WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
JUNE 7, 2021
TOPIC: DON’T MISMANAGE YOUR ANGER
BY T. O. BANSO
“A fool gives full vent to anger, but a wise person quietly holds it back” (Proverbs 29:11 New Living Translation).
The soul is the seat of emotions. Everyone, including a leader, must not allow his emotions to control him. Anger is one of the emotions that everyone must learn to manage, not mismanage. There is a right way to express anger and a wrong way to do so. Anger is not entirely evil; the problem is in the management.
God gives us our emotions. He has emotions too, including anger. That’s why we read in the Bible that God was angry (Deuteronomy 9:8). But we also read that God is slow to anger (Psalm 145:8). This is stated over and over in other passages of the Bible. Nehemiah 9:17b says God is ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abundant in kindness. Psalm 103:8 and Jonah 4:2 say nearly the same thing.
Some people have the idea that God is always angry and ready to punish any violation of His law, which He can monitor with His very big all-seeing eyes that looks like a telescope to see sins from afar and a microscope to see the smallest sin! But God is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abundant in lovingkindness.
God is slow to anger. He doesn’t get angry easily. God’s warnings come before His judgment. All the people that God eventually dealt with in His anger in the Bible, He didn’t act immediately. He warned them and allowed them time to repent. When it is the people of the days of Noah or the Israelites, He didn’t visit them with His wrath immediately. In addition, God’s anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life (Psalm 30:5a).
Most people who are guilty of mismanagement of anger are not slow to anger and their anger last long. They also do not express their anger properly. Repression of anger is mismanagement of anger as it could lead to implosion. Living in denial is not right. On the other hand, uncontrolled expression of anger could lead to explosion which is detrimental to both the angry person and their target. An angry outburst is a mismanagement of anger. You must face your anger and process it in a godly way.
In relating to others, it is possible that they will hurt one and make one angry. But one of the best things one can do is not to expect too much from people. One must not expect that people will do the right things always or do things the way they will satisfy one. By this, one will not be disappointed, take things too seriously, or take to heart the wrong things they do.
I always meditate on this scripture concerning Jesus Christ: “Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name when they saw the signs which He did. But Jesus did not commit Himself to them, because He knew all men, and had no need that anyone should testify of man, for He knew what was in man” (John 2:22-25 New King Jams Version). This kind of attitude will save one a lot of heartaches and headaches!
You don’t need to react angrily to every wrong thing that people say to you or do against you. And your perception of everything that people say or do is not always correct. So you could react in anger based on a wrong perception. Sometimes asking for clarification will clear some misperceptions and deliver you from unnecessary anger. Some people’s anger is unjustifiable or unnecessary.
Even when anger is justifiable, you must process it well. If you are angry, you shouldn’t react the way you feel. That you feel like hitting someone who hurts you with an object doesn’t mean you should do so. You may feel like yelling at somebody but you shouldn’t do so. You should not mismanage your anger by reacting just anyhow you feel. Think of the implications of your actions.
Leaders have emotions like everyone else. They get angry too. But mismanagement of anger by a leader could have serious consequences for an organization. In the Bible, one of the qualifications for appointment as an elder or pastor is that “He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered” (Titus 1:7 New Living Translation). The same scripture also says an elder must not be violent. A similar list of qualifications for appointing an elder is given in 1Timothy 3. Verses 2 and 3 say, among other things, that an elder must exhibit self-control and must not be violent, but gentle.
A leader must understand how to manage anger. Proverbs 15:18 says, “A hothead starts fights; a cool-tempered person tries to stop them” (New Living Translation). A leader of people cannot afford to be a hothead or a hot-tempered person; otherwise, he will, through anger, destroy things. There is righteous anger, the type that God has towards sin and evil. Leaders should share in that nature of God but there is also uncontrolled anger.
