Aristotle said, “Anyone can be angry. That is easy. But to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose and in the right way– that is not easy.”
Perhaps you’ve recently been the brunt of someone’s road rage or received an icy glare from a fellow shopper when your cart blocked the aisle for five seconds. It’s shocking how quickly some people get enraged, especially over such insignificant things. They remind me of the verse in Proverbs, “Whoever has no rule over his own spirit is like a city broken down, without walls” (25:28). They’re vulnerable. There’s no protection against the enemy getting into their hearts.
Christians aren’t immune to unreasonable anger, and there may be days when it seems every tiny thing sets you off. It could be attributed to a lack of sleep or an extra amount of stress. Hopefully, however, those days are few and far between. But what if you find yourself being angry all the time? Something aggravates you first thing in the morning, and you go to bed that night griping to your spouse. All of your problems can be attributed to everyone else’s shortcomings. You’re sick and tired of dealing with people. Life seems unfair! Therefore, your anger issues aren’t even your fault. Or are they?
Think of a specific person you know that leads a joy-filled life. They exude serenity, kindness, compassion and patience. They smile. They have a heartfelt zest for life and their service is sincere. Is it because life has been fairer to them? Is it because they have no problems? Of course not. Some of the happiest people I know have experienced great and multiple burdens. So what’s their secret?
You can read about happy people in the Bible. In Proverbs, there are several verses talking about people with joyful hearts. It says they have happy faces (15:13) and they feel blessed (15:15). In fact, their joyful hearts are like good medicine (17:22). It’s like taking a happy pill! So those who can smile and feel content aren’t problem-free. They’ve just chosen to have joyful hearts. As Duane Garrett wrote, “A happy heart is the key to a full, healthy life.”
If you find yourself struggling with anger these days, there’s an antidote. Spend time familiarizing yourself again with God’s advice about have to have a good attitude. The following verses are marked in my Bible as “Right Attitude,” so I can easily look them up anytime I feel the grouch coming on: Prov. 14:16,17; 15:1, 13, 15; 16:32; 17:22; 19:11; Matt. 5:43-45; Rom. 12:9-21; 1 Cor. 10:24; Eph. 4:23,26, 31,32; Phil. 2:14,15; 4:11.
Prayer for Today: In an angry world, Lord, help me shine the Light by spreading joy to everyone around me.