Snow or sewage...not all anger is the same.

Anger can be as pure as snow and as polluted as sewage. The spiritual line of demarcation is clear but we often misjudge our anger. Our judgement can be flawed because in our anger we rarely make time for honest assessment. This is why this proverb is so relevant, "A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back." The key here is subtle but powerful, "his spirit". What starts out righteous can go south in a heartbeat and all that's needed to overrun God's Spirit is our raw, unchecked spirit. One is supernatural, the other is super dangerous.

Jesus was no pacifist. So how can his behavior in the temple courts, violent by any measure, not be regarded as sinful. He threw out every, yes every, person who was marketing God. And don't miss that Jesus took the time to make his own whip. He also tossed heavy tables around and left the place in disarray. But this anger never crossed a line. The line of demarcation that Jesus never crossed was the line of self interest. When self interest is at our core, the results will never be God honoring or culture saving. Self interested anger always has a healthy dose of flesh and nothing ever truly gets resolved or settled. Self centered anger never calms a storm it actually "stirs up conflict".

This leads to one of the most exciting opportunities for a disciple of Christ that could ever be considered. The chance to reel in our emotions long enough to measure the intensity of our anger, but mainly to determine its origin, is a golden moment for any man or woman of God. There's clearly an anger that is righteous. But any anger that is driven by a personal offense to self is destined to get out of control and it's better left with God to handle. So we have a great opportunity. We can exercise a spiritual discipline that's at the ready for every disciple of Jesus.

In a moment when we want to give our anger "full vent", we can quiet ourselves and allow God to search our heart. When self focused anger is brought in check under the power of the Holy Spirit, the payoff is huge. Many hurt feelings can be avoided. Esteem of others with healthy doses of love and grace can be given. And where there was once a pile of regret, there can now be a clean slate. 

Do a "180 Now". Don't try to get rid of anger, first measure it. If what you find is an anger with self at the core, quietly hand it over to God. He is more able to deal with personal offenses and God is less likely to make such a mess. Some anger is like snow and other anger is like sewage. The discernment is clear when we take the time see from where it comes.

 

Proverbs 29: 11 & 22