There is a controversy among Bible scholars on Moses’ anger and his breaking of the two tablets, on which the finger of God inscribed the terms of the covenant, the Ten Commandments, and given to him on Mount Sinai. While some Bible scholars see it as righteous anger at the sin of idolatry by the Israelites led by Aaron and, therefore, God did not condemn him, others see it as uncontrolled anger.
Exodus 32:19 says, “So it was, as soon as he came near the camp, that he saw the calf and the dancing. So Moses’ anger became hot, and he cast the tablets out of his hands and broke them at the foot of the mountain” (New King James Version).
Those who do not see anything wrong in Moses’ action in breaking the tablets argue that Moses did so because the people had already broken the covenant between them and God and, therefore, they were unworthy of the two tablets of the covenant. They further argue that Moses’ action was to teach the Israelites a lesson and for him to further intercede for them before God as he had done before when he had not yet seen their sin of idolatry, which God told him about. God, in anger, had wanted to destroy them and make Moses a great nation instead. But after Moses’ intercession, God agreed not to destroy them (Exodus 32:7-14).
However, those who consider Moses’ action as a failure on his part to manage his anger argue that although what the Israelites did was evil, Moses should not have broken the tablets to express his anger. But those in support of Moses believe that Moses’ sight of the calf and the Israelites dancing after he had pleaded with God not to destroy them was a proper reaction – they had rebelled against God and were unworthy of the tablets.
Because Moses’ broke the tablets, he had to repeat the journey to Mount Sinai to receive the laws written on new tablets again. God wrote on the tablets the words that were on the first tablets, which he had broken, and told him to put the new tablets in the ark. (Exodus 34:1-4; Deuteronomy 10:1-5). As said before, some people see the fact that God didn’t rebuke Moses and gave him another opportunity to come up to Him with new tablets as proof that his action was not a case of uncontrolled anger.
Whichever is the correct position, his anger earlier in Egypt which made him kill an Egyptian and bury him in the sand, thinking nobody would know, could hardly be justified even when he was fighting injustice. It is more of mismanagement of anger than anything else. When Pharaoh heard about it, he sought to kill Moses, but he fled to the land of Midian (Exodus 2:11-15).
Mismanagement of his anger eventually prevented him and Aaron from entering the Promised Land. In anger, at the Israelites, he disobeyed God’s instructions to talk to the rock to give the people water. Instead, he struck the rock twice and called the Israelites rebels.
Numbers 20:9-11 says, “So Moses took the rod from before the LORD as He commanded him. And Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly together before the rock; and he said to them, ‘Hear now, you rebels! Must we bring water for you out of this rock?’ Then Moses lifted his hand and struck the rock twice with his rod; and water came out abundantly, and the congregation and their animals drank” (New King James Version).
Referring to this incident, Psalm 106:32-33 says, “They angered Him also at the waters of strife, So that it went ill with Moses on account of them; because they rebelled against His Spirit, So that he spoke rashly with his lips” (New King James Version).
Two wrongs will not make a right. The Israelites angered God by rebelling against Him. They murmured over lack of water, grain, grapes, and pomegranates. Apparently angered by their behavior, Moses spoke rashly. In other words, he spoke foolishly, unadvisedly, or without stopping to think. He lost his temper.
Yes, water gushed out of the rock, despite the disobedience of Moses and Aaron, and the people and their livestock drank their fill, however, God wasn’t happy with Moses and Aaron. “Then the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron, ‘Because you did not believe Me, to hallow Me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them’” (Numbers 20:12 New King James Version). Moses’ ministry of forty years was thus terminated.
A leader must manage his anger. He must not allow the people to provoke him to sin. “Be angry, and do not sin: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil” (Ephesians 4:26-27 New King James Version). He must allow the Holy Spirit to control his anger! In so doing, he will not sin.
Saul’s anger is another example of mismanaged anger. David said to Jonathan concerning his father’s (Saul’s) plan to kill him (David): “If your father asks where I am, tell him I asked permission to go home to Bethlehem for an annual family sacrifice. If he says, ‘Fine!’ then you will know all is well. But if he is angry and loses his temper, then you will know he was planning to kill me” (1 Samuel 20:6-7 New Living Translation). Did you see that phrase? – If he is angry and loses his temper. Don’t lose your temper.
