been yelling and screaming your head off. And then you pick up the phone and you say (in a gentle voice) “Hello? Oh, Hi Mary. How are you doing? Yes I had a wonderful time last night.” You see? You control what you want to control. Proverbs 29:11 says that “a fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control.”
Cain was a fool. Instead of humbly listening to God’s word, he held on to his anger. And he took all of his frustrations out on Abel. He said to him, “Let’s go out to the field.” That proves right there that this was a premeditated murder, not a crime of passion. Cain had plenty of time to reconsider what he was about to do. But instead he chose to give full vent to his anger, and he murdered Abel in cold blood. And when God asked him where Abel was, he lied right to God’s face! “I don’t know. Am I my brother’s keeper?”
This just goes to show how wicked Cain was. And God usually knows us better than we know ourselves.
But the most amazing part of this story is that God offers Cain a second chance! Instead of giving him the death penalty, he allows him to live and raise a family.
Maybe you’re thinking, “That’s not justice!” You’re right. It’s not justice. It’s grace.
The fact of the matter is that we all deserve the death penalty. We all have sinned and have come short of the glory of God. We all deserve nothing but punishment for all of the years we have turned our backs on God.
But every single day we wake up and get out of bed, we are being given another chance to get things right. Another chance to let Jesus Christ take over the throne of our lives. How have you been doing with the opportunities that God has given you?
Maybe you’re reading this topic today, and you are struggling with anger. Or frustration. Or bitterness. I want you to know that God understands. And with his help, you can master it. And vent it in ways where no one gets hurt. But you need Jesus in your life for this to happen. Because it’s only through the power of God that we can master ourselves. And become all that God wants us to be. I invite you to Jesus this day. And if you let Him in, he will forgive all of your sins and your mistakes and shortcomings and wipe the slate of your life completely clean. We all could use a clean slate. Let Jesus do it.