Monday, July 13, 2020

Anger and Us

God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry?” Jonah 4:9 

Anger is not always or necessarily sinful, but it has such a tendency to run wild that whenever it displays itself, we should be quick to question its character. Ask yourself this question: “Is it right for you to be angry?” It might be that we can answer yes. Often, anger is the madman’s torch, but sometimes it is Elijah’s fire from heaven. We do well when we become angry with sin, because of the wrong it commits against our good and gracious God; or with ourselves because we remain so foolish after so much divine teaching; or with others when the sole cause of our anger is the evil they do. The person who is not angry at wickedness becomes complicit in it. Sin is a loathsome and hateful thing, and no renewed heart can endure it with patience. God himself is angry with the wicked every day, and it is written in His Word, “You who love the LORD, hate evil!” (Psalm 97:10 ESV). Far more often, I fear, our anger is not commendable or even justifiable—so we must answer God’s question to Jonah, no. Why should we be uptight with our children, hot-tempered with our employees, and angry with our companions? Is such anger honorable to our Christian profession or glorifying to our God? Isn’t it really the old evil heart seeking to gain control? Shouldn’t we resist that with all the might of our born-again nature? Many professing Christians give way to temper as though it were useless to resist it, but let us remember that we must conquer in every point—or else we cannot be crowned. If we can’t control our tempers, what has grace done for us? A wise man was once told that grace is often grafted onto a crabapple stump. “Yes,” the man replied, “but the fruit will not be sour.” We must not make our natural weakness an excuse for sin, but run to the cross and ask the Lord to crucify our tempers. May He renew us in gentleness and meekness after His own image. - C.H. Spurgeon Morning and Evening 

This certainly is a hot topic. 

In my own life it has been a difficult rollercoaster to deal with.  My temper can, depending on what it is, go from a match lit to an inferno.  It's not to say that it's a hairpin trigger, it's really to say that there's atypically a long fuse with a big stick of dynamite at the other end.  Makes life interesting at the wrong times. 

Anger is as he writes in today's devotional.  Jonah's anger was a racial anger. His Jewish heritage was against those in Nineveh.  It excited him to know they would be destroyed. It ripped him in two to know it was upon him to give them the warning from God that if they didn't repent they would be destroyed.  He didn't want them warned! He wanted them dead! For the Lord to tell him what he was to do went against every fiber of his being. He was raised to hate those people. 

The Lord had evidently more in mind than just saving them in this point in history.  He was trying to teach Jonah about mercy and grace. His lesson becomes our lesson. 

In this world in which we live racial tensions are rising.  People are intentionally inflaming them.  I was never raised to look at another person and judge the solely by the color of it.  God doesn't, why should I?  Jesus didn't care if a person was a Jew or Gentile.  In their culture you could only be one or the other.  If you came to Christ He was there for them.  He had His times of anger but look at what it was about.  Hard hearts, about unrepentant sinful people.  About the blind leading the blind. About what you read in Psalms. He would be angry about those who would defile His Father's house.  Somehow I don't think our reasons for getting angry come close.  Unless we too see those things in ourselves or others. 

Racial anger is taught. It's not something you wake up just doing.  Someone gets convinced of the necessity to solely be angered towards another person by defining that anger as being founded in the color of their skin.  A son or daughter sees their parents behavior and it gets learned.  They see others they know behaving that way and see that it's acceptable so they allow it in their own lives.  

People really do forget that everyone alive today has their ancestry going back to 8 people.  Noah, his wife, his sons and their wives.  All mankind came from them.  One bloodline.  The scientific community has proven that the Genesis Flood was real, so guess what, so is the fact of life that all races have their roots in Noah and his family. 

If you don't stop picking at it, it's never going to get better.  Most of us heard that growing up concerning wounds we received.  Racial tensions keep festering because people won't stop what they are doing in choosing to be angry. 

Anger, like joy, is a choice. You can choose to be one or the other but you can't choose both.  Jonah couldn't handle God's choice to forgive.  His anger was blinding him to grace.  The Lord's unmerited favor upon those people.  He provided a physical example in that tree that grew up to protect Jonah. The Lord didn't have to show grace to Jonah, He chose to.

We don't have to be consumed with the sinful types of anger. We choose to.

We can choose a better way called grace.

Jesus showed infinite grace by dying on a cross in your place and mine.  Taking on the full wrath of God on that day.  Consider the grace bestowed on all mankind that day.  No, I really saw something new about it this morning, it's greater than we read.  Look at the wrath poured out in the days that are written in Revelation.  If God the Father hadn't focused all the wrath to do with sin exactly upon His one and only Son, all of the Universe would have been destroyed.  Nobody would be alive to tell about it. Read chapters 4 to 20 in Revelation.  The scale of the wrath of the judgements is beyond anything ever seen by this Universe. Even in that...sadly...people would rather die than acknowledge their need to be saved by Jesus.  

If you are reading this and are not saved.  Realize that Jesus took the wrath of God for you on the cross.  He took the penalty for your sin in its full measure. So that you could choose to live in Christ.  

Jesus is the answer to your anger issues as well as mine.  Grace, showing unmerited favor, to others comes from the Holy Spirit within those who are saved. 

Before you let your anger get the best of you, remember first to ask yourself that same question the Lord asked Jonah. Do you have a right to be angry?

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