Anger: Your Master or Servant?
"And 'don’t sin by letting anger control you.'" - (Ephesians 4:26 NLT)
Thoughts for Today
Anger is a normal emotion we can use for either good or evil. Even Jesus experienced anger—and he expressed it. But He always used it for good. One example can be found in Mark 3:1-6. The Pharisees wanted to find some reason to trap Jesus. They watched him carefully to see if he would break the law of the Sabbath by healing a man. Jesus was angered at their lack of compassion and disregard for healing. He healed the man immediately!
Another example can be found in Matthew 21:12-17. The Temple had become a commercialized marketplace instead of a house of prayer. Jesus drove out the merchants and turned over the tables of the money changers. In verse 13 (NLT), he angrily declared, “The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be called a house of prayer,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves!”
Did Jesus sin by becoming angry? Of course not. We know he was without sin. "This High Priest of ours [Jesus] understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin" (Hebrews 4:15 NLT). He expressed anger over ungodly actions and attitudes. Through his anger he rebuked and taught—and glorified God. Anger was his servant, not his master.
Consider this …
The Bible encourages us to find ways to manage our anger. To make it our servant rather than our master. As we accept anger as a common part of life, we must learn scriptural, practical, and healthy ways to make anger our servant.
Is anger your servant . . . or your master? Perhaps you are not sure. Consider keeping an anger log this week. Ask yourself the following questions at the end of each day and record the number.*
- How many times did I get angry inwardly or outwardly?
- On the average, from 1-10, what was the intensity of my anger today?
- How many minutes did I usually remain angry? (Use an average.)
- How many times did my anger lead to positive expression?
- How many times did my anger lead to negative expression?
- On the average did my anger today help or hinder relationships? (9=helpful; 1=disaster)
Keeping this log could be a real eye-opener for you. Ask God to help you take steps to make anger your servant, not your master.
Father, I know sometimes I hold on to my anger. I often use it in negative ways and have hurt some people along the way. Please forgive me and help me make anger my servant instead of my master. In Jesus' name . . .
*Questions taken from When Anger Hits Home by Gary Jackson Oliver and H. Norman Wright, Moody Press, 1992. Used by permission.
These thoughts were drawn from …
Anger: Our Master or Our Servant by Larry Heath. This study offers a clear explanation of anger, what causes it, and how to recognize when you are sinning with anger. It not only ministers to church members, but serves as a powerful evangelistic tool. Note: This curriculum was written especially for small groups and we encourage people to use it that way. However, it can also be used effectively as a personal study for individuals or couples
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