What are you known for?

Anger. It seems to be everywhere these days. In person, on social media, in the midst of family, via texts. Everywhere. It seems so many are angry about so much. And it comes out everywhere. And, it seems to me, once someone is angry about something, they can very quickly and easily jump to the next issue to be angry about.

There is so much heart ache, hurt, wrong in our world today. Everywhere we look, there’s something to get up in arms about. And depending on your world view, you may get upset about something someone else thinks isn’t that big of a deal. Depending on your past experiences, you may get angry about an issue someone else passes by.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t get angry. Even God knew we would. But before we get so angry we stop thinking, we should ask ourselves a couple questions.

One, is my anger righteous? Does it aline with what God would be angry about? Does His Word tell us that what we’re angry about is wrong?

If not, we need to process why we’re even angry. Maybe we’re just angry because someone isn’t in agreement with us, doesn’t see things from our viewpoint. If that’s the case, we need to be mature enough to be OK with others thinking differently than us.

Two, what am I going to do with my anger? Am I going to sit in it and get angrier and angrier? Am I going to let it fester? Am I going to let it transfer to other situations without truly thinking clearly?

Let’s face it, anger can actually make our brain stop making rational decisions. There’s no denying that. People have done some really awful things in anger and come out of it to then realize what they’ve done. So, sitting in it isn’t healthy for us.

God even reminds us in His Word “In your anger, do not sin” Eph 4:26. See, He knew we’d feel anger. It’s what we do with it that makes all the difference. Do you get angry and then spit it at those around you? Do you feel anger rise up in you when you read someone’s post on FB and post a bitter, unkind reply? Or maybe you don’t reply directly, but post something hateful on your own page in a passive aggressive manner?

In your anger, do not sin. This is a powerful statement and I hope it makes you pause like it does me. We will never win anyone to our way of thinking or even help them understand where we’re coming from when we are full of anger that comes out in hateful ways. We will just cause more divide. We’ll cause others to become angry as well. And we’ll completely close off any opportunity to be heard again.

I’ve seen and heard name calling. I’ve heard people tell others their opinion is garbage. I’ve seen hateful looks given by those who think differently to each other. And it only gets worse from there. These aren’t instances between kids on a playground. These are grown ups who should know better. These are grown ups who should be able to have civil conversation. But they’ve allowed anger to get the best of them.

Anger can be useful. It can alert us to an injustice. It can warn us of danger or an unsafe situation. Anger can be a reminder.

So, what are you going to do with your anger? Sit in it, attack others?

Or, let it spur you on to make a change? If you’re angry about something, get involved in a positive manner. Let the anger tell you there’s something that needs to be done here and maybe I can be a part of it in a healthy manner. There are organizations for every issue under the sun. Do your research and make sure you find a legitimate one to pour your time, energy, and money into. Be extra kind where you see injustice. Reach out and heal the divide, instead of making it worse with hurtful words or actions. Let your anger motivate you to positive action and then let the anger go.

Ephesians 4:26 continues, “do not let the sun go down on your anger.” Why would God add? Why doesn’t He want us to go to bed angry?

Some might say it’s just good advice to resolve an issue before bed, but recent studies have linked going to bed angry with actual changes in the brain. You can Google “go to bed angry science” and find a while slew of articles on it. Studies show that going to be angry actually makes it harder to let go of the issue and can cause you to wake up angrier. Maybe this explains why it seems once a person is angry about one thing, they can easily be angry about another issue.

Anger isn’t going to change another person, not in the long term, but it is going to change you. Negatively.

If you have the Holy Spirit, you have his fruit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. There’s no anger on this list. What are you known for?

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