"Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; Do not fret - it only causes harm."
- Psalm 37:8 NKJV
When my husband, Joe, came home from the hospital after his open-heart surgery, he brought with him some materials that were designed to help him protect his heart and his health. As I looked over his paperwork one day, I noticed a questionnaire asking heart patients how they respond to various situations. The idea was to help these patients to recognize any behaviors or habits that might be harming their health. I couldn't help noticing that the very first unhealthy response listed was anger. I had been telling my husband for years that his short temper wasn't good for him, but here I was seeing in black and white just how right I was. Then, some weeks later, I was listening to a powerful message from a well-respected man of God who said that anger is a form of suicide. Can anger kill? I believe it can. Sometimes, it kills slowly, causing sickness, disease, and pain in the body. And sometimes it kills quickly, causing sudden heart attacks and strokes. My husband had already had one heart attack, and I knew that his negative emotions and attitudes were major factors - and he knew it, too. The Bible says: "A calm and undisturbed mind and heart are the life and health of the body, but envy, jealousy, and wrath are like rottenness of the bones." (Proverbs 14:30 AMP) There's no getting away from it - our emotions and attitudes have an impact on our health, and even our lifespan. As the New Living Translation says, "A relaxed attitude lengthens life." (Proverbs 14:30 NLT)
One of the reasons why anger is so destructive is that it makes us vulnerable to satanic attack. Scripture says: "Don't sin by letting anger control you. Don't let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil." (Ephesians 4:26-27 NLT) When we fail to control our temper, we move out from under God's umbrella of protection, and we become easy targets for the forces of darkness. Years ago, I had a car accident right after I had prayed for protection for myself and my children. I confess that my faith had been shaken, and I sought the Lord about the matter, and asked Him what went wrong. He pointed out that right before the accident, I had been screaming at my children, and I had opened a door in the spirit realm to Satan, who "comes only to steal and kill and destroy," as Jesus said. (John 10:10 NIV) It was a costly lesson to learn, but also a very valuable one.
The Bible tells us: "Let every man be quick to hear [a ready listener], slow to speak, slow to take offense and to get angry. For man's anger does not promote the righteousness God [wishes and requires]." (James 1:19-20 AMP) We simply cannot please God when we have a tendency to lose our tempers easily. Patience is a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22), and with God's help, we can develop that fruit more and more, so that we can be Christlike examples to the world. The apostle Paul wrote: "Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." (Ephesians 4:31-32 NIV) When we get a revelation of how much the Lord has forgiven us, we will be more likely to walk in forgiveness toward others. Then the devil will have a very difficult time attacking or defeating us.
King David wisely wrote: "Stop being angry! Turn from your rage! Do not lose your temper - it only leads to harm." (Psalm 37:8 NLT) Your anger does have the potential to harm others, but mostly, it will harm YOU. As Ecclesiastes 7:9 (MSG) says, "Don't be quick to fly off the handle. Anger boomerangs. You can spot a fool by the lumps on his head."
Prayer: Lord, Your Word makes it clear that when I lose my temper easily, I could be harming myself and my witness. Make me a peaceful and patient person. Show me how to fully cooperate with You to that end. Help me to forgive others quickly and thoroughly, the way You do. Thank You that my obedience in this area will enable You to bless me and use me in greater ways than ever before!
- J. M. Farro
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