Anger is definitely an issue in today’s culture.
We see it all around us. Workplace violence. Domestic abuse. You don’t have to go far to be exposed to angry people. Anger is everywhere, and people fly off the handle about the most trivial things.
Have you ever paused to consider the impact that anger has had on you, your family or the other relationships in your life? In some cases, the anger level has gotten so severe that certain members of some families don’t even speak to one another anymore.
From homes to schools to the workplace, even in the church, we see the results of anger all around us. Professional athletes are suspended and fined for outbursts of anger. People are arrested for deeds done in a fit of rage. Lives are changed forever because anger was given free reign.
So why does it happen? What is the root cause behind all of this anger? There are numerous contributing factors.
When we get angry, it’s important that we look beneath the surface to see what is going on. What is the cause? Where is all of this anger coming from?
That’s the question James asks in James 4:1: “What causes fights and quarrels among you?” That is a very important question. What causes fights and quarrels in your marriage, with your family or among your coworkers or friends?
James then answers his own question: “Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight.”
Sometimes, anger can be a good thing. When you see injustice in our world or wrong that is happening, the Bible talks about a righteous anger. There is a place for righteous anger.
But what James is talking about here is the unhealthy strife that takes place between people. He then points to the fact that selfish desires are often at the root of our anger problems.
Selfishness results in all kinds of ugliness, doesn’t it? James explains that these conflicts are the result of evil desires battling within us. We want more possessions, more money, higher status, more recognition. When we don’t get what we want, we get angry and fight in order to get it.
Instead of aggressively grabbing what we want, we should submit ourselves to God, ask God to help us get rid of our selfish desires and trust him to give us what we really need. We’ll focus on anger again next time.
You may read Steve Greene’s blog at pastorgreene.wordpress.com or you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.