Camp for the elementary age kids finishes today. My two younger ones cannot wait for Lauren to get back home.
Continuing with a peek at the camp lessons… Dan and I talked with the kids about being superheroes, that God had given us powers to accomplish a mandate, but we also reminded them that we have weaknesses the Enemy will exploit. One of the big ones is anger.
Ephesians 4:26-27 reads: In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. (NIV)
Satan will take advantage of our anger and get us distracted from our mission. Whether it explodes or it’s stuffed, anger can destroy our relationships, our focus and our credibility as followers of Jesus Christ. So what is anger exactly? Anger is an emotional response to being or feeling wronged that leads to a desire for vengeance. What’s wrong with that? God says, “Vengeance is Mine. I will repay.” (Deuteronomy 32:25). If I act on my anger, I am taking on God’s responsibility. That’s called “usurping”. It shows I don’t trust God to handle the situation.
I struggle with stuffing anger. Stuffed anger can morph into bitterness or depression, either of which can destroy a person. In writing fiction, I can explore these issues through my characters. In Contingency, Bobbi stuffs her anger at Chuck’s affair and slides into depression. I shared a few things I’ve learned in my own battle as she fights her way out.
It is possible to be angry without sinning, but it’s hard. Our best strategy is to avoid it altogether. Knowing what causes it can help us avoid it. James 1:19 gives a three step strategy for avoiding anger.
My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry (NIV)
Quick to listen – Make sure you get all the facts and that you understand them. Don’t jump to conclusions!!
Slow to speak – DON’T say the first thing that pops in your head, which is usually something like “You big dummy, how could you do something so stupid?!” This only escalates things. It is NOT helpful.
Slow to become angry – Don’t fly off the handle.