The Bible tells us Saul’s reaction after enquiring from Jonathan about David’s whereabouts. “Then Saul’s anger was aroused against Jonathan, and he said to him, ‘You son of a perverse, rebellious woman! Do I not know that you have chosen the son of Jesse to your own shame and to the shame of your mother’s nakedness? For as long as the son of Jesse lives on the earth, you shall not be established, nor your kingdom. Now therefore, send and bring him to me, for he shall surely die” (1 Samuel 20:30-31 New King James Version). This was a king talking. Take note of the kind of language he used, showing how angry he was.
Saul demonstrated even worse anger after Jonathan answered him by seeking to know the offence David had committed for him to be killed. “Then Saul cast a spear at him to kill him, by which Jonathan knew that it was determined by his father to kill David. So Jonathan arose from the table in fierce anger, and ate no food the second day of the month, for he was grieved for David, because his father had treated him shamefully” (1 Samuel 20:33-34 New King James Version).
Mismanaged anger could make someone commit murder. Saul cast a spear at Jonathan to kill him. If someone could be so angry to try to kill his son, he could kill anyone else out of anger
Take note .that in that passage, Jonathan arose from the table in fierce anger and didn’t eat the second day. That was righteous anger. He was angry that Saul was planning to commit murder in violation of the commandment of God. Nevertheless, Jonathan’s anger didn’t make him do anything sinful. He managed his anger.
Cain’s case was not just that he planned or wanted to commit murder. He murdered his brother, Abel. Genesis 4:5 says, “But He [God] did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell” (New King James Version). Anger made Cain kill his brother just because God had accepted Abel’s sacrifice but rejected him and his offering.
Samson’s anger is another example of mismanaged anger. He was quick-tempered and revengeful. In Judges 14:19, his anger was aroused and he went back to his father’s house, leaving the wife he had come to marry at his father-in-law’s house in Timnah. This was after the Philistines provided an answer to his riddle.
Samson came back sometimes later for his wife. However, she had been given away to his best man or companion. Samson was offered her wife’s younger sister instead, but Samson decided to punish the Philistines. He burnt up their farms, including their vineyards and olive groves (Judges 15:3-5). The Philistines retaliated by burning the woman Samson was hell wand to marry and her father.
If Samson had managed his anger, he would have known that the Philistines would retaliate for burning their farms. And they did. But Samson, in retaliation again attacked them with great fury and killed many of them and then went down to dwell in the cleft of the rock of Etam (Judges 15:7-8). And the attacks continued.
Don’t mismanage your anger. Those who control their anger have great understanding; those with a hasty temper will make mistakes (Proverbs 14:29). Restrain your anger; don’t react to every wrong (Proverbs 19:11). “A fool gives full vent to anger, but a wise person quietly holds it back” (Proverbs 29:11 New Living Translation).
Part of controlling one’s emotions is controlling one’s tongue. Bridle your tongue. James 3:2 says, “We all make many mistakes, but those who control their tongues can also control themselves in every other way” (New Living Translation). You may be provoked, but avoid making statements that are destructive or unhelpful. “Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one” (Colossians 4:6 New King James Version).
Don’t mismanage your anger. “But I say to you that everyone who continues to be angry with his brother or harbors malice against him shall be guilty before the court; and whoever speaks [contemptuously and insultingly] to his brother, ‘Raca (You empty-headed idiot)!’ shall be guilty before the supreme court (Sanhedrin); and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of the fiery hell” (Matthew 5:22 Amplified Bible).
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Holy Spirit, help me not to mismanage my anger. Help me to process my anger in a godly way. I shall not be a fool; I shall not give full vent to anger. In the name of Jesus, I shall control my tongue and myself in every other way.
(For over 600 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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