In the book of Proverbs, we’re often advised to be patient, or slow to get angry (take a look at Proverbs 14:29; 15:18; 16:32). That doesn’t mean that being angry is always wrong. There are only a few times in Scripture when Jesus showed anger. He got angry with the money changers and merchants in the temple, who weren’t charging fair prices and were treating the holy place as a market. (You can read about this in Matthew 21:12-13, Mark 11:15-18 and John 2:13-22.) He was also angry with the Pharisees in Mark 3:4-5 when they wouldn’t answer His question about whether it was right to heal someone on the Sabbath. Jesus got angry with unfairness, corruption, and hypocrisy, especially when those involved should have known better. But He never became angry about what someone did to Him, and never retaliated or lashed out at people who wronged Him. Even as His executioners nailed Him to the cross, He prayed, ‘Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing’ (Luke 23:34 NLT). We should follow His example. Proverbs 15:1 says: ‘A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare’ (NLT). During an argument, what usually happens is the people involved tend to match their tones of voice, so when one shouts, the other shouts back. But if someone takes a moment to check their tone, and replies to a shouted, angry comment with a calm, gentle reply, it can take some of the heat out of the situation, and avoid it becoming a furious confrontation where the people involved achieve very little beyond upsetting each other. So let’s follow Jesus’ example, and try to be patient, calm and gentle, even when we’re dealing with angry, hurtful people.
Think about the last time you were angry, or in an argument with someone. How did you react? Was it in a gentle, calm way? If not, ask God to help you have a more Christlike attitude when faced with anger.
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