ODJ: Taming Anger

June 17, 2016 

READ: 1 Samuel 24:1-22 

The wise will calm anger (Proverbs 29:8).

“I can feel your anger. I am defenceless. Take your weapon! Strike me down with all of your hatred, and your journey towards the dark side will be complete!”

These chilling words were delivered by Scottish actor Ian McDiarmid as he played the role of the Emperor in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. In this memorable scene, the Emperor fruitlessly tried to sway the film’s hero, Luke Skywalker, to join him on the dark side of evil. But anger itself wasn’t enough to make Luke evil. It happened when he let rage consume him to the point of taking action.

David could have reacted to Saul’s murderous rage and let his own anger get the best of him (1 Samuel 23:15). He could have become enraged and slain the king who was trying to kill him (24:4). But he left Saul in God’s hands, not willing to use his own hands to harm him (v.10). Hundreds of years later, Jesus displayed divine and righteous anger as He overturned tables and used a whip to drive out those who were misusing the temple courts (Matthew 21:12-13; John 2:13-22). Jesus wasn’t being ruled by anger; He was displaying His holy and perfect nature. Anger can be bad (like Luke Skywalker’s) or good (like Christ’s).

It’s not pleasant to encounter anger, especially the righteous anger of God. It can be comforting, however, to see that anger itself is not sinful. What we do with our anger—whether we “give in to hate” or not—makes all the difference.

Today, it’s likely that someone or something in our lives will cause us to become angry. In that moment may we live out this truth by God’s power: “The wise will calm anger” (Proverbs 29:8). Let’s lean on His Spirit to help us grow in love, patience and self-control (Galatians 5:22-24).

—Andy Rogers

365-day plan: John 1:35-51

Read Matthew 5:21-25 and John 2:13-22. Consider what Jesus reveals about anger and also the reasons He was filled with righteous anger. 
Think back to a time when you lashed out in anger, or when someone lashed out at you. Was the reaction appropriate? What can you learn from that experience?