Short fuses, quick tempers, and God

Most of us struggle with anger occasionally, and some of us more often than that.

An aggressive driver cuts you off in traffic.

A boss blames you for his mistake.

You trip over your child’s toys, which she left out . . . again.

Your spouse forgets to pick up your son from practice.

One response may come naturally.

Lose your cool. Blow up. Come unglued. Hurl the insults like daggers.

It feels good, doesn’t it? At least temporarily.

But of course it’s not right, and it’s not helpful at all.

The New Testament presents a consistent witness against human anger. Here’s a short sample:

But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth (Colossians 3:8).

Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice (Ephesians 4:31).

But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment . . . (Matthew 5:22).

For I fear that perhaps when I come I may find you not as I wish, and that you may find me not as you wish—that perhaps there may be quarreling, jealousy, anger, hostility, slander, gossip, conceit, and disorder (2 Corinthians 12:20).

Now the works of the flesh are evident: . . . fits of anger, . . . (Galatians 5:19-20).

In the Colossians passage above, Paul chastises the believers by telling them, in essence, “You’ve got to get rid of your anger. You may have acted that way before you followed Christ, but now you’ve got a new identity.”

Some of you probably don’t need this lesson, but a few of you may.

Take a few minutes and reflect on these passages. Ask God to use them to search your heart for traces of anger and bitterness that you may have ignored.

Ask him to forgive you for letting your anger lead you to mistreat people.

Ask him to replace it with patience, love, and kindness.

He may convict you to apologize to your spouse, kids, or coworkers.

I’ve heard people brag about their quick tempers before. “I’ve got a short fuse,” they said. “People know not to push the wrong buttons with me.”

What they don’t recognize is that short fuses don’t glorify God.

Got a quick temper?

God wants to help you get rid of it.

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