What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. – James 4:1-2
Scripture reading: Genesis 27
So anger is all about what you love. Sinful anger involves loving all the wrong things. We get angry to protect the things we love. If we love and highly value comfort, we may yell at our children when they disturb it. When I feel that respect due to me is threatened, I may react with anger against the person challenging my reputation. This is why we are so often blind to our anger: we are simply protecting what we love and feel deeply about. The more we invest in what we love, the harder we will fight to protect it.
Be careful that you do not underestimate just how dangerous anger is. Because anger will often feel incredibly empowering. Rebekah said to Jacob, “Your brother Esau comforts himself with the thought of killing you” (Gen. 27:42). Anger is so destructive, to ourselves and to those around us.
Frederick Buechner once wrote:
“Of the seven deadly sins, anger is possibly the most fun. To lick your wounds, to smack your lips over grievances lost past, to roll over your tongue the prospect of bitter confrontations still to come…in many ways it is a feast fit for a king. The chief drawback is that what you are wolfing down is yourself. The skeleton at the feast is you.”
Suggestions for prayer
“I am troubled for my sin of passion, for the shame and horror of it as an evil; Lord God, I know that my sudden anger arises when things cross me, and I desire to please only myself, not Christ.” – The Valley of Vision: Passion
This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Mark Stewart serves the Burlington URC in Burlington, WA.