One of my worst enemies was a man who listened to my self-pity and said I had a right to feel as I did toward the one who had “made me mad.” One of my best friends was a man who said I was already feeling angry or what that person did would not have bothered me.
The second person went on to tell me that, whenever I say, “So-and-so makes me mad,” I am also admitting that I have given “so-and-so” complete control over my life; that all he has to do is detect whether I am sad, mad or glad, and he can possess and manipulate my every mood, attitude and action.
Lest anyone think that is just so much psycho-babble, let me quote Matthew 12:34-37:
“(Jesus) said, ‘The mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart. The good man out of his good treasure brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of his evil treasure brings forth what is evil. And I say to you, that every careless word that men shall speak, they shall render account for it in the day of judgment. For by your words you shall be justified, and by your words you shall be condemned.'” (NASB)
If my heart is filled with anger, may God have mercy on anyone who crosses my path–especially if they say or do something I do not like. Even if they are trying to be helpful and considerate, my hostile heart will find a way to be critical or pick a fight with them. And most likely I will not take responsibility for my furor but blame them for it.
Remember Cain and Abel? The account is in Genesis 4. When Cain failed to please God, he became angry. Not at himself, but at Abel who had been obedient. Even when God confronted him and offered a solution to the problem, Cain’s rage only grew more intense until he killed his innocent brother.
Anger is rarely the problem in and of itself. It is merely a normal human emotion. But there is a right way and a wrong way to manage it. Paul spoke of it in Ephesians 4:26-27:
“Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity.” (NASB) It is misplaced or unresolved anger that has the power to kill.