Continuing Andrew’s great teaching article on Anger Management
Have you ever prayed that the Lord would remove someone from your life who makes you angry? Have you ever prayed that your circumstances would change so that you would be delivered from those things that make you mad? If you have, you are not alone. But it’s not what others do to you that makes you angry. You will never be able to remove all aggravating things and people from your path. That’s unrealistic. Satan has more than enough people under his control to keep an endless parade of annoying people coming across your path.
You can’t always change circumstances, and you don’t have the authority to change others. But you can change what’s on the inside of you that makes you angry. That’s right. Our anger comes from the inside, not the outside. I know most people don’t like that. At first, it’s comforting to think that it’s what someone else did that made you angry, but that’s not true. If what other people do makes you angry, then you will always be angry because there will always be someone that treats you wrong. That makes you a victim and not a victor.
Accepting responsibility for your ungodly anger puts you in the driver’s seat. You only have total authority over yourself. You are the only one that you can really change. If you are trying to remove all the people and things that make you mad from your path, you will never win. But if you deal with the things inside you that cause your anger, you will never lose, regardless of what others do. That’s the example that Jesus gave us. He was able to look at the very ones who crucified and mocked Him and say,
“Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do”. (Luke 23:34)
Jesus not only suffered more than any of us ever have, He suffered more unjustly than we have. As God, He could have come off the cross at any time and wiped all of His accusers out. Yet He humbled Himself and even forgave His enemies. Some people think, “Well that was Jesus. I’m certainly not Jesus.” But Jesus wasn’t the only one who forgave those who wronged him. Stephen acted just like Jesus in Acts 7:60. As he was being stoned to death, he knelt down and cried with a loud voice,
“Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep”.
Paul commanded us to do the same thing in Ephesians 4:32:
“And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you”.
Not only are we supposed to resist anger, but we are commanded to forgive those who trespass against us. We can’t control others, but we can control what’s inside of us that makes us angry. The key is found in Proverbs 13:10:
“Only by pride cometh contention”.
It’s not what others do to us that makes us angry; it’s the pride inside of us that causes us to get mad. I know that’s not what most people believe, but that’s what God’s Word says. This verse doesn’t say that pride is one of the major reasons for anger — it’s the only reason. What a statement!
I ministered this in Pueblo, Colorado, many years ago, and a man came up to me after the meeting and said, “I’ve got a lot of problems, but pride isn’t one of them. If anything, I have such low self-esteem that I hate myself. Yet I have a lot of anger. I just don’t understand how my pride is the source of my anger.” What this man was missing was a proper definition of pride.
Many people think of pride only as arrogance. But that’s only one manifestation of pride. Timidity and shyness are extreme manifestations of pride. Pride, at it’s core, is simply self-centeredness or selfishness. Timid and shy people are extremely self-centered people. I know this to be true because I was an introvert. I couldn’t look at people in the face and talk to them. I was so consumed with me that I was always thinking, “What are they going to think of me? Am I going to make a mistake and look foolish?” That self-centeredness made me shy.
If you have a testimony about what the Lord has done for you that could help someone, yet you would be timid about getting on radio or television and sharing it because everyone would be looking at you, then you have some pride issues that haven’t been settled. You may not be called to broadcast on radio or television the way I am, but we are all called to, “be ready always to give an answer to every man that asks you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.” (1 Pet. 3:15)
So, pride is not only thinking we are better than others; pride can be thinking we are worse than others or just being self-conscious. It doesn’t matter if self is always exalting itself or if it’s debasing itself. It’s all self-centeredness, which is pride. Like it or not, understand it or not, pride is the source of all of our anger. As we deal with our own self-love, anger toward others will be defused. The only reason we are so easily offended is because we love ourselves so much. As we die to ourselves, we will be able to love others the way that Jesus did.