--By Ben Gilmore
1. A violent passion of the mind excited by a real or supposed injury; usually accompanied with a propensity to take vengeance, or to obtain satisfaction from the offending party. This passion however varies in degrees of violence, and in ingenuous minds, may be attended only with a desire to reprove or chide the offender.
Anger is also excited by an injury offered to a relation, friend or party to which one is attached; and some degrees of it may be excited by cruelty, injustice or oppression offered to those with whom one has no immediate connection, or even to the community of which one is a member. Nor is it unusual to see something of this passion roused by gross absurdities in others, especially in controversy or discussion. Anger may be inflamed till it rises to rage and a temporary delirium. [Noah Webster’s “Dictionary …” 1828]
The word is used only once in the four gospels: Jesus was in the synagogue (church meeting), He, “looked … on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, …”
Anger is evidently one of the “passions” in the tool-kit we were given with our human nature. REMEMBER – Nothing exists that is not governed by God-given limits (laws). That includes our anger! “Be angry, and sin not, let not the sun go down on your wrath.”
My last column, “2013-05-03 Truth” was misnamed. It was to have been “… Fear” to go with this column “… Anger.” Fear and Anger are the major weapons your enemies will use against you. Both are paper-tigers IF you stay within the God-given limits.
God does not give you a spirit of fear. Thus you are free to rebuke it when it tries to rise up.
On the other hand, there is evidently a time for righteous anger. – BUT — Webster (above) points out the temptation to overstep the God-given limit on anger, “usually accompanied with a propensity to take vengeance, or to obtain satisfaction from the offending party.”
“Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath, for it is written, Vengeance is mine, I will repay, saith the Lord.”
For example: You find yourself with a group of people supporting truth and justice. An angry individual approaches you as if to do harm. You rebuke fear and call his bluff (else use self-defense if he is not bluffing). Next he may use foul language, shouts, and other tactics, tempting you to express anger. Succumb to anger and you have lost control of the situation.
Are either of these responses easy? No, not at all. That is the purpose of these columns. I hope they prompt you to consider carefully how you will respond.
The next time fear rises. Rebuke fear. Keep your head. My dear friend Loren Cunningham, often taught, “Learn to respond in the opposite spirit.” Thus – When you are faced with anger, respond with peace.
If you contemplate and think through such things in advance, you will be better prepared to govern your reactions. Further – If you fail, use it as a learning experience to be better prepared the next time.
William Bradford, a leader of the American Pilgrim settlement in 1620 wrote, “All great and
honorable actions are accompanied with great difficulties, and must be enterprised and
overcome with answerable courages.”
I believe most Americans would do well to prepare themselves for a few “great and
honorable actions!”Ben Gilmore