Chapter 18 of The Excellent Wife deals with anger: What is anger? How does the Bible describe anger? Is it ever right to be angry at your husband? What should I do with my anger?
I will be the first to admit that I can and do get angry. Usually, when I’m angry I want someone to know about it. I will raise my voice. I will say things I should not say. I will cry and attempt to get what I want. Basically, I act like a two year old. On the other hand, if I don’t especially feel like making a big show of how angry I am, I will pout. Yes, pout. Sulk. Then there are other times when I’m angry, and instead of yelling at someone I love or crying, I go into a cleaning frenzy. Unfortunately, the latter doesn’t happen very often.
This chapter hit me square between the eyes. As in other chapters, Peace offers lots of practical, biblical helps for being an overcomer.
She begins by defining anger using the various New Testament words for anger.
1. Orge (Greek)– “raging anger” — meaning “violent passion, anger, indignation, or vengeance.”
2. “outburst of anger” — a deed of the flesh we are to put to death, as explained in Galatians 5. It is also translated “wrath,” and means “angry tempers, fierce, indignation, passion, rage, or wrath.”
3. Parorismos (Greek) — meaning “irritation” and it basically connotes to “provoke to anger.”
Peace teaches that we are being like Saul (when he wanted to kill David), like Cain (when he killed Abel), and like the Pharisees (who in their hardness of heart, pride and anger incited the people to call for the murder of Jesus). Those are good examples of angry people found in the Bible.
Not only does the Bible offer us examples, it also offers a doctrine, if you will, of anger.
1. God has righteous anger (See Psalm 7:11).
2. Man can have righteous anger also (See Ephesians 4:26). But I’m not counting on it coming from me. Peace writes, “Even biblically justifiable anger is often sinful coming from us. You can know your anger is righteous is in spite of provocation, you continue to think ‘true…honorable…right…pure…lovely…good repute…excellent…and worthy of praise (to God)’ thoughts (Philippians 4:8). In addition, you must also ‘not take into account a wrong suffered’ and ‘ not be provoked’ (1 Corinthians 13:5). Otherwise, your anger is not honoring to God. It is sinful.”
3. Man’s anger does not achieve God’s righteous ends (James 1:20). This verse comes to mind every single time I raise my voice at my kids. Every. singe. time. I should be thankful for that.
4. Man is to be slow to anger (See James 1:19). Peace has some good words of instruction here, too. “First listen. Cultivate the art of listening. Be slow to speak. Think about what you are going to say. Choose words that are edifying instead of angry.”
5. Anger does not come alone, it brings its cohorts (See Colossians 3:8). Angers cohorts? Oh, they are ugly and we are to lay them all aside! They are:
Peace called anger a rolling snowball. “The sin of anger rarely surfaces alone…You can easily stop the snowball at the top of the hill or you can run the risk of it wiping you out at the bottom of the hill! It is your choice.”
6. Angry outbursts are deeds of the flesh (See Galatians 5:20). Here Peace reminds us of the gospel and God’s promise to forgive us when we confess our sin and repent.
7. There is a biblical contrast between the man who stirs up anger and the man who subdues anger. “One is a fool. The other is wise. One is harsh. The other is gentle. One produces strife. The other pacifies contention. One will sprout folly. The other ponders carefully before he answers.” Can I just say that I wish I had read this chapter last week. I needed this reminder before I went to our church’s AWANA training. I disagreed with so much of the presentation that towards the end I just could. not. keep. my. mouth. closed. I really could have used some pondering awhile before speaking. Maybe I just should have left the room.
8. Pride frequently results in anger (See Proverbs 13:10). You can just re-read my comments for #7.
Biblical Steps to Change Character from Anger to Gentleness
1. Teaching — Peace encourages us to choose several scriptures relevant to anger and our own personal situations and meditate on them, memorize them.
2. Reproof — Ask others to hold you accountable and point it out to you when you seem to be angry or even slightly harsh.
3. Correction — Put off and put on! Train yourself. Practice the right things to say.
4. Training in righteousness — “Think and act according to the Word of God repeatedly until the gentle and loving responses are your first thoughts instead of afterthoughts.”
I love the final sentence for this chapter: “Humble yourself, cry out to God in prayer for help, roll up your sleeves, and get to work.”
I just don’t have much to say about this chapter since this is where I stumble a lot. Not only did I express my displeasure with the AWANA guy this week, today I became angry with Hubs when we discussed our budget. I have much work to do. And I’m going to attack it with joy and hope in knowing that God is going to help me. I’m reminded of John Owen’s famous quote, “Be killing sin or it will be killing you.”
I am looking forward to what you have to say, though. Please comment or email the link to your post so that I can list them here:
Next week we take on Chapter 19, “The Wife’s Fear: Overcoming Anxiety.”
Keep reading! Click for Chapter 19.