As a youth, one of my favorite television programs was, 'The Incredible Hulk.' The split-personality character, played by Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno, was a mild-mannered scientist who turned into a giant, green-skinned, glassy-eyed monster when he was made angry. In an instant, before our very eyes (through the wonders of photography), the scientist was transformed! His shirt ripped from his body as his muscles swelled and flexed, and hearts were enveloped with fear when he growled and bared his teeth.
As I think back to the many episodes I had viewed, I cannot help but think that there is a bit of an "Incredible Hulk" in most of us. In an instant, anger can change us from a sweet, mild-mannered person to a raging monster who is destructive in thought, if not in word and deed.
Anger, for many people, is a serious and ever-present problem. The least little thing said or done by another can send them into a rage that sets loose words that should never have been spoken, and can never be retrieved.
A student once said to Dr. George Sweeting, president of Moody Bible Institute: "I often lose my temper, but it's all over within a minute." Dr. Sweeting replied, "So is the hydrogen bomb, but look at the damage it produces."
The psalmist declared, "Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil" (Psalm 37:8).
Have you ever known anyone who had a vengeful spirit? Perhaps they live by the motto: I don't get mad; I get even! God's Word clearly commands us to cease from anger, forsake wrath, not returning evil for evil because nothing is to be gained from it.
Anger is not a forbidden emotion. However, the reason for anger, and the outward expression of our anger, should be controlled by the Holy Spirit within. We should not be angry with our brother without cause. If we feel that we have a cause for anger, we should not let the day end with that anger festering in our heart. To do so only gives Satan opportunity to create in us a spirit of bitterness. Anger, not dealt with, can give Satan the opportunity to gain control over our thoughts and cause us to respond in a way that will not glorify Christ.
Anger, not dealt with, hinders our spiritual worship. Therefore, before approaching the throne of grace with malice in our heart toward another, we are to seek reconciliation, forgiving or asking forgiveness. Only then will we be prepared in heart to worship God, who in Christ Jesus forgave us all our sins against him.
Anger, like any other emotion, desire or need, can be brought into subjectivity to Jesus Christ. He can give you victory over it, as you trust him.
Jerry L. Dunn, pastor of Oak Street Baptist Church, Sixth and Oak Streets, can be reached by email at: email@example.com.