No matter how just your words may be, you ruin everything when you speak with anger.
I struggle with anger. I had no idea that this sin lived in my heart until God gave me a family. I am still having a hard time admitting this because all of my life I prided myself on the fact that I was patient and slow to anger. Turns out my patience and longsuffering were never put to the test until I had a family.
I know I am not the only one who is distraught about the anger that can so regularly bubble to the surface of the heart and then overflow into unkind tone of voices and snippy responses. For some that slow burn irrupts into an all out fit of rage and yelling. Seneca calls anger “a short fit of madness.”
The worst part about anger is that is does not bring about the righteousness of that we desire (James 1:19) Instead it hurts those who are at the receiving end of our anger, disfigures our character, breeds hatred and distrusts,tears apart relationships, and worst of all dishonors God.
It ruins everything.
[Anger] devours almost all other good emotions. It deadens the soul. It numbs the heart to joy and gratitude and hope and tenderness and compassion and kindness.
But where do we begin and how do we fight?
After repenting we need to figure out what the opposite of anger is. It is NOT patience. The opposite of anger is actually meekness.
Meekness is not a word we use very often. Many believe that meekness means weakness. It doesn’t. It also does not mean, spinelessness or indecisiveness. It does not mean to be polite or timid or even naturally kind and soft spoken.
So what is meekness? Warren Wiersbe has said that meekness is power under control. While that is a good and succinct definition I believe we need to say more about it.
Matthew Henry said meekness is a quietness of spirit that calms our raging and deepens our humility. It is a kind of gentleness and self control even when the heart is hot and that requires strength. A weak person cannot be meek.
Now, there are no quick fixes or fast tips to conquering anger and learning meekness. It is a process. One that demands our time, energy, mind, heart. Here are a few things that will leads us down the path of meekness and away from anger.
1. Study Christ
Meekness is not a quality you can muster up on your own. If you try you will fail within a day, a week or a month. The power you and I need to become meek is found in Christ. I know we all like to do lists, but if we want to grow in the character of meekness we need to know what it looks like and the best way to see meekness in action is to study the life of Jesus who was perfectly meek for us.
Learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart.
2. Study meekness
Go through the Bible and mark all the verses that talk about meekness, humility, gentleness, kindness and self-control. Study them, know their meaning and ask yourself what is hindering you in living these verses out in your life.
3. Don’t love this World
The world runs on self centeredness and pride. When something or someone gets in the way of these vices anger erupts. It will dethrone God and make us act as if this world should bow before us, feeding our sense of entitlement and fueling our unkind words and tone of voice. (Romans 12:2)
4. Learn to Pause
Most often our anger spews out because we are quick to react to a situation or person without first thinking things through. We must learn to exercise our self control and pause before we speak or act. The advice “think twice before you speak once” is a wise one and we would do well to practice this.
Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,
5. Focus on the power of Christ
If you try to become meek in your own strength two things will happen. When you succeed you will become proud and when you fail (which will inevitably happen) you will feel despair. The power we need to become people who are characterized by meekness and who kill anger is a power much greater than our own. We need the crazy power of Christ. A power so strong that it can create worlds and overcome death. Amazingly this power is offered to every Christian, so pray, often, that Christ would use his power to work in you something you cannot do on your own.
The more we understand and seek after meekness the less prone we will be to let anger get the best of us. But this is only something we will learn and grow in as we sit at Jesus feet and let the power of his life and death impact ours.