As churning the milk produces butter,
And as twisting the nose produces blood,
So stirring up anger produces strife.

Proverbs 30:33

Be angry and sin not.∗

King David and The Apostle Paul

Anger is a pretty devious thing.  It starts out fine.  As King David and the Apostle Paul say above, anger has a good side and a bad side.  The good side of anger is that it tells us something is wrong; there’s an injustice.  Somebody butts in front of you in line at the bank and you are already in a hurry.  C. S. Lewis writes this feeling that wells up is the notion that there are moral wrongs.  It connects us to the divine because:

His wrath can flare up in a moment.+

King David

Or to say it another way:

The anger of man does not fulfill the righteousness of God.

James 1:20

Our anger reminds us that there’s a larger morality beyond us.  We’re ticked at injustice.  God is, too!  The Bible says God has a right to be angry.  But He’s got omniscience and holiness on his side.

Do not repay anyone evil for evil…but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge: I will repay,” says the Lord.°

The Apostle Paul quoting Moses quoting God

So, God has a right to be angry and to hand out justice on judgment day, but you and me?  Well, we’re a tad short on figuring out exactly what needs to be done.

The good side of anger is to tell us something is wrong.  This is good and can motivate you to do the right thing.  You flunk a test at school.  You get mad at yourself for not studying.  You study next time.  You don’t flunk the next test.

The bad side of anger is that it tells us to get even.  Your wife slights you by scoffing when you say something and then she rolls her eyes.  You say something sarcastic because your feelings were hurt.  She puts her hands on her hips making her look bigger and more threatening like an angry goose flaring it’s wings in defense.  Then we’re off to the races and the sad thing is, both could say the other started it and

You pushed my buttons.

You and Me if we’re not careful

This is a scary thing, as we all can testify.  Many of us grew up in homes where anger was bandied about like a sword, slaying everyone figuratively, and sometimes literally, in it’s path.  How are you ever supposed to be normal if you grew up seeing your dad pummel your mother and you saw her trembling under the kitchen table?  How are you ever supposed to be normal if mom and dad yelled at each other into the wee hours of the night and you held your sister while both of you shook with fear?  How are you supposed to enjoy your life if you don’t dare say anything to your wife about your concerns because you don’t want to get her upset and have her lecture you in her “tone” on and on and on and on and….. and then when you say enough she says

You never listen to me!

Not only wives

Anger destroys marriages.  Destroys families.  Destroys lives.  Destroys neighborhoods.  Without even trying.

That’s the problem.  We feel justified in this anger.  To quote Jonah:

I have a right to be angry!⊗

Your anger stirs up anger in me and my anger stirs up anger in you and

As churning the milk produces butter,
And as twisting the nose produces blood,

is there any wonder our homes are filled with strife?  And some would want a divorce?  Gotta be safe somewhere.  Can’t be safe at home.  Gotta leave home.  Maybe if I give in sexually that cute boy will protect me.  My dad doesn’t.  Maybe I should get drunk so I can forget that my husband berates me.  Maybe I shouldn’t go home ‘cuz I can’t stand the scowling I get from my wife when I walk through the door.  Maybe if I’m a husband or wife I could find solace in someone else’s arms.

She accepts me!  She listens to me.  She doesn’t judge me.  I can talk to her!

Many cheating men who have justified their affairs
(Cheating women say the same thing about their affairs)
(Isn’t it interesting that anger can lead to affairs?)

Or we could let God handle all that when he’s good and ready and when our husband or wife is madder than a pistol say,

Hey, what’s up?  You seem upset.  Everything OK?

Or we could apologize.
Or suggest we take a break.
Or say could you repeat that?
I’m sorry.
I was starting to get a little defensive there.
I could see why that would upset you.
So it sounds like what you are trying to say is that…
How long have you felt like that?
You’re kidding?
That totally sucks.
Yeah, I see what you mean.

A quiet answer turns away wrath.

Proverbs 15:1

It beats bodies in the ditch….or in someone else’s bedroom.


∗ Psalm 4:4 (NIV) and Ephesians 4:26
+ Psalm 2:12
° Romans 12:17, 19; Deuteronomy 32:35 (NIV)
⊗ Jonah 4:4,9 This is my paraphrase.  Actually, God asked Jonah if Jonah had a right to be angry.  It’s obvious by the context Jonah thought he did.

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