Burning Anger

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Then the Lord’s anger burned against Moses Exodus 4:14

Then Balak’s anger burned against Balaam Numbers 24:10

When Eliab, David’s oldest brother, heard him speaking with the men, he burned with anger at him 1 Samuel 17:28

So the Lord’s anger burned against Israel. Joshua 7:1

But when the attendants delivered the king’s command, Queen Vashti refused to come. Then the king became furious and burned with anger. Esther 1:12

I’m sure you get the theme by now. . . I looked up anger in the Bible and found it over and over again. In fact, there are at least 53 (probably more if I keep looking) where it’s not just anger, but BURNING anger. Why is anger always  burning? I thought about this a lot today.  I needed to spend time in God’s word exploring anger and how to handle it after a difficult morning with my children. It is so frustrating to watch them do things to one another (on purpose) just to make the other one mad. Thankfully, this isn’t the norm and they usually play well together, but when they decide to “let the devil win” as we say, it can ruin the entire morning.

I think it’s called “burning anger” because it starts slow (just like a fire) and as others or life throws kindling on our fire it grows bigger and anger starts rolling like a bonfire started with five dry Christmas trees (trust me on this one – they go up in seconds). Just like this morning, my kids frustration and purposeful unkindness starts to kindle the flames of anger in me. . . then as they continued to justify their actions (more kindling), blame one another and yell (gasoline) . . . .  I had a full blown fire of burning anger. . . .

How do you handle anger? Does it take a lot or just a little to push you over the edge? Honestly, I can handle it for a while (while the fire is small) but then if things don’t resolve and I can’t get enough water on the flames the fire gets out of control and I find myself being burned and falling into the trap letting the anger overtake me. I needed a reminder of what God says about anger and although there are many verses about anger and self-control these stood out to me today.

And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, 2 Timothy 2:24

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. James 1:19-20

Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city. Proverbs 16:32

An angry person stirs up conflict, and a hot-tempered person commits many sins. Pride brings a person low, but the lowly in spirit gain honor. Proverbs 29:22-23

Be not quick in your spirit to become angry, for anger lodges in the bosom of fools. Ecclesiastes 7:9

Our actions always come down to a heart issue . . . when we become angry we must look into our heart and see what is kindling our burning anger. Is it pride, fear, selfishness, a need for control or maybe all of them. Thank goodness we have a loving Father who will help us acknowledge and overcome our strongholds. But, we must acknowledge them, pray for forgiveness and ask God to help us weed them out of our hearts. It isn’t always pretty in there, but when we face the garbage and are willing to clean it out ~ everyone benefits. Will you join me?

Father, I pray these scriptures penetrate our hearts and that our thirst for you grows each day so that living water you provide for us will extinguish all the flames of anger in our lives so that our mouths, actions and thoughts don’t over take us. Father, reveal our strongholds and give us the courage and strength to turn them over to you. Cover us and protect us with your armor so that we can be good examples of your love to everyone around us. Amen

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