Anger is a common human emotion that negatively affects us and others. Anger often leads to emotional, social, spiritual and physical problems in our lives. We would like to control our anger, but we constantly fall back into the same trap.
Anger is a choice. We may blame others for our anger, but we can move beyond our anger and live a life of meekness. Meekness is: “Yielding all of my rights and expectations to God.” Whenever we become angry, it shows that there is an area in our life that we have yet to yield to God. Here are three ways that we can move beyond anger and live a life of meekness.
UNDERSTAND GOD’S VIEW OF OUR ANGER
1. God’s commands us to put aside anger. Psalm 37:8 says: “Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.” Anger leads to wrath which leads to evil actions. Anger destroys our Christian testimony. Our anger shows that we are defending our rights. Our focus is not upon Christ, but upon ourselves.
2. God tells us that anger causes strife with others. “A wrathful man stirreth up strife: but he that is slow to anger appeaseth strife.” (Proverbs 15:18) Anger creates strife in marriages, in parent-child relationships, in friendships, in work relationships as well as church relationships. Our anger is divisive and very self-centered. This is the very opposite of love.
3. God tells us to avoid friendship with angry people. “Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go: Lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul.” An angry person not only causes strife, but he also causes others to take up his angry cause. Anger is like a contagious disease that goes from one person to another. For this reason, we are not to develop close friendships with this type of person.
TRANSFORM YOUR ANGER TO MEEKNESS
1. Meekness is one of the fruit of the Holy Spirit. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23) Anger is often the symptom of something seriously wrong in our lives. When the Holy Spirit controls us, anger will no longer control us. Meekness must come from the Holy Spirit because it isn’t natural for us to yield up our rights to God.
2. Meekness learns to pass over a transgression against us. When somebody wrongs us, we react in anger. Yes, this is natural, but it is also very destructive to us and to others. Jesus Christ said: “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;” (Matthew 5:44) This is only possible when we yield the right to our time, possessions, reputation, etc. unto God. Is this not what Joseph did in response to the treachery of his brothers?
3. Meekness remembers who we are in the eyes of God. Angry people have an inflated view of their own importance. We develop meekness when we look at ourselves from God’s perspective. Paul didn’t become angry throughout his trials with others because he remembered that he was the greatest of all sinners, whom God saved.
4. Meekness is seen in the life of Christ. “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5) When Christ came to earth, he gave up many of His rights “ He would experience hunger, pain, rejection and eventually death. Why did he do this? Christ demonstrated meekness because He saw that His rights were much less important than His mission to die on the cross for our sin.
Our anger says that my rights are more important than ministering to others. Where would we be if Christ choose not yield his rights? When Christ prayed to the Father, he laid down his rights. “Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.” (Luke 22:42) Can we say the same prayer?
FOCUS ON THE FRUITS OF MEEKNESS
1. We will enjoy God’s presence and teaching: “The meek will he guide in judgment: and the meek will he teach his way.” (Psalm 25:9)
2. We will walk in God’s peace and joy. “But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.” (Psalm 37:11)
3. We will respond eagerly to God’s Word. “Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.” (James 1:21)
4. We will experience contentment. “The meek shall eat and be satisfied: they shall praise the Lord that seek him:” (Psalm 22:26)
“Lord, I find it easy to become angry with difficult circumstances and difficult people. My anger keeps me from enjoying your presence, peace and power. I need to learn to yield all of my rights to you. Please help me to develop a meek spirit. Thank you for sending Your Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, who yielded His rights for my salvation. Amen”