"Don't be quick to fly off the handle. Anger boomerangs. You can spot a fool by the lumps on his head."
- Ecclesiastes 7:9 MSG
My husband, Joe, and I have been raising pet ducks for twelve years now, and we have always used wood shavings for their bedding. We buy these shavings in 50-pound bags from our farm bureau, and we tend to go through them pretty quickly. I was cleaning the duck house one day recently, when I noticed that there were no bags of shavings nearby. I called out to my husband and asked him to bring me some. I stood by waiting and waiting for him to come, and as I waited I got angrier and angrier. Finally, I decided to get a bag myself, and as soon as I bent down to lift it, I felt a shooting pain in my back. I dragged the bag over to the duck house, still bent over from the pain, and as I sent up a prayer for help to the Lord, He reminded me of a verse in Ecclesiastes, which says, "Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools." (Ecclesiastes 7:9 NIV) It was then that I realized my mistake. My hastiness to become angry and offended made me a fool, and now I was reaping the consequences. My body was filled with unrelenting pain until I was able to get an appointment with my chiropractor to relieve my misery.
The Lord used this painful lesson to remind me of some of the ways anger can make us vulnerable to hurt and harm. First, He brought to my remembrance a powerful principle in the book of Proverbs, which 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) I had lifted those 50-pound bags of shavings many times before without ever hurting myself. Yet, this time, when I was seething with anger, my whole body tensed up and made me vulnerable to physical injury. If I had just remained calm and at peace, I never would have hurt myself enough to need medical intervention.
God also reminded me through this incident that when we lose control of our temper, we can open the door to demonic oppression. Scripture says: "Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity." (Ephesians 4:26-27 NASB) The Lord showed me that by allowing my anger to get the best of me, I made myself vulnerable to the forces of darkness. Jesus said that Satan "comes only to steal and kill and destroy". (John 10:10) And we cooperate with the devil's plans to do us harm when we ignore and disobey God's instructions and warnings. I was well aware of the Bible's stern warnings against anger, but I threw caution to the wind and decided to indulge in a few moments of what I deemed righteous indignation. Those few moments were all that my spiritual enemies needed to do me harm.
Do you and I have the ability to keep our strong emotions under control? Yes, we do, through the power of the Holy Spirit who dwells in us. (Galatians 5:22-23 NIV) Proverbs 29:11 (NIV) says: "A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control." The Lord wanted me to understand that anger always has consequences, and that they are almost always negative. On the other hand, peace and forgiveness minister life and healing to our spirits, souls, and bodies. Have you thought about how your anger could be affecting you?
Prayer: Lord, when I lose control of my temper in ways that displease You, help me to be quick to confess it as sin, and to turn away from it quickly. Remind me often of the destructive nature of anger, and teach me how to cooperate with Your Spirit to control it. Thank You that as I choose to walk in peace and forgiveness, life and health will flow freely in every part of me!
- J. M. Farro