It was like he was just looking for an excuse to yell. It didn’t take much to set him off and my simple question was the spark that light the powder keg. Tevan’s anger was always primed, charged and ready to be used. He was like the Incredible Hulk, he was always angry inside. Godly anger is not charged and looking for any excuse to unload. Likewise, righteous anger is not primed.
God, Himself, is described as one who is “slow to anger” (Ex. 34:6; Ps. 103:8; Joel 2:13). God is patient with sinners, longing that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). He sets the example for us of how to deal with offense, wrong, insult, and injury. In fact, the Apostle James calls us to imitate our God in how we manifest anger. He says:
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)
To be slow to anger is more about the attitude of our heart than about the demonstration of our bodies. It is possible to control our behavior, to restrain the display of our anger, but to leave an attitude of anger simmering beneath the surface.
Righteous anger is not seething internally while pretending to be calm externally. As Brad Hambrick explains:
Godly anger restores peace; not just externally (life situation) but also internally (emotional disposition). When we settle for anger management that leaves the “fire” just beneath the surface, our solution has left us in perpetual temptation. It is also a good indicator we have only addressed the expression of anger and not the heart (beliefs, values, agendas) that fueled it. (“Overcoming Anger”)
Primed anger will always be unable to extend grace, to be long suffering, to let “love cover a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8). We will be unable to fulfill the other callings of a mature godly person if we have a heart that is primed and charged with anger.
Consider your own life and attitude. Do you feel primed, charged to blow up at the slightest provocation? Do you feel that anger is always simmering beneath the surface? Ask yourself these questions below:
- Do you consistently feel on edge?
- Can the slightest offense or irritation “set you off”?
- Are you generally thought of as grouchy or irritable?
- Do you often lament that other people are “stupid” or immature?
- Do you make regular excuses for blowing up (“I am just tired;” “It’s been a long day;” “I have a headache; etc.)
- Do others have to walk on egg shells around you for fear of triggering your temper?
- Do you easily get upset about non-moral issues?
- Is it easy for you to act polite on the outside but simmer on the inside?
- Do you often take out your anger about one situation out on an unrelated person?
Evaluating yourself may reveal that anger is often lying right below the surface in your life. Righteous anger is not trigger happy. To be angry like the Lord means to be “slow to anger”. Does that phrase describe you?