"Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God." James 1:19-20
Anger has never been one of my problems. Or, at least that's what I've always thought. If I'm truly honest with myself, though, anger has been a problem for me, but not in the way it is for some people.
Most people who know me (except maybe for my kids) would say that I never get angry, and that's what I've always said about myself, too. But let's face it, everyone gets angry. Don't you? Yes, you do. I get angry, but my problem with it is that I don't express it, never let it out, never let anyone know that I'm angry. I suppose that's no more healthy than someone who goes around exploding in anger all the time - oh, I might be somewhat more pleasant to be around than that sort of fellow, but still, it probably isn't particularly healthy.
The verse says to be slow to anger, it doesn't say never to get angry. It doesn't say it's a sin to be angry, it just says that you need to listen carefully first to be sure you understand before you get angry. There are some things that are worth getting angry about, but probably not many. If we listen carefully and try to see things from the other guy's point of view, it becomes easier to see the difference.
But still, the verse says that the "anger of man" does not produce the "righteousness of God," so even if we express our anger over something that is worthy of it, the best we can hope for is a cathartic release of our pent up emotions. It does not make us a better person when we get angry, even in appropriate situations, but it might make us a healthier person, a generally happier person, a person who chews fewer Tums.
I have a really big bottle of Tums in my nightstand drawer, and that really makes me angry.
Father, help me to get over my silly fear of expressing my anger. But at the same time, help me to maintain my God-given, normally unruffled nature and express my anger only in appropriate, productive ways - never ever with the intention of hurting anyone. I don't really want to change, Father. I like the way you made me and I certainly don't want to be an angry person at all. I only want to be honest and healthy about it and to stop holding my anger inside of me where it does no good at all. But somehow I just can't do it. I just can't seem to honestly express my anger, so as always, I need to rely on you, my Lord. Be there with me, Father, when I need to express my anger and speak through me. Help me to speak the truth in love.