“The anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” James 1:20
I read where Abraham Lincoln’s secretary of war, Edwin Stanton, was once angered by an army officer who accused him of favoritism. Stanton complained to Lincoln, who suggested that Stanton write the officer a sharp letter. Stanton did, and showed the strongly worded letter to the president. “What are you going to do with it?” the president inquired. Stanton replied, “Send it!” President Lincoln shook his head. “You don’t want to send that letter,” he said. “Put it in the stove. That’s what I do when I have written a letter while I am angry. It’s a good letter and you had a good time writing it and feel better. Now burn it, and write another.”
Have you ever lost your temper? In fact, I really don’t even know why we use that phrase. It has been my experience that a more appropriate way to explain an angry outburst would be “finding” your temper. It seems to me that I know just where to find my temper when my buttons are pushed! There are plenty of letters, emails, text messages, and spoken words that we should have “burned in the oven” before sending to others. Losing your temper can be very embarrassing and humiliating. This has happened to me more times than I care to remember. I am reminded by God’s Word that the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. In other words, no matter how justified I may feel my words or actions are through an outburst of anger, it always does more harm than good in my relationships with people. The Bible tells me to be angry and sin not. This is very hard to do, and I must rely on the power of God’s Spirit. Jesus who lives His life through me will curb and calm me when I get fired up. I have learned that those who fly off the handle seldom make a good landing. Have you sinned lately when something has made you mad? Humble yourself as a child and make things right with the person who caught the lion’s share of your outburst. You may just find that your relationship with that person can still be intact after having lost it. In fact, your love and humility will make it better.
“Lord Jesus, forgive me of outbursts of anger that do not produce the righteousness of God. Work in me patience and understanding, humility and strong confidence in You. Keep us from sin when life’s struggles make us angry. Amen.”