Anger–a strong feeling of displeasure aroused by wrong. What makes you angry? Typically it is someone or something that has hurt you or done wrong by you. Our natural tendency is to lash out, stomp our feet, yell, and to become irritated. Why? Because that is our emotions, our flesh swelling up inside us.
Proverbs 29:22a says, “An angry man stirs up dissension.” When you become angry at a person, doesn’t the other person tend to become angry too? It just goes downhill from there, until someone apologizes.
In order for us not to begin this mess anyway, James reminds us that we must be slow to anger. Not all anger is bad, for there is such a thing as righteous anger, but it is the selfish anger that is wrong.
Righteous anger is like what Jesus displays in Matthew 21:12-13 when he clears the temple of the money-changers: “And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. He said to them, ‘It is written, “My house shall be called a house of prayer,” but you have made it a den of robbers.'” No doubt Jesus was angry if Matthew tells us that he overturned tables and rebuked the people.
Just like at times when we can also show righteous anger. When someone abuses the name of our God or breaks one of his commandments, we show righteous anger.
Selfish anger is when something upsets us and we want to get angry in order to put the other person down. Selfish anger is when a little sister or brother annoys you or an older sister or brother tells you what to do. Selfish anger is when someone else gets praised and admired and you are left in the corner. Are you getting my drift? Selfish anger concerns you whereas righteous anger concerns God.
As we go through this next week, lets stop and think where our anger is being directed and if it is hurting or putting someone down.
“Know this my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” James 1:19-20.