What Makes You Angry?

I heard a good sermon Sunday on anger. The pastor is doing a series on the Sermon on the Mount and this Sunday he was using Matthew 6:21-22. Those are sobering verses. He told us that anger is an assault on the image of God in another person; it abides in our hearts and nurses contempt there where it begins to take shape. It leads to the judgment of God on our lives. We deal with it by repenting and find the embrace of God or resist and find the opposition of God. He did not go into all the aspects of anger or the kinds of anger. But it caused me to think about my own anger.

Sometimes at a dinner party to start conversation, I ask questions. Two of the questions I have used are, “What makes you laugh?” and “What makes you angry?” It’s fun to hear the different answers and often it is surprising to hear what some people come up with.

People make me laugh! I love to watch people and travelling as much as I do, I get many opportunities to do just that.  The way they dress, talk, react to situations, other people. Children are fun to watch. Even when I am speaking I am observing people. Once while speaking I heard snoring and so I looked around to find the source. An older gentleman was resting his head on the back of a pew and snoring away – not softly – but quite loudly. It was all I could do not to burst out laughing. Another time I was speaking from a dias in a large ballroom when a cell phone rang. A lady at a front table just beneath where I was speaking answered it and proceeded to carry on a lengthy conversation! I am not sure what she was thinking! That I couldn’t hear her?! Like I said, people make me laugh.

Injustice makes me angry. I am not entertained by movies that deal with slavery, the Holocaust or abuse of power, even war. I have seen injustice. I have experienced it. It makes me angry. I still think life should be fair. I know; those closest to me remind me that life is unfair. But I still long for things to be made right. This side of heaven, it will always be unfair. And the greatest injustice of all was perpetrated on Jesus. He did not defend Himself – He endured all that injustice, humiliation, grief, pain, suffering for me. He loved me that much. What a wonderful Redeemer we have!

Anger at injustice is a good kind of anger. But anger that broods to bitterness seeking avenues of revenge does not belong in the life of a believer. We must ask God to show us areas where we have that kind of anger, confess it and ask God to help us root it out. Find a Bible verse that applies to that situation, memorize it and use it every time you sense that anger begin to surface.

I tell you that, not because I have my act together but because I was convicted by the pastor’s sermon. And know I have areas of anger to work on in my life – or let God work on them in me! I have quarters on my car’s dashboard to remind me of people I need to forgive and ask God to help me let go of my anger. When people get in my car they think it is change for tolls – they may ask and I confess to them. They usually laugh and tell me it’s a good idea! For me it is a reminder how far I have to go to be like Jesus and I am grateful that He loves me anyway.

What makes you laugh? What makes you cry? Angry?

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