The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions (Galatians 5:19-20)…
Anger is everywhere: We watch it on television, read it in the news, hear it in political commentary, experience it in our minds and our emotions and it comes out in our speech. When the apostle Paul lists sins, he especially identifies out-of-control desires that include anger.
Anger is destructive: It separates friends, breaks marriage covenants and crushes our children. It can take different forms: murderous rages, grumbling and complaining (Numbers 14:2, 11), and in a cold shoulder or silence. At some point, it can poison us all.
Anger is blinding: We can’t always see our own anger and its impact on others. Our anger feels like, “I am right” or “I am above you.” Some words of wisdom: “The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing” (Proverbs 12:18). Angry people can be the last to know that they are sinfully angry.
God does get angry (more than three hundred times in the Old Testament), but his anger is not his final word:
“His anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning” (Psalm 30:5).
“Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance? He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in steadfast love” (Micah 7:18)
“For my name’s sake I defer my anger; for the sake of my praise I restrain it for you, that I may not cut you off” (Isaiah 48:9).
One way to fight anger is to first ask how our anger reflects God.