Responsible Love and Anger
My dear brothers and sisters, be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Your anger can never make things right in God’s sight.
(James 1:19-20 NLT)
The Bible encourages me to be “slow to be angry.” Why does it say this in this fashion? The reason is because anger is a reaction, not a response.
Of course, every reaction is a response, but some reactions are not good responses. When you get angry, you are angry mostly because something happened to you and you don’t know how to respond.
The Bible gives us help here in how we should respond. A simple three-step process:
1. Think before you speak
2. Speak less than you think
3. Don’t let everything agitate you (in other words, don’t take everything too seriously).
Since anger is a reaction, and not a response, we have to learn to respond and not react to circumstances that come our way. When you come to a situation and you don’t know what to do, slow down. Anger is not the way to love someone. Anger just shows the other person that you have a problem.
Sometimes we can’t help but get angry. I heard a professor in seminary tell me that the way we should approach anger is like this:
Let your fuse get a little longer. When you react by getting angry (by blowing your stack, blurting out at others), it is like a stick of dynamite. The anger is what is very explosive. The fuse that lights the anger can be circumstances you are in that you cannot control. Perhaps you don’t like what someone said to you. Perhaps the work stressed you out. Perhaps driving in traffic took too long. So instead of reacting, extend your fuse a little longer, and a little longer, and a little longer.
Don’t react in anger, but respond with love.