I don’t like being angry. I mean, I really dislike being agitated. So when my flesh gets provoked and jumps into the pool of emotion surrounding the event or circumstance that triggered my anger, I could almost get angry for being sucked into an emotion I dislike.
The battle is real.
James said it best. “So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath, for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God” (James 1:19-20).
For any moms out there, here’s an example you might relate to: you worked all day, came home to a repairman that you called but expected him at a different time; you get him started while you figure out what to cook for dinner before you have to leave for a meeting; meal cooked and eaten with family, no time to clean up due to more necessary conversations with repairman; go to two-hour successful meeting, pull into driveway happy until you walk in the house and see that your family left the kitchen exactly as you left it… oh, and there’s wet clothes in the washer, and three loads of dry clothes in baskets by your bed that inevitably someone is going to dig through to find that one piece of clothing they can’t live without (or help fold and put away).
Have I painted enough of a scenario to set off any flesh alarms yet?
What do you do?
Option One: storm into the living room, yelling and fussing at your “lazy” family who never helps you, or…
Option Two: start banging cabinets and pans around the kitchen while saying nothing but making a lot of noise with your obvious irritation, or…
Option Three: ask yourself if the anger is really worth it? And just clean it up because you like a clean kitchen and don’t want leftovers to go to waste.
In the past, I’ve immediately gone to options one or two, and reaped zero reward from choosing wrath. The Greek definition of wrath in James 1:19-20 is an outburst of a vengeful mind. Seriously, that’s what I was doing when I chose to get angry (notice I said “chose”). The only thing my choice got me was a headache and a guilty conscious because of my awful attitude.
But on the contrary, whenever I’ve chosen option three (to just do what needs to be done without anger), my home and heart are filled with God’s love, peace, and joy. I know what you’re thinking… but is that training your family to let you do all the work? Maybe. But I don’t do it for them. “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him” (Colossians 3:17). First, I make decisions out of a good conscious toward God. And secondly, I do it for myself (I like a clean kitchen!) because I have to live with me — and the peaceful “me” is much better than the angry version of myself.
There is righteous anger and unrighteous anger. But be careful because “justified” anger still doesn’t produce the righteousness of God (His peace, joy, and love). So the next time you’re tempted, ask yourself: Is my anger really worth it? I’d lay a bet on NO, it’s not.
And for the record, the above scenario is real. I cleaned up the kitchen while singing along with a favorite playlist on my phone, then put the clothes in the dryer, and folded the now four baskets of clean clothes — all within 30 minutes. No outbursts of wrath, no headache, no guilt. My choice to forego anger was well worth it.