“Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.” Romans 12, Msg
Many years ago, I called my favorite uncle to ask if my cousin was home to talk with her. I opened the conversation with, “Hi, how’s it going?” He blew up at me in anger asking, “Where ARE you!?” I was speechless until I quickly remembered that my voice sounds almost exactly like my cousin’s voice and said, “I’m Susan”. His voice and demeanor turned “on a dime” as we say. Immediately he said, “Oh, I’m doing fine, how are you?” as if the previous banter had not even taken place. My cousin was late getting in and was in deep trouble. I did not add to the fire but quickly completed that conversation. Whew…I had never been on the receiving end of my uncle’s anger. I knew I didn’t want to ever go there again!
Years later, we laugh about the mistaken identity, but I am reminded that anger is ugly and can be controlled. God can and wants to help us mature in this area of our lives. The world says “it’s just part of life, deal with it and who I am”, but God says, “let me help you mature in this area of your life.” “God brings the best out of us” as Paul writes to the Romans.
Paul, who used to be full of anger, throwing as many believers in Christ in jail as he possibly could, the person who allowed God to change him, now writes…let God bring out the best in you.
Anger is a choice. Pastor Rick Warren writes, “If you want to tame your temper, you must resolve to manage it. You have to quit saying, “I can’t control it!” and realize that you can. Just like love, anger is a choice. When you get angry, you choose to get angry. Nobody is forcing you to get angry. People say, “You make me so mad!” But nobody can make you mad without your permission. Anger is a choice, and you must choose to control it if you want to be a loving person. You have far more control over your anger than you may want to admit.”
My example of my uncle being angry in one spewing breath and then sugary sweet in the next breath is a perfect example of being able to CONTROL this emotion. We do have that power in us to help us control anger. We must decide BEFORE it happens to bring anger under our control. That is the “well-formed maturity” that God’s Word is talking about in Romans 12.
The Bible says in Proverbs 29:11, “Fools vent their anger, but the wise quietly hold it back” (NLT). Do you want to be a foolish person or a wise person? How you respond to a situation is your responsibility and yours alone. Anger is a choice.
The time to decide to manage your anger is not when your blood pressure is rising, your adrenaline is shooting into your system, you can feel the flush in your face, and your muscles tense.
You’ve already lost the battle at that point.
Resolve to manage your anger in advance — before you go into that meeting or open the front door to home at the end of the day. You decide, “Today, I’m just not going to get angry. I’m not going to let it get to me.” You manage your anger by first resolving — deciding in advance — that you’re going to hold back your anger. When there is “surprise attack” of anger…walk away until you have control to deal with the situation.
In Jesus Name, Amen