When You’re the Bomb
By Janel Breitenstein
It was not one of my finer moments in marriage. We were only about six months in on this whole “together for a lifetime” gig—and we were arguing like it was going out of style. I pity the folks on the other side of the duplex.
But what I actually told my husband? “I didn’t have these issues with my family. So the problem must be with you.”
Yeah. I was just as immature as that sounded. Later, having kids would further reveal that the Bible was right (shocker): Our conflicts were because of desires raging in myself and my husband (see James 4:1).
We both had issues at that point—serious ones. But blaming, it turns out, didn’t solve any of them.
Did you know that anger is actually considered a secondary emotion? It typically occurs because of another emotion: Fear. Rejection. Disappointment. Hurt. Humiliation.
It’s a dashboard light: Something precious to us has been trampled on.
Unfortunately, “the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God” (James 1:20). All too often, that activating emotion of rage becomes a force to bring about my kingdom, my glory, rather than God’s.
Rather than as a scalpel for removing sin, we use anger as a grenade, obliterating anything and anyone in our path.
We aren’t slow to anger, as God is. We’re a slave to the anger that masters us (2 Peter 2:19). Funny thing is, I could control appearances if I was angry at my spouse and then picked up the phone (“Oh! Hi! How are you?”).
Why couldn’t I control it for the people I loved most?
And it leaves our spouses, families, and lives achingly vulnerable: “A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls” (Proverbs 25:28).
Are you making your anger someone else’s issue?
The good stuff: Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. (James 1:19-20)
Action points: Pray over a period of time about your anger, observing what makes you angry. What’s the primary emotion beneath? What is the primary desire—which may be inflated out of proportion? Ask God to reveal what’s unholy about your anger, and to help you take the next step to getting it under His control.
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