You Make Me So Mad!
Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires. James 1:19-20
Have the words, “You make me so mad!” ever come out of your mouth? If so, you’re not alone. It’s easy to think that someone else’s wrong or thoughtless behavior is causing you to be out of control and angry! If that were true–and many people live their lives as if it is, we would constantly be angry and bitter! We’re surrounded by a world of imperfect people who will always irritate, wrong and disappoint us.
The Bible says that fools are quick tempered, venting their anger, and that anger leads them to do foolish things, like starting fights. Is it wrong to get mad? No. Sensible people get angry—and there are wrong things that we should get angry about! But it also says that sensible people control their anger (Proverbs 14:29).
“You’re in charge of how you feel,” my friend’s wise father once explained to me. It’s true; no one is responsible for my anger except me! Control of anger shows strength and understanding (Proverbs 16:32, 14:29). But my heart is “deceitful above all things and beyond cure,” on my own (Jeremiah 16:9). Without the Holy Spirit, we can expect things like “fits of rage and selfish ambition” (Galatians 5:19-20) but when I listen to the Holy Spirit, gentleness and self-control are possible.
This difficult battle may require me to temporarily step away from a situation. Time-outs work for kids and adults alike. Then, I can breathe a quick prayer asking the Holy Spirit for the calm that’s been promised (Romans 14:17).
Resource reading: Galatians 5:16